Know Your Bobcat – Jeremy Norway
Throughout the months of August and September, BismarckBobcats.com will be taking a one-by-one look at the players on the Bobcats’ Training Camp Roster. Today’s installment features rookie forward Jeremy Norway.
Name: Jeremy Norway
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Weight: 175 lbs.
2012-13 Team: Chicago Fury U18
2012-13 Stats: 39 GP, 17 G, 25 A, 42 PTS, 10 PIM
Favorite Food: Steak
Favorite Movie: Never Back Down
Highlight of 2012-13: “In a game that Coach [Garrett] Roth was scouting against the Colorado Rampage and [fellow Bobcat tender signee] Tony German, I scored the game-winning goal in overtime.”
In nearly any sport you can think of, it's often said that unselfish players have a "pass-first mentality." Bismarck Bobcats rookie forward Jeremy Norway takes that mindset so seriously that even when he's talking about his own game, he's conceiving scenarios in which he can set up his teammates.
"OK, so let's say that I'm on an odd-man rush, like a 2-on-1," proposed Norway, who comes to the Bobcats by way of the Chicago Fury in the prestigious MWEHL, "I'm going to be looking for my teammate and try to analyze the best way to hit him with a pass to try and get a goal up there on the board."
The numbers back it up: in 2012-13, Norway had 25 assists in 39 games–along with 17 goals–to provide more than a point-per-game for the Fury.
For the first-year Bobcat, it's all about team priorities.
"I'm not going to try and force shots or overdo it because I wouldn't want to cost our team a good scoring opportunity," offered Norway. "Not only that but it's a great feeling to be able to put my teammates in a position to succeed."
Nice passes and notches in the "A" column may be priorites for Norway, but being a set-up man is far from the only thing he brings to the table; his coaches see a far more complete player.
"Jeremy has a good knack for scoring goals around the front of the net," credited Bobcats assistant coach Garrett Roth, who scouted Norway last season in Chicago, "and at crucial times of the game, too.
"He has a high compete level and a good hockey sense, and he is very adept at using his reach and an active stick to cause disruption in the defensive zone."
Since all-time franchise leading scorer Garrett Roth assumed the role of assistant coach with the Bobcats before the 2012-13 season, the Cats' scouting in the Great Lakes region–particularly Chicago–has moved forward by leaps and bounds.
Hailing from the northwestern Chicago suburb of Cary, Ill., Roth is well-connected in the Chicagoland hockey scene.
"Garrett has been a huge asset in opening up a little bit of a Chicago pipeline," lauded Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. "He is close with a number of coaches and programs and in two offseasons has helped us land some real impact players."
One program that Roth is particularly close with is the Fury, which produced the Cats' 2012-13 Most Improved Player, Evan Giesler, and 2013-14 rookies Jeremy Norway, Tanner Salsberry and Connor Kelly.
"I have had a great relationship with the Fury and [head coach] Dennis Vaske dating back to my first year coaching in the NAHL," related Roth, referring to his time as assistant coach for the Aberdeen Wings in 2010-11. "Dennis' players are well-coached, taught how to play at both ends of the ice and are used to the grind of a 60-game schedule.
"They've all played different roles on a team and are complete players."
For Norway, the Bobcats' familiarity with the Fury and the Fury's relationship with Roth was a big determining factor in his signing a tender agreement to be placed on the Cats' 2013 protected list.
"Everybody knows Coach Roth and knows he's a great guy," stated Norway, who led the Fury with 42 points in 2012-13, "which is a strong start. But I did my homework and called Evan Giesler and he told me what a great program the Bobcats have, how well they prepare guys for college and what a smart coaching staff they have. From there it was a pretty easy decision to sign that tender."
Not only did Norway sign a tender agreement with the Cats, but his U18 teammate Salsberry did, as well. The Bobcat followed that coup up with selecting Kelly in the first round of the 2013 NAHL Entry Draft.
Windy City to Windy Plains
Every year, the Bobcat roster features players from all sorts of cities and towns across the globe and converge on Bismarck/Mandan. Some players come from small towns, like Ian Ecklund, who hails from the small northern Minnesota town of Proctor, population 3,057, all the way up to Jeremy Norway, whose "Sweet Home Chicago" boasts 9.4 million residents in its metropolitan area.
The reaction from Bobcat rookies to the Capital City is as varied as the players' backgrounds, with big-city players often expressing surprise at the small-town way of life while the more rural newcomers enjoying being in a bigger city.
Norway, however, turns this conventional response on its ear: embracing the fact that his hockey home has roughly 1% of Chicago's population.
"I love it. Everything is so close together and that makes it so easy to get around," illustrated Norway. "With the Fury, our billets would be about 10 miles and what seemed 30 stoplights away from the rink and that can be pretty brutal. In Bismarck everything is within 15 minutes."
While anybody could forgive Norway for not missing congestion on the Windy City's maze of interstates and tollways, his pleasant experience in Bismarck/Mandan extends beyond traffic concerns.
"Everyone in town is so nice and friendly," added Norway, "which had definitely made me feel welcome."
But it's not just the locals.
"Our veteran players have done a great job of bringing the team together in a hurry. I was struggling with how demanding 'Hell Week' was but the vets did an unreal job of picking me up when I was having a tough time.
"The guys who were on last year's team tell us rookies that the most important thing that happened when they went on that run at the end of the season was that the guys came together and became a family. Our vets are already working hard to make us a family from day one so we have the best chance at bringing that Robertson Cup back home."
Stay tuned to BismarckBobcats.com over the next month-plus as we take you in-depth with every player on the Training Camp Roster in preparation for the 2013-14 season. We will wrap up this week with Will Pavek on Sunday.