By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
Landry Laird has crossed a lot of North America in search of his college hockey future – from his home in El Paso, Texas to Ontario and to Massachusetts. And it is in Massachusetts where he was able to make the college hockey dream come true, thanks in large part to the Springfield Pics organization.
“I attended Canadian International Hockey Academy to further develop myself on and off the ice, where I made huge strides thanks to their program. After that, I got connected with Rob Bonneau and had a couple conversations with him and decided that the Pics organization would be a great fit for me,” said Laird, an ‘02 goaltender for the past two years with the Pics Premier team. “I really enjoyed my time with the Pics and playing for Coach Bonneau. He’s an excellent coach and puts great effort in getting his players to the next level.”
Laird is excited to be moving on to the new NCAA program at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Technically, MCLA’s program is not 100 percent “new” as it had a good history before the program was cut by the athletics department in 2003, but it’s coming back with a vengeance for the 2023-24 season.
“I started talking to Coach Jeremiah Ketts after my first game of the season. Coach watched the game in which my team was outplayed, and outshot by a sizable margin, but I battled and kept the game close [a 3-0 loss to Connecticut, where Laird stopped 30 of 32 shots],” Laird said. “Coach Ketts approached me after the game and said he enjoyed watching my game and wanted to discuss a future with MCLA.
“From the start, I liked how Coach Ketts approached the game and his players and the unique opportunities to compete in MCLA’s first season back in the NCAA,” Laird added. “I was also very interested in the facilities and the beautiful location of the school. I was also impressed with the reputation of the school’s academics and the degree programs they offer. I have not quite made a final decision on my major, but I am interested in pursuing finance and business.”
He is also looking to pursue some peaks and some outdoor mileage while in North Adams, Mass., tucked in Massachusetts’ northeast corner not far from its border with both New York and Vermont.
“When I visited the campus, I was instantly drawn to the surrounding environment of the Berkshire Mountains, because I have always had a passion for the outdoors,” added Laird. “I also enjoyed the smaller campus and the friendly students and staff, which helped lead to my decision to commit.”
Coming out of his single season in Canada at CIHA, Laird jumped into a great situation with the Pics where he put up a .923 save percentage and 2.22 goals against average as a rookie junior player in 2021-22. He posted a .903 this season for an impressive career average of .910.
“Coaches [Glen] Ladd and [multi-year USPHL alumni Connor] McAnanama both not only helped me and the other goalies to improve our skills on the ice, but they also provided us with someone we can talk to about our game mentally and physically, and give us feedback from a goalie’s perspective,” Laird said.
He also had praise for the league, in which he not only played against teams from the Northeast Corridor states, but also from Minnesota along the way in his career.
“I think the USPHL Premier is a great league to get exposure and prepare players for the next level, especially NCAA, mostly due to the high level of competition and the games and showcases close to so many schools, providing players with great exposure to perform and get attention from schools,” Laird added.
The two-year Premier veteran goalie will get right to work during the off-season in Texas preparing his game for the harder and more accurate shots of college hockey players.
“This off-season, I plan to focus on making sure I’m in the best shape I can be and sharpening my skills on the ice with my goalie coach Chris Johansen,” he said. “I also plan on preparing myself mentally and creating healthy routines that will help me perform at a high level consistently. Also, I work on a ranch which helps me to step away from the game and stay fresh, which I think is important.”
The USPHL congratulates Landry Laird, his family, the Springfield Pics and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts for his commitment.