By Aileyahu Shanes
Follow on Twitter @a_shanes10
While this Gator team has talent up and down the roster, there is one player that clearly stands out on the ice. His name seems to be associated with every goal, and he takes control of each game. That player is senior center John Hunt.
The food and resource economics major from Ft. Myers currently leads the Gators in all scoring categories. He has twelve goals, nine assists and 21 points in just nine games. His dominance really started to show in the first game of the University of Tennessee series. In the first game of the series, he came out with a hat trick and an assist, including the overtime game winner.
Although only standing at 5’9’’, Hunt has shown a huge presence on the ice. From his speed to his playmaking ability, Hunt has a plethora of skills in his tool kit. If John Hunt had to choose his biggest strength, however, he would say his hockey IQ. “Just knowing where to be and where the puck’s coming.” said Hunt on this strength. Although his favorite player growing up was Sidney Crosby, John Hunt emulates his game after another Nova Scotia, Canada, native and former QMJHL prospect: Nathan MacKinnon. “He likes to shoot the puck,” said Hunt on MacKinnon’s playing style, “and once in a while will do something flashy. He doesn’t try to do too much. He’s always just getting pucks deep, shooting a lot and then, once in a while, he’ll have a crazy, highlight reel goal.”
While being from the west coast of Florida, Hunt decided to play his high school hockey in Connecticut at Westminster Prep. “I had worked really hard to get to that level,” said Hunt, “because I wasn’t going to go up there if I wasn’t ready. So, I went up there, got looked at by a few schools and that [Westminster Prep] was one of them that I really liked and we kind of figured out a way that would work.” Westminster Prep is a great program with a tough training regimen. “You’re on the ice every day,” said Hunt on the program, “If you want to go before class you can go, mandatory workouts every day…. Getting structure from a program like that was really helpful.” The structure has clearly shown how helpful it has been, with it translating to Hunt’s success with the Gators currently. Over his three-year tenure with the prep school, Hunt recorded 21 points. “After high school, I went to an NCAA DIII school called Hobart, which is in upstate New York.” said Hunt. Unfortunately, Hunt’s stint with the team did not last long, as he was cut. However, Hobart is a very tough and prestigious program, and making the team is very difficult.
Although not being able to play Division III NCAA hockey, Hunt seems to have found a big role at the University of Florida and has made lasting memories along the way. “When we played in Savannah,” said Hunt on one such memory that stuck out to him, “…we played against Florida State and then we played Georgia Tech. That was a really fun tournament. I personally had a really good tournament, but also just beating Florida State was a really good accomplishment.” Hopefully Hunt and the Gators can have another successful Savannah Tournament and carry the team to further success this season.