USA Hockey Adult Player of the Year Announced
The 65-year-old Forest Lake native has been awarded this year’s USA Hockey Adult Player of the Year. Hartshorn, known as “Hartsy,” has captained his Lumberjack adult hockey team for the last 22 years of competition, and most of the games have been played at the National Sports Center’s Super Rink.
Because of adult leagues ran at the Super Rink, Hartshorn has formed meaningful relationships with people and has plenty of stories in his back pocket including an exhibition game with the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2009.
They dropped the puck, and it goes into the corner, and I skate into the corner. I beat the woman that’s chasing me,” Hartshorn recalled. “And all of a sudden, I was face first into the boards, and I’m lying on the ground. I look up, and there’s this young woman that’s about 18. She looks down at me and she goes, ‘I’m sorry, sir.’ And she skates away. I’m going, ‘Sir? God, I’m getting old.’”
Hartshorn frequently searches for ice time wherever he can find it. Even though he’s not playing the five to six nights of hockey a week like he was doing five years ago, the retired owner of a TV satellite company still plays in leagues three nights a week.
Nominations for the award were sought by USA Hockey and presented by Labatt Blue. Hockey operations and programs director at the National Sports Center Pete Carlson was quick to send in his friend and longtime nemesis’ name. “He was both a customer and an opponent because I played on a different team,” Carlson said. “As a customer, I had to be nice to him, but man, I did not like the Lumberjacks or even Hartsy. Our two teams battled for five years. In those five years, and I am serious, we did not like each other.”
Buying a round of adult beverages or two was all Hartshorn needed to do to win over Carlson after battling it out on the boards years ago. “He’s a social guy,” Carlson said. “He likes organizing things. He likes putting people together. I think hockey is the reason you get together, but I think he likes to have a beer and grill some hot dogs in the parking lot afterward just as much as he does playing the game.”
Rob continues to run organized and local pick-up games with a group of 20 players called “Hartsy Hockey” on Wednesdays during the summer. You can certainly catch them social distancing and barbecuing at the Super Rink shortly after games are completed. Harthsorn has been playing adult hockey for 45 years with plenty of more years to go.