Saturday, December 10, 2005

Change of heart leaves Sellers smiling

By Brian Lavelle
USA Junior Hockey Magazine

Last summer, junior hockey appeared to be a thing of the past for Nik Sellers.

After playing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for the NAHL’s Soo Indians last season, Sellers was bound for Detroit, where he planned on beginning his college career at Wayne State this season.

However, a last-minute change of heart had Sellers deciding to return to the junior ranks. His next decision - where to play this season – proved quite simple, as Sellers quickly came to the conclusion that the USHL, specifically the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, was the right choice.

“(RoughRiders) coach (GM Mark) Carlson had called me over the summer when he didn’t know I was going to go to Wayne State,” recalled Sellers. “When I de-committed, I called him back.”

The RoughRiders’ successful track record - the Riders won their first Clark Cup title last season and have enjoyed five straight winning seasons - helped draw Sellers to Cedar Rapids.

“They’ve always been a winning team,” said Sellers. “They had a lot of good returning players and thought I’d have a chance to win something here.”

Sellers has certainly helped the Riders win plenty of games early on, seeing ample ice time for a team that has spent most of the campaign battling for the top spot in the USHL’s East Division.

“Nik has done a very good job for us,” said Carlson. “He’s a guy we can put out there in any situation - even strength, power play or penalty kill - and count on him to get the job done.”

Sellers’ versatility is in some part a function of his experience; the 19-year-old Plymouth, Mich., native is now in his third season of junior hockey.

“Playing in all those situations has been great. All the hard work I did this summer has paid off,” said Sellers. “Because I’ve been around junior hockey a lot, I think I know what it takes to play in different situations.”

Sellers has also been able to pass along some of what he has learned to some of his less experienced teammates.

“I just try to be a good example,” said Sellers. “I try to show them that you have to come to play every night and you’ve got to come to practice every day.”

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