John McCarron is a 6-foot-3, 215-pound forward from Macomb, Mich.
"When I was 3 years old there was a park down the street from our house in Michigan and they froze one of the parking lots into a rink every year. My dad played hockey growing up and I wanted to play, so we took the kitchen chair with us to teach me how to skate and it took off from there. I started playing organized hockey when I was 6 years old with my mini-mite Red Wings team in Detroit.
"I graduated from high school last year, and I'm taking some general courses at Southeast Community College this year. I went to high school here at Lincoln Southeast and then transferred back home after the season ended to graduate. I liked going to school here. I got to meet a lot of new people, and I learned about Nebraska government and got to compare it to Michigan.
"It's mostly the people who don't know hockey that don't know about the United States Hockey League. Hockey is so big in Michigan and some of my buddies say, ‘Why would you leave Michigan to play hockey in Nebraska?' So I tell them the outskirts of the league -- there's a team in Green Bay; a team in Fargo -- and they start to realize. And then they see from the things on my Facebook page that the USHL is not a joke, and see the Ice Box with 4,000 fans and realize I'm furthering my career.
"I committed a few months ago to play college hockey at Cornell University in New York. It's an elegant place and their hockey team is No. 1 on campus. I think their coach will get the most out of me and I seem to fit their type of player -- they're a huge team -- and they can develop my type of player hopefully into an NHL player, as well as get a world-renowned education. It'd be nice to play for Michigan or Michigan State back home, but it's what you got to do. I'm going to study medicine, and maybe go into pediatric orthopedic surgery. It's going to be long journey, but I've always wanted to be a doctor.
"We had that losing skid here recently, but I think the guys in the locker room all know from last season when you come to the rink you got to know you can win every game and you don't want to be slouching your shoulders and having a bad attitude. I think we learned that last year. We were just kind of going through the motions because we weren't confident we could get a win every night, but I think this year we are.
"With (new head coach Chad Johnson) it freshened it up this year, and he brought some new drills and changed up the flow a little bit. (Associate head coach Jimmy McGroarty) and Chad work together at it so we still do some of the same drills as last year. Practicing shootouts on Thursday is my favorite drill.
"This year I think I think we have more depth at the blue line, and our top three lines when we're healthy are pretty lethal. Coach changed the lines after we started losing and I've been playing with Ryan Dzingel and Garrett Peterson, and we should be able to be a top line in the league. We have lots of good lines, and even our fourth line, it's not like I'm worried they're going to get scored against every time.
"(I'm tied for third on the team with eight goals, after scoring seven goals all last season.) I'm playing on the power play and coach trusts me more and I'm getting a little more ice time. When I was younger in the league I didn't know where to go to score, but now I've found the spots in this league and know what to expect. On the power play you got to get those loose pucks on rebounds, and maybe some back-door plays. I'm probably most known for my slap shot. The guys have a little joke about it. I like to take (slap shots), but you got to have enough time and make sure you get the shot on net.
"My brother, Mike McCarron, plays for Honeybaked Midget Majors in Michigan, and he might get a chance to play for the National Team Development Program next year. He's already 6-foot-6 and he's only 15-years old. He'd love to come play for the Stars if he doesn't make Team USA. He has the size and skill to hopefully be in the NHL and has already committed to Michigan State."