By Peter Roumeliotis
Special to ECHL.com
For many players entering their first year of professional hockey, the adjustment from juniors or college hockey is not a simple task. The speed, size and maturity of the athletes is increased, coupled with the challenge of becoming familiar with a new city. Despite all of the tests the transition to pro-hockey can offer, Alaska Aces rookie Danny Moynihan proved he can carry himself like a seasoned vet.
“I mean the players are bigger and stronger at this level,” Moynihan admits. “It does take a little bit of time to adjust to that in the beginning but I think I did a good job In terms of getting used to everything and started to produce.”
Produce is right. In his first campaign in the ECHL, Moynihan put up 52 points (22 goals and 30 assists) in 70 games with the Aces. The two-way forward was able to get three short-handed goals this year, tying him for most overall by a rookie this season alongside teammate Yan-Pavel Laplante.
Upon closer look, several factors have helped the 6’1, 190lbs forward easily adjust to life in the ECHL. The Boston native had a successful three year junior career in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) where he spent most of his tenure with the Halifax Mooseheads. The Mooseheads are one of the most successful teams in the QMJHL, and are known for their passionate fan base and top notch organization.
“Everyone knew who you were in Halifax,” Moynihan explains. “You had to act like a professional all the time on and off the ice. After playing in Halifax you kind of know what to expect and how to act when you go to pro camps, it really helped me a lot and taught me how to act in public. It was just an unbelievable learning experience.”
Playing for a prolific junior team prepared Moynihan for many of the on and off-ice demands that are required of a professional hockey player.
“It was just like a pro setting” Moynihan Admits. “Off the ice you had to show your character and always act responsible and make sure you are doing the right things.”
Also helping to smooth the transition was his success at the Vancouver Canucks rookie tournament and development camp. As a result of his performance at these events, Moynihan signed a two-way AHL deal with the Utica Comets.
“I definitely had some confidence after everything that happened at the pro camps which led to me signing a pro deal. I was very nervous at first but I got used to the setting and earned a pro contract. I basically took that confidence and kept it with me throughout the entire season and I think it really paid off based on how my first year went in the ECHL.”
Despite the fact the Aces will not make the playoffs this season, Moynihan had a successful rookie season and it will certainly help to elevate his professional career moving forward.