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Liam Rooney - C

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Liam Rooney

Age: 16

6’0 - 220 lbs

Burlington, Ontario

Recruited Out Of: Mississauga Hockey League


Its funny – the amount of times we see scouts look at this kids listed weight and laugh at how a fat kid could be generating this much interest. I too always used to laugh at the stories of Rod Brind’Amour when he was a Freshman at Michigan State. Legend goes that the coaching staff had to turn out the lights on him – when he kept working out in the pitch black – they padlocked the doors.

This is Rooney…A man-child of sorts.

“I don’t think we ever had to put any padlocks up for the kid.” Chuckled Rooney’s old coach, “He is just a kid who kind of acts older. He wants to work out. Eat right. Play responsible. He is a big kid – God forbid if he isn’t done growing *smiles and laughs*. I think I would bore you if I started talking about the things this kid has chosen to do at a young age. Its unique.”

Rooney played his first two games with the Hounds and you could tell that his former coach really had a handle on the player Rooney is and the growth that will need to be seen in his game. The youngster went scoreless – but averaged in and around 50% in the faceoff circle and was a -1 in two 5-2 losses. He also had a couple of hits and blocked a shot or two. Not great numbers for a kid generating buzz.

“We see it a lot with kids around his age – they hit a growth spurt and suddenly are 6’ and their skating suffers a little for it initially. They need to adapt. One of the things we saw with Rooney is that he grew and as a result he was a step behind in his skating.” Clearly Skating is going to be something that Rooney will have to work on in order to be successful.

Despite these needed adjustments – the coach of Rooney’s junior team praised the prospects play, “He is a very responsible kid. He dedicates himself to doing the dirty work for his team. Always in position defensively. Works to drive possession by winning face-offs on a consistent basis. You can really play him in any situation.” Rooney's defensive game has been listed as the bread and butter of the prospects game. As well - face-offs are an area he has had a lot of success in his young career.

The effect on a lost step for Rooney’s game? “Offensive numbers dipped a bit this season. The kid can pass and he is creative. We just felt that due to the adjustments needed to his skating. He struggled to generate offence as he was used to. It caused a lot of frustration for him. But I think he is ready to face those challenges at the next level.” Rooney will have to focus on developing the skills that will keep him relevant as he advances through his career. His offensive skills at the next level could be seen as under-developed. But scouts seem to feel he just needs time to put it all together.

Shouldn’t we be concerned about these needed adjustments and a lack of scoring flair in an important developmental year?

Rooney’s junior coach chuckled at the question, “You can be concerned….” Pointing around the room, “All you guys in the media and the experts can probably talk about concerns.” Confidently – he proclaimed, “As long as the desire and work ethic lasts. You are looking at a guy who has the potential to have the same impact as Uncle Rod had on the teams he played for. One of the best Two-way centers in the game.” Rooney has the desire and willingness to do what needs to be done to be successful as he progresses through his career. His work ethic is bound to push his success at every stage of his career.

Rumor has it – on a press tour – Rod Brind’Amour agreed to stop by the junior teams dressing room. The burly center ran Rooney and his teammates through a grueling 60-minute practice. “Everyone was sick after..” Chuckled Rooney’s old coach, “After that practice – all the kids were on their phones. Looking up Rod’s highlights. All the kids were laughing – saying how much Rooney played like him. It was great - we will miss the kid.”    

Edited by elrune1988
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