By Warren Kozireski —
Ithaca native Jack Parsons certainly has the size that most professional hockey organizations are looking for in a goaltender in this era standing at 6’3” and 184 lb. Add that he is playing against high-level competition every night competing with four other goalies as part of the U.S. National Team Development Program playing against USHL junior players and against Division I colleges and he is well on his way.
“I feel like it’s allowing me to almost take that step a year early,” Parsons said in early December. “My first year I played in the USHL…I may have had a down year because I wasn’t used to the level of play and I’m getting that now and I’m more used to it.
“It makes it a lot easier to make that jump next year, if I make that jump next year. It’s much more seamless for me and I’m able to step in and have success a lot quicker.”
That jump could be to play at Providence College in Rhode Island, but only if he and the Friars coaching staff feel the soon-to-be 18-year-old is ready.
“I just love the campus. I’m not the kind of person who I feel would thrive on a big campus; I like kind of a small, tight-knit community. From who I’ve talked to, they are better than some NHL places, so it was definitely high on my list.”
“Making sure I’m ready. I don’t want to go in and not play, so just making sure that I’m ready to take that next step and, if I have to take another year (of junior development), it is what is it, but I want to make sure that I’m able to make that jump and have success. I want to play games and, if I’m not having success, I’m not going to play (in) games.”
He left Ithaca at 14 years old to play with Mount St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket, Rhode Island for two seasons and put up solid numbers in his 14U and 15U years prior to joining the national program.
Parsons at the holiday break had a 3.78 goals against average In the USHL contests with a .845 save percentage through six games in net. In a game at St. Lawrence Dec. 5 Parsons allowed four goals on 32 shots, but one goal was a power play marker and another with an extra attacker on for a delayed penalty.
He is eligible for this summer’s NHL Entry Draft to be held in Las Vegas in late June.
“Getting used to the speed with my skating, because I feel like I’m a pretty good skater, it’s just about getting comfortable so it’s that much easier to use my skating because when I use my skating, I’m most effective.
“Also working at improving my post play, which has gotten a lot better I feel this year. It’s definitely allowed me to make that jump and see the improvement in my game.”
Most goaltenders come with at least a few quirks and one that jumps out from Parsons’ player profile is that he likes salted caramel ice cream.
“My grandma honestly, she got me into it. That would be the only thing she would have at her house, so I just got used to it and liked it. You kind of have to search for it a little bit or go to ice cream shops to get it, but when I see it, I get it for sure.”
Hopefully, someone in the family scouts out an ice cream shop in Las Vegas where he and the family can celebrate his draft selection in June.
(Photos provided by USNTDP)