"Squires leads Ice to opening victory
At an age when most of his peers are looking forward to senior prom and graduation, 18-year-old Gregory Squires has his ambitions set elsewhere — namely, on helping the Indiana Ice win the United States Hockey League championship.
Squires is already on his way. He scored the game-winning goal in the Ice’s season opener Saturday at the Pepsi Coliseum and delivered some tough hits on defense. On the ice, Squires is a scrappy, tough, ambitious player who is always hustling.
His game-winning goal came as a result of his hustle. He’d wrestled the puck away from a defender, faked out the goaltender and flicked the puck into the back of the net through sheer will.
A native of White Plains, N.Y., Squires scored 15 goals and had 20 assists last season with the United States National Development Team. His offensive play and defensive tenacity will be key to the Ice’s success this year.
“We have everything this season,” Squires said in an interview. “Our team has good defense, some tough hitting, some tough fighters and a lot of skill. Hopefully I can be a positive addition to this team. I’m more of an offensive player but I’ve been working on my defense. I hope I can add some scoring and hard play.”
Moving to Indianapolis after having lived in close proximity to New York City most of his life has been an adjustment for Squires. “Things are very different here but I like the city. The fans really love the sport and the team, which is great.”
Squires, like most of the Ice players, is living with a local family during the season because the USHL is an amateur league. Players are not paid for playing, which allows them to retain their NCAA eligibility.
As a child, Squires spent a lot of time at Madison Square Garden. His father works for the Garden in accounting and so he was able to watch plenty of New York Rangers games.
“I’ve been around the Knicks and the Rangers and all the players who’ve passed through there,” he said. “It’s influenced me a lot. I didn’t come from a hockey town or a hockey family but just being around the Garden inspired me to learn how to skate and to play.”
Despite the Rangers’ recent woes, Squires says he’s a fan of them for life. “I’m not a front-runner. I like my team, good or bad.”
His enthusiasm at being in the top junior hockey league in the nation is tempered by reality, though. Ask him about his future ambitions and he doesn’t list NHL stardom at the top of the list.
“In five years, I would like to be graduating college with a degree in sports management or even a teaching degree,” he said. “I want to be working with people. I’d like to be playing [college] hockey. That’d be my ultimate goal. Getting into the NHL is a goal, but that’ll be after college, hopefully. I’m looking at the smaller goals to lead me to the ultimate goal.”
The Indiana Ice’s next home game is Sunday, Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. when the team faces the Lincoln Stars. Single-game and season-ticket information is available by calling the Ice at 317-925-4423. Game replays and other information can be found at the team’s Web site, indianaice.com.