Two Gilmour hockey alums are one step closer to living out their hockey dreams. Hampus Gustafsson ’12 and John Gilmour are making a name for themselves on the ice in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Gustafsson, a center who played hockey for Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., has signed with the Hershey (Pa.) Bears, the farm team for the Washington Capitals.
He’s been playing for them for a few months and enjoyed playing in the playoffs.
“It’s different from college hockey, more intense,” he observes. “Some of the guys are older. It’s more structured. Everyone here is a good player. It’s fast-paced, good quality playing and good quality coaching. I’m learning a lot.”
Gustafsson is getting used to his routine of staying at hotels and waking up early to practice while completing his classes at Merrimack. Playing in the playoffs is more physical and faster than the hockey he’s used to playing, he says.
Gilmour, too, enjoyed his experience as a first-year pro playing for the New York Rangers’ minor league affiliate, the Hartford (Conn.) Wolfpack. His season ended in April.
“It was incredible, an opportunity to play hockey and earn a living at the same time,” Gilmour says. “It has always been a dream of mine, so I’m really happy about it. It’s been pretty tough at times but a really fun ride so far.”
Gilmour, a defenseman who played NCAA hockey at Providence College for four years, played in every game for the Wolfpack.
“I learned so much, just everything hockeywise and obviously, off the ice as well. Now it’s 24-7 and it’s exciting. You’re always learning on the go.”
The pros are giving both Gustafsson and Gilmour the experience they need to make it in the National Hockey League one day,
a dream that is still very much alive for both of them.