Green Bay's Appleton ready for NHL jump
Mason Appleton is in the middle of his summer break, but…
“You know, training has become really important in the summers,” Appleton said.
Two years ago the Notre Dame Academy grad led Michigan State in scoring, then last year Appleton garnered Rookie of the Year honors in the AHL after scoring 22 goals and 44 assists for the Manitoba Moose. But on the doorstep of the NHL, Appleton isn't resting on his laurels, he's working on his skating technique 3 times per week.
“Skating is definitely something I've been trying to get better at since I was in high school,” Appleton said. “It's definitely a focus of mine. My skating coach, Amy Brolsma, and I have been working on a lot of different things. It's something I've got to get better at if I want to play in the NHL and to be an effective player at that level.”
The hard work has Appleton on track to perhaps make it up to the NHL this year with the Winnipeg Jets, but he's not taking anything for granted.
“There's no guarantees with anything so I'm going to keep controlling what I can control and working hard every day this summer so when I arrive in Winnipeg for training camp I'm the best player I can be and hopefully do everything I can to earn a roster spot,” Appleton said.
Appleton was a 6th round pick in 2015, and hasn't had the luxury of being a high round draft pick. He's had to earn it.
“For me, I kind of don't look at myself as a 6th round pick,” Appleton said. “I look at myself as the type of hockey player that I am. I'm a confident player, I'm a confident guy. There is still more to prove. There is room to get better. My goal is to play in the NHL and I haven't achieved that yet.”
Work, is the key, for local young hockey players looking to follow in his footsteps.
“There's no secrets in life or hockey,” Appleton said. “It's about hard work, about out-working the guy across from you. Then you have to dream and have to believe when you're putting in the work every day.”