Being one of the best players on one of the best teams in the USHL has its benefits. Christian Isackson has become a fan favorite at the arena not only for his ability to score but his unquestionable toughness.
The West St. Paul, MN native committed to the Minnesota Gophers in 2008. "This whole year has really prepared me for that. It's a long season, long playoffs so you learn a lot about hockey in this league," says Isackson.
"He's really wanted to get better and he's developed his game," says head coach Kevin Hartzell. "I find him to be one of the best defensive forwards on our team. That's all because he wanted to be that. He wanted to learn and be a complete player."
Like just about every other kid who grows up playing hockey, the NHL is the ultimate goal for Isackson, who as a seventh round pick of the Buffalo Sabres, could very well be on his way. "That'd be amazing," says the 19-year old winger, "This is just another step in the long journey and hopefully the next step (is at) Minnesota. It's one of my goals to get to the NHL."
Hartzell has seen his fair share of former players go on to play at the highest level and he would agree that Isackson has the necessary tools. "He's got the offensive moxie and things you can't teach. But under the hood he's got real heart and desire and that gives him a chance."
Until then, the goal is a Clark Cup championship followed by collegiate success. But those who watch him play ought to be prepared to say "I remember when."