Scott Mayfield Ready For Next Chaper At DU

From: Webster-Kirkwood Times
by Rick Frese

If all goes according to plan, Scott Mayfield will become the first player from Webster Groves, Missouri to play in the NHL.

Four selections into the second round, the 34th pick overall, the New York Islanders chose the 18-year-old Mayfield during the National Hockey League entry draft held June 25. The Islanders now own Mayfield's draft rights for the next four years.

Mayfield shared the moment with his parents, Andrew and Jane, older brother, Patrick, and other family and friends, including little league and Webster Groves High School hockey coach Dave Garth. "They'd been there the whole time," Mayfield said. "It's nice to share this with them."

Mayfield is set to attend the University of Denver on a hockey scholarship this fall, where he hopes to improve well enough to sign with the Islanders in two, three years, maybe sooner. NHL teams use colleges like minor leagues to develop talent.

Mayfield received the scholarship to Denver during the summer of 2009 after his sophomore season at Webster Groves High School. He longed to attend the University of Denver since he was eight, when he visited the campus on family vacations. His father earned his law degree at Denver, and his brother attends the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

"Hockey's been pretty much my whole life," Mayfield said. "It's my life. It's my commitment. I dedicated everything to hockey. It's starting to unfold. Everything has happened in the last two-and-a-half years. This isn't the end, it's only the beginning. I still need to grow and work hard."

In a matter of several months in 2009, Mayfield became an overnight success. He went from playing for the St. Louis AAA Blues midget minor squad and Webster Groves High School to attending a camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. He was then selected to play for Team USA in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Slovakia. Mayfield was drafted to play in the USHL. He received a shoebox full of offers to play at top Division I colleges.

"It's neat to see his late development," said Garth, who started coaching Mayfield when he was 11. "When he was, 10, 11, 12, he was not unbelievable. When you see him play now, you say, 'Holy cow, he's turned into a great player.' With Scott, you see strength and power. He went from being a tall and gangly kid to a powerful athlete."

Mayfield draws comparisons to former St. Louis Blues All-Star defenseman Chris Pronger. Like Pronger, the hard-nosed, hard-hitting Mayfield is intimidating because of his size. Scouts have said he is NHL ready with his defensive skills but needs to work on his offense. He is a strong puck handler and skater. He admits he needs to improve his scoring, though he has a hard slap shot and wrist shot.

"My size helps me hit and rough it up," Mayfield said. "I don't take dumb penalties. My skating has improved a lot. With my size, it helps my quickness and footwork."

One Central Scouting Bureau scout said of Mayfield: "He plays like a seasoned veteran. Scott has a smooth, strong and effortless stride, his passes are crisp and he sees the ice well. He has a very good wrist shot and controls the play from the point on the power play."

Garth agrees with the scout's assessment.

"His speed and his ability to control the play, especially at his end of the rink, is very apparent," Garth said.

Mayfield's goal is to help Denver win the NCAA title. Denver has won seven national championships.

"I can't even describe what that would be like," Mayfield said.

"The question he had to answer, 'Was he ready to move on to Youngstown?' " Garth said. "I told him, 'If you go now, you'll have a good chance to start as a freshman (at Denver).' He was very ready to leave town. Hockey-wise, it was an easy decision to make, even if he was the sixth defenseman."

In May, Mayfield attended the NHL Combine in Toronto, where he went through a battery of physical tests and was interviewed by 22 of the 30 NHL teams, including the Blues.

Mayfield was named the most valuable player in the 2010 World Junior A Challenge held in Penticton, British Columbia last November. In 2009, he represented Team USA in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Slovakia, where Team USA placed fourth. At the tournament, Mayfield won the skills competition.

"I went from practicing and playing pick-up games with my buddies in St. Louis to playing games in Europe with, and against, first-round NHL draft picks -- crazy," Mayfield blogged on "This was the start of introducing me to a whole new level of play."

Now, Mayfield is ready to start a new chapter toward realizing his dream [read entire article].

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