Josh Sanchez (99′ 5’7-145) represented New York State at this year’s Select 15 Festival where he lead Columbia Blue in points with 7 in 5 games played. This season he captained his team, the St. Lawrence Thunder, to the New York State Tier 2 State U-14 Championship. He lead the Thunder with 46 goals and 31 assists. Sanchez has also played high school hockey for Potsdam since eighth grade. He is considering taking the prep route following the 14′-15′ season and is interested in playing in the NCAA or OHL.
This past season you played for the St. Lawrence Thunder, a consistent contender for the NYS Tier 2 championship, and were selected to represent NYS at the National Camp, where you were very productive. What was the biggest difference you noticed in the level of play against players from powerhouse Tier 1 programs and the competition you faced with the Thunder?
JS: The difference between tier 1 and tier 2 hockey is just dedication. In AAA hockey the game gets much faster, the kids are stronger, and you have much less time to dance with the puck. The range between skill in the players in tier 1 isn’t much, so hard work determines success. The kid that succeeds in tier 1 I believe is going to be the kid who works the hardest and who is most dedicated.
You’re from Potsdam and ended up playing for your hometown youth program, what influenced your decision to stay local rather than suit up for a Tier 1 team or play North of the border? Did coaches from other programs contact you?
JS: Well I did get contacted by the Syracuse Nationals and was asked to billet. The family I was going to billet with moved to Michigan, so I kind of got stuck home. Really it didn’t turn out too bad, I played a bunch of AAA teams throughout the season and also played high school, so I got on the ice every day and was working out three times a week. Also, during the summer I go up to Ottawa often and play AAA, so it all worked out. If there is a downside, I’d have to say it’s just getting noticed because hardly any scouts come and watch the competition I play with.
The Thunder have captured the past 3 NYS Bantam Tier 2 titles and you were arguably the biggest star on that team, what was it like winning that championship for your hometown?
JS:It’s big to win a state championship where I live because hockey is a big thing up here, especially to win it as a captain for the St. Lawrence Thunder, an organization with such a good reputation. It’s a small environment in Northern NY and things get around and everybody knows about it, it’s great.
Have you been contacted by any Jr coaches regarding your future plans? Where are you considering playing in 2014-2015’?
JS: Honestly no I haven’t been contacted by any Jr. coaches, which really bums me because my draft year for the OHL is next year and my interest level in getting drafted is very high. Next year I will be playing for the St. Lawrence Thunder U-16 which is a split-season team, so we start early. We actually start this weekend and have tournaments all the way until school starts. When high school hockey starts we stop and I’ll be playing for my high school, Potsdam High. Once that season is over we start up again depending on if we make the national tournament.
You played at the USA Select 15 Festival this summer. Who are some other players in your age group you admire and feel belong in the upper level conversation of elite 99’ born players?
JS: Over the last week at national camp I met one player from Buffalo who plays for the U-16 Buffalo Regals. His name is Dan Smith and he is one of the best defenseman I’ve ever played with. His skating ability is at a top level. His ability with the puck is stellar and even his ability without the puck is great and he sees the ice well. I also got to see his personality off the ice. He is a kid who wants it bad and is very serious about hockey. He’s a great hockey player and if he works hard he will succeed in his hockey career.
What can we expect for the future of Josh Sanchez the hockey player? Are there NCAA programs you’re interested in playing for? Is the USNTDP an option you’d consider? What about the OHL?
JS: Considering next year is my OHL draft, that’s where I want to start. My interest level in getting drafted into the OHL is high. I would love to get that boost for my future as a hockey player. Also I’d love to play in the NTDP and represent my country, that’s what I dream about. Playing NTDP would open up doors to the NCAA and college hockey is the best route to take. I grew up around D1 hockey schools and it seems like a blast. My biggest interest right now would be in Boston College, Boston University and Minnesota, but it’s not even specific colleges at this point, it’s just any NCAA program. I work hard every day to reach my goals and hopefully one day I’ll be there.