By @MichaelCaples –
PLYMOUTH – Any University of Michigan hockey fans who have stopped by USA Hockey Arena these past few days have surely liked what they’ve seen from Josh Norris.
The Oxford native and NTDP product has been logging time in all game situations, and he’s been making his presence felt both literally and figuratively.
Just watch that GIF embedded below.
— Michael Caples (@michaelcaples) July 29, 2017
Playing the body – not a problem. Couple that with the fact that he knows his way around the offensive zone, as well, and Mel Pearson’s got to be excited for what’s showing up in Ann Arbor this fall.
For the rest of this week, Norris’ attention is on the World Junior Summer Showcase in his old team’s rink. He’s pushing for a spot on the U.S. World Junior Team, and rightfully so.
He’s also hanging out with his old friend Will Lockwood, as they both get ready for the 2017-18 college hockey season.
“I’m really excited. It’s been a long time coming.” Norris said. “I’ve been talking to Will about it, he’s here this week. We’re pretty good buddies so we’ve been talking about it a lot and we’re really excited to get there and get going.”
Norris is one of Nine Michigan natives at the camp, held inside the home of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. As the latest first-round draft pick from the Mitten State, Norris said it’s great to be carrying the Michigan flag through major hockey events.
“It’s obviously a hockey hotbed and guys like Larkin, Werenski and Trouba,” Norris said. “Those are just some big names that have come out of there, but the program does a great job developing, especially the U.S. program does a great job of it, so I was pretty thankful to be in this area.”
The Summer Showcase is just the latest moment in a busy summer. Norris was in Chicago to hear his name called by the Sharks at No. 19 overall, and shortly thereafter, he made his first trip to California for his first development camp with his new parent organization.
“It was good, really up-tempo, high pace, a lot of big names are there that I got to learn from – guys like (Kevin) LaBanc, Timo Meier and obviously the coaching staff, Doug Wilson, so I took a lot of great things away.”
Norris has been training with Total Package Hockey this summer, as well, preparing for the upcoming season. He’s not complaining about his hectic schedule, however.
“It’s awesome. I’ve been a little bit busy, been gone a little bit, but it’s nice to be home, be with my family, enjoy some time with them, so it’s nice to be with them.”
Soon, it’s off to Ann Arbor on a more permanent basis.
“I’m going to take it a day at a time, not really looking too far ahead. Whatever happens, happens, but I’m going to enjoy my time there and try to develop as best as I can.”
Norris will be trying to build on a NTDP career that saw him take a major jump from Year 1 to Year 2. In the second campaign with the national program, he posted a perfect 61 points in 51 games for a point-per-game conclusion to his time with the NTDP.
“I thought I took a big step last year in terms of points numbers and productivity, but also in terms of just learning to play the game the right way,” Norris said. “I think I finally took that big step and that’s definitely an identity of my game and that’s what I’m going to be going for.”
He’s excited to learn from new coach Mel Pearson, as well.
“He’s a great guy, seems like he’s really knowledgeable and I trust him with what he’s had to say so far, so I’m really excited to play for him.”