In mid to early August 2020, Doug Connor received an invitation to the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks training camp. “It was a last second decision,” Connor revealed. The 20 year-old stepped down from his position as a captain for the Elon Hockey team to pursue this new opportunity.
But Connor won’t forget the way Elon’s hockey team impacted his career. “It definitely had a big impact,” Connor said. “Playing with Elon re-emphasized my love for the game and gave me a more positive mindset; it created an atmosphere of having fun playing the game of hockey again.”
Connor attributed this love of the game to why the players in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are able to play at such a level. However the NAHL doesn’t come without some hard work, and Connor is experiencing that firsthand.
“It’s a lot more skating, and a lot more lifting,” Connor said. He said it was about getting back into that routine and mindset that was the biggest transition into the NAHL.
“[This league] is the highest level of juniors I’ve played at,” Connor said. “It’s the most competitive.” Connor mentioned that a big difference in the NAHL and other leagues he’s played with, was that this is the level that people recognize as producing professionals of the game of hockey.
Playing and training with the Hat Tricks elevated Connor’s mindset of the game, and how he plays it.
“Every second matters, every rep matters; the way you play or act matters,” Connor said. “It’s a job and it’s something you have to be good at and do right. It’s a lifestyle.”
Connor may have moved on to a new level of hockey, but he still wishes the best to his former Elon teammates.
“To everyone on the Elon team; firstly I wish you the best of luck this season and that [you] have fun this season,” Connor said. “Secondly, play hard and continue to push the team forward. This is a school with a lot of talent and could really grow.”