PRINCETON: Barratt takes next step in hockey journey

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After spending the last two years with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program

By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
Evan Barratt could not have plotted his career path on the ice any better.
Barrett spent two years on the ice hockey team at The Hun School in Princeton, scoring 23 goals and added 38 assists as a freshman before missing his sophomore season with an injury. It was later in his sophomore year at Hun that Barratt received an invitation to attend a tryout for the USA Hockey Under-17 National Team.
“My sophomore year at Hun I was lucky enough, even though I had been injured during the season, to get an invite to try out for the national team,” Barratt said. “I went up there for a couple days for the tryout before school ended and then found out I had made the team. It was awesome. I had no idea it was even possible.”
Barratt went on to play for the U17 National Team and then this past year for the U18 National team. The USA U18 team won gold at the U18 World Junior Cup in Slovakia, going 6-1 in the tournament as Barratt had a goal and five assists in the seven games. He finished the season with 18 goals and 38 assists last year for U18 National Team.
Barratt’s good fortune continued after the season, as he committed to play for former Princeton University coach Guy Gadowsky at Penn State University. And less than two weeks ago Barratt was drafted No. 90 overall in the third round of the NHL draft by Chicago Blackhawks.
“It was a big turn in my life, moving away from home and then being there the past two years,” Barratt said of his time with the national team, which trains in Plymouth, Mich. “These have been the best two years of my life. They have impacted me in terms of on and off the ice. Building great relationships and success with a great group of guys has been very rewarding.
“I feel like every decision I made along the way has been the right one.”
Barratt, a Bristol, Pa. resident, had two very productive years in the United States National Team Development Program. He realized a dream come true when he signed with Penn State, and now has realized another lifelong dream after being drafted by the Blackhawks.
The incredible ride started with a gold medal winning performance by Barratt and the U18 team at the World Championships.
“Everyone asks me about it and I still can’t put it into words,” Barratt said. “It has been an unbelievable experience to represent my country on the world stage. It took two years of dedication and hard work from every staff member. Everyone made it great to go there every day. We had a rough first year like most teams getting used to a new coach and changing styles. We had an awesome group and we knew success was going to follow all the hard work.
“We started slow our U18 season and then after Christmas we went 27-3 the rest of the way. We had a great group of guys. Everyone knew their role and how to win. At the U18 championships we knew we were the best team and no one could beat us if we played the way we knew we could play. The semifinal game against Sweden was one of best games we had played as a team. After we got by Sweden we knew we were not going to let anyone take that away from us. Being there and singing the national anthem, I still get goose bumps thinking about it.”
Barratt is now part of the program at Penn State. He arrived earlier this summer to get started with classes and will take the ice for a team that went 25-12-2 last year, winning the Big 10 championship and reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament.
“Penn State was a no-brainer for me,” Barratt said. “The coaching staff is unbelievable and the guys they have here are fantastic people. I have been here a week and a half and taking summer courses and working out. It has been an awesome time already. Being able to step into a rising program is something that made this a no-brainer. It has been fantastic. I am three hours from home and can go home for a weekend if I want to. It is perfect.”
On the second night of the NHL draft in Chicago, Barratt realized another dream come true when he was selected by the hometown Blackhawks in the third round.
“I thought it was possible,” said Barratt, who was in Chicago for the draft. “I worked hard with the national program to get a chance to hear my name get called. It was an incredible feeling. To get your name called and know a team wants and cares for you in the best league in the world, it is amazing. I feel like everyone has seen the photos of me after my name was called. To be in Chicago and hear the cheers was an amazing experience.”
Barratt’s next stop on his hockey journey will be Penn State. But beyond that he hopes for a successful career in the NHL, whenever that time comes.
“I don’t have a set timetable,” Barratt said. “I will just keep working. “In my case with Chicago, whenever they feel it is best for me to leave, whether that is two or three years or I am here all four years, it is really up to us.”
And throughout his journey on the ice, Barratt still looks back fondly at his two years at Hun. He was back at the school in May to see some of his former classmates graduate. And now that he’s at Penn State, he’ll be happy that his mom will once again have  chance to come see him play.
“Some of my best buddies just graduated.” Barratt said. “I am always in touch. I was at graduation a couple weeks ago and it was awesome seeing people against. It is good to have a lot of support.
“My mom, if she isn’t doing any lessons, she’ll be at Penn State. She has been working so hard she hasn’t been able to come to many games. But she has watched them online and it will be awesome to have her in the stands when I play.”