By Warren Kozireski —
Sacred Heart sophomore defenseman Conner Hutchinson stood tied for 12th in the nation among blueliners in assists with nine and tied for 16th in points heading into the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Hicksville native is the third in the family to play competitive hockey at high level with sister Cailey playing at the University of Maine and then pro hockey with the Connecticut Whale and brother Nick spending four years at Canisius and now dons a Utica Devils jersey in the American Hockey League.
With those two forwards, how did Connor gravitate toward defense?
“Being the youngest I think they literally kind of shoved me on defense when we were playing when we were younger, so I ended up being a defenseman,” Hutchinson said in mid-November. “Mini-sticks, driveway—they always had me play “D”.”
The 5’10”, 170 offensive, defenseman originally committed to and played at the University of Vermont before leaving six games in and heading to Tri-City of the USHL before settling in at Sacred Heart.
“I committed when I was really young when coach (Kevin) Sneddon was there and this new coaching staff didn’t mesh well. I enjoyed my time there, but it was for the best and I think it all worked out in the end because I think Sacred Heart is a much better fit for me.
“If I could go back, I would have waited (to commit). When you’re young the dream is to go professional, but that’s so rare these days. When you’re so young you don’t even know what would fit best for you for college or even lifestyle wise, so I think in retrospect I would have waited a little longer, but it all worked out.”
“It’s (Sacred Heart) is really close to home and with the new rink and everything coming, I just felt it was a good opportunity for me and felt I had a good chance to play right away and just made sense to me. It’s an hour and fifteen minutes door-to-door from my house, so my parents can come every game and it’s a great school too, so it just all worked out.”
Hutchinson played with the Long Island Gulls organization until he was 12 years old and then the Royals and went to South Kent at 14. After four years with the Select Academy at South Kent in Connecticut, Hutchinson headed to Penticton in the BCHL and would have gone back after the brief Vermont stint if not for covid jeopardizing the season, so it was the USHL and Tri-Cities.
He is certainly having an impact in turning around recent fortunes with the Pioneers standing first on the squad in assists with nine and tied for second in points with ten.
“I think we’re playing really well; freshmen came in and are playing well and the older guys that have been here for a long time are really good players.”
But as for who is the best player in his family?
“It’s gotta be me; as the youngest you learn from your two older siblings so I think I took everything from them and learned from them growing up. My brother and I are still playing, so we need to find out who is the best at the end of our careers.”
(Photo By Sacred Heart Hockey)