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LSSU's top-returning scorer sees growth in the team
Oct. 8, 2003
By Lindsey Mechalik, LSSU Sports Information Intern
According to Lake Superior State sophomore center Jon Booras, who was one of only two freshmen to play in all 38 games last season, a much more mature Laker team will be taking the ice in 2003-04.
"We are all feeling really positive and want to have a better season than last year," Booras said. "We are all looking forward to having a great season and getting better every day. The whole team is trying to work hard to achieve our goals and hopefully bring the tradition back of winning."
This year's LSSU team has four seniors, three juniors, 13 sophomores, and 8 freshmen. Nineteen letter-winners have returned, including 13 of the 15 freshmen from last year's team.
"We don't have as many freshmen as last year, and hopefully our sophomore class can help lead the team along with the rest of the upperclassmen," Booras said. "We all know what to expect going into this year. With more upperclassmen, we can help the younger guys know what our coaches expect and what to expect from other teams.
"We have a really good freshmen class from what I have seen so far. They will all help us with speed and scoring ability. With Matt (Violin), our goaltending will be strong. Defensively we have matured. The defensemen look a lot better than even where we left off last year."
Booras can also gauge the growth of the team by the close friendships he has made.
"The best part of our team right now is that we are all really good friends," he said. "This is the first time that I have ever been on a team where everyone loves to hang out with each other. I have met a lot of great friends here who I talk to even in the summer. I have never had that before. We will have these friends for the rest of our lives."
Booras totaled nine goals and five assists as a rookie, providing one of the few brightspots to the Lakers' struggling offense in 2002-03. LSSU's top goal scorer and rookie of the year is more relaxed after a year-long adjustment to college life.
"My biggest challenge as a freshman was time management with balancing hockey and school," Booras said. "With all the practices, it's sometimes hard to find time to study. I played a year of juniors without going to school so it was hard to get back into it. Also, the step up from juniors to college hockey is huge. The game is a lot different. In juniors, the game is more of a pro style. College is very wide open with no red line, and it's faster. I have grown through experience. After playing some of the bigger schools, I now know what to expect going into the games. The overall experience of playing a year of college hockey will hopefully help me to feel more at ease going into games."
Before coming to LSSU, Booras played three seasons of junior hockey for the Billings Bulls. He was named the team's rookie of the year and was a two-year assistant captain. The Bulls won two American West Hockey League championships and advanced to nationals. Booras also played for Sioux Falls and Topeka, both of the United States Hockey League. He was an assistant captain in Topeka.
Booras comes from a long line of successful athletes.
"It was really tough my freshman year of high school because I had to choose between hockey and baseball," he said. "I love them both. Obviously I chose hockey, but I would really like to still play both. My dad was supportive of my choice. He was a great baseball player when he was in college. He played at Arizona State University.
"One of the biggest influences on me to play hockey, other than my father, was my uncle, Andy Moog. He was a goalie for 18 years in the National Hockey League. He won three Stanley Cups with Edmonton. He also played for Boston, Dallas and Montreal. The first time I ever skated was at the Boston Gardens. He gave me my first skates and stick."
Booras is majoring in recreation management at LSSU. He hopes that it will help him pursue a career in sports.
"I want to be involved in sports my whole life," he said. "If hockey doesn't work out, I want to do something in sports -- either coaching or managing. I am getting a minor in business to help get me ready for that part of sports. I want to take hockey as far as I can go, then start a career."
Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey