(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
If you’ve ever been the “new guy” on a team, you know just how hard it can be to adjust to a new environment, new people and new expectations.
But for first year ASU hockey forward Garrett Peterson, the “new guy” title came and went quickly when he was named one of the three captains for the team this season.
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In 2011, Peterson went on to play at the University of Notre Dame. His freshman year was successful – he played in 20 of the team’s 40 games, racking up two goals and two assists while leading the team with a plus-six rating.
By his sophomore year in South Bend, Peterson’s ice time drastically diminished. He sat out for the first half of the 2012-13 season and played in just three games without recording a single shot.
The following year would be his last at Notre Dame.
Peterson transferred to Arizona State on Aug. 12 with plans to play with the Sun Devils in his final year of NCAA eligibility. He said the transition to Tempe was an easy one.
“It’s been a very smooth process,” Peterson said. “I thought, maybe, the transition would be a little tougher than it was, but I think given the leadership we have here, as far as the coaches and the entire ASU athletic department and my teammates, have just made it a really smooth transition.”
The move to ASU, however, may never have even come to fruition if it wasn’t for Peterson’s own initiative. Peterson had to get a release from Notre Dame’s compliance department before talking to ASU coach Greg Powers about transferring.
“As far as the way that conversation went, we just kind of hit it off,” Peterson said. “We both had goals we wanted to achieve and the pieces just kind of fit the puzzle.”
ASU was not the only option Peterson was considering, however. He was deciding between Western Michigan, Ferris State, Bowling Green and ASU, but ultimately, he found that the best fit would be playing hockey in Tempe.
It was a decision that would quickly pay off.
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For Peterson, it has been smooth sailing in the desert so far, in large part because of the chemistry that his team has.
“I’ve played hockey for about 20 years now, and this honestly could be one of the tightest teams I’ve been on,” he said. “They’re not just good hockey players, but they’re good people off the ice.”
But it went both ways for Peterson. He didn’t only admire his teammates, but his teammates looked up to him.
“He (Peterson) stepped in right away, he has a ton of leadership,” junior defenseman Drew Newmeyer said. “He’s a guy who’s been playing NCAA for a couple years now, so to see how he goes through every day, the way he treats every practice, getting ready and everything like that, it’s good for all of us.”
With the entire team in the locker room on Sept. 22, Powers announced that Peterson was among the three team captains for the season.
“I think right when he said it, my heart totally dropped,” Peterson said. “Coming here and being a graduate student, an old wily vet, it was on my to-do list to lead this team and it was going to be done whether I had a letter on my jersey or not.
“To be the captain of this inaugural team is just an honor, extremely humbling,” he said.