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Before Summers [2/2]


Erik Summers
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Before Summers

 

Childhood

Born Magnus Erik Summers, Erik, came into the world on September 3rd, 2000 in Dusseldorf Germany. His mother, Maggie, was a professional hockey player in her youth and participated on the German Women's National Team at the 1998 Winter Olympics. She ended her career to focus on her family a year later and soon after, her and her husband Jakob, had a son. They would go on to have two more children, both daughters, Anna and Leah.

 

Jakob's father, a medical officer of the Bundeswehr, was moved from base to base frequently during Erik's youth. This resulted in Erik playing with a variety of different youth hockey programs as a child. Erik credits his love of the game to this early exposure to the many styles of hockey play that contribute to the game's complexity.

 

Erik's mother has helped coach many of his teams, but she has encourage, or often forced, Erik to explore other aspects of life as well. While hockey is a proud tradition, it is also just part of what makes their relationship special to him.

 

Image result for child playing hockey

 

High School and Juniors

When Erik was sixteen, his family moved to the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia and he joined the local U18 team. Erik has attracted attention for his physical play and capabilities as a shut-down defenseman, and winning the Defenseman of the Year in his league. After completing school, Erik moved again, this time to the United States, to begin training and trying out for minor league rosters. His family, still in Ukraine, supports him from a far for now, but hopes to see him return to represent Germany in his mother's footsteps. His parents have decided to allow his younger sisters to finish school there before returning to their hometown of Dusseldorf.

 

Outside of hockey, Erik is known to most as the big goofy guy. Erik's outgoing personality shines both at school and in the locker room. Erik doesn't shy away from leadership roles, and has held positions in student government and as a team captain. Being an army brat, Erik has learned how to make fast friends and strong bonds.

 

As part of his training regiment in high school, Erik also joined the cross-country team, to work on help work on his endurance. Speed can be a weakness in Erik's game, but he shines late in games when other players are starting to run out of gas.

 

Image result for ukrainian hockey

 

Play Style

While still being a young player, Erik has developed some clear tendencies in the defensive zone. Erik will most often be found battling in the corner or in front of the net. While not the largest defenseman, Erik knows how to throw his weight around and isn't afraid to give, or take, a hit. Erik tends to be a pass-first player, and is much more likely to pass the puck out of the zone than to skate it out on his own.

 

Offensively, Erik has an inaccurate shot, but his puck handling and passing skills allow him to have some production on assists. Erik tends to play conservatively in the offensive zone, and will err on the side of retreating to defend on opportunities where a more aggressive player may pinch up to try to keep the puck in the zone. This makes him unlikely to give up an odd man rush, but can also limit his offensive production.

 

Despite his physical style of play, Erik doesn't view himself as an enforcer. He would rather settle things with a chirp and a laugh than by dropping gloves. On the ice, Erik takes command of the defensive zone. He views himself as responsible for everyone's defensive placement, not just his own, with one of his coaches remarking, "It is like having an extra defensive coach that spends time on the ice."

Erik idolizes players like Ken Daneyko and Adam Foote, and tries to emulate their play style. A quote from an interview with Foote that Erik saw as a child has stuck with him to this day. "When you're a young team it's probably better to start from the bottom. It hurts. It hurts a lot. You don't like it. No one likes it. But you learn. Sometimes it's a hard way to learn." That type of gritty determination and leadership is the player that Erik hopes to one day become. He was even able to meet Daneyko at a charity game in Ukraine and develop a relationship with him as a sort of mentor.

 

Image result for stick on ice

 

Injuries

At fifteen, Erik suffered a bad shoulder separation injury in his left shoulder and the torn ligament required surgery to correct. The recovery took almost six months to get back on the ice, and the physical therapy took even longer, but Erik is satisfied that he has returned to one hundred percent mobility in his shoulder.

 

At seventeen, Erik had a pair of back-to-back concussions that lead to him missing two weeks of play. This was something of a wake up call for Erik and increase his dedication to being more aware on ice and always keeping his head up.

 

Image result for german army medical service logo

 

Outside of Hockey

Outside of hockey, Erik enjoys a number of academic activities, participating in debate and student government in high school. Now that he is out of school, he spends much of his time off the ice in the gym. However, when he gets home, Erik has developed a passion for food, both cooking and eating. To him, food, and science of cooking it, is fascinating. Erik is passionate about viewing food as the fuel that helps him produce on the ice, but that doesn't stop him from making it taste as good as possible. If hockey weren't to work out, Erik sees himself has likely having a future as chef or a nutritionist.

 

Now that he has moved to the United States, Erik has found himself too young for some of the social activities that he had enjoyed back home. However, Erik can pair the perfect beer with any meal, and he can't wait until he can continue practicing this skill legally again.

Edited by Erik Summers
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  • 2 weeks later...

Review:  Loved reading this and the author has excellent taste mentioning Ken Daneyko (my favorite player) in his bio.  But truly, the military brat background felt authentic and added a lot and I also thought the brief injury history fleshed things out.  And to get a peak into Erik's non-hockey related passion for cooking was a real treat.  Agree on the centering of the photos, but that's probably a personal preference.

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