Is Milwaukee a hockey town? Most would say no considering the lack of NHL presence in the city, however, the Milwaukee Admirals have become a hot ticket in town as of the last few years. The Milwaukee Admirals are part of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the affiliate of the Nashville Predators of the NHL since 1998. The Predators are currently 2nd in the Western Conference and look poised for their 5th straight playoff appearance. With the recent success of the Predators comes the allure of seeing all the current Admirals in hopes of watching them play for the Predators in the NHL someday.
One of those current Admirals is the goalie, Troy Grosenick. Troy hails for Brookfield, WI and is now a
fan favorite at Admirals games. Troy started skating at the age of 4 and was playing hockey at around 6 or 7 years old. The Admirals are the primary reason that Troy started to become involved in hockey. At a young age, his parents had season tickets and while following Admirals hockey, Troy became increasingly interested in the sport. He was not always a goalie. During one season in youth hockey, the team’s goalie was gone and Troy volunteered to fill in and immediately fell in love with the position. In the following year, he had more opportunity to play goalie full time and thus continued to improve at the position.
Troy has received time in the NHL during a stint with the San Jose Sharks. In 2014 Troy made his NHL debut and did so in impressive fashion recording a 45 save shutout in a San Jose win. “My first game in Carolina is something I’ll never forget. My whole family was there and it was a dream come true”, Troy said in regards to his first NHL game. In general, he said that he treasured his time in San Jose playing
for the team, however, when news came to him that he was traded to the Predators organization, he was happy with the opportunity to be back in Milwaukee.
In regards to performance, Troy prefers to keep stats out of his head. “Goalie stats kind of are what they are. They are imperfect. It’s more of a day by day feel. It’s not so much stats driven, it’s more win driven being able to give your team a chance to win every night.” He said that if there is something he is struggling with he tries to concentrate on that a bit more during practice but other than that there is not too much else to look at in regards to stats.
MLB is now peppered with all sorts of Statcast data that tie a number to almost anything in the game. As for the NHL, that technology may be coming soon. Earlier this season puck and player sensors are being used to now support data-driven decisions in the game. A report in Buffalonews.com illustrates some uses of the technology and had some fascinating stats from this season such as hockey players skating 3 miles in a game or skate speeds of over 20 mph. As Grosenick was saying, goalie stats are what they are. It appears there is not too much to track in regards to the performance of a goalie besides giving your team a chance to win. Grosenick said that while some players use scouting reports, he likes to keep things constant and focus on his internal preparation. While he looks at team trends and power play strategies of opposing teams, he tries not to get bogged down with too much of that. He focuses more on his routine and makes sure he mentally is ready to go out there and perform.
If you have ever watched a close hockey game, you would know that the final couple minutes are among the most exciting moments in any sports event. What generally happens in a 1 goal lead going into the final couple minutes, is the team that is down will pull the goalie out of the game in exchange for another attacker. This creates a power play situation where there are 6 players on offense against the 5 defenders plus the goalie. While the risk is allowing the other team to score an open net goal, it gives the team a much more likely chance to score a goal themselves. This is the equivalent to an onside kick in football where the benefit of success is worth the risk given that point in the game. As a goalie having 6 players spraying shots at every possible moment, you can only imagine how stressful that must be.
“Obviously it looks chaotic from the stands and at certain times from the ice. As a goalie, you have to internalize everything. There’s only so much you can control and you have to let the game come to you. I try to keep a flat line throughout the game no matter if it’s the first minute or the last minute… you’re playing the same way and that’s the best way to achieve results.”
As with any sport, mental toughness is a quality that these athletes excel in. The ability to stay within yourself and stay in the moment is critical, and as a fan, it is difficult to conceptualize this. Watching from the stands and watching a moment like that is nerve-wracking, but for the goalie, it should be no different than any other minute of the game.
In regards to the atmosphere in the city, he said, “We have a very passionate fanbase and its awesome to
see big crowds and it gets loud.” In regards to playing in Milwaukee, he said, “It’s awesome playing for the team I grew up rooting for. Its been really special for my family and being close to home especially with my little boy and him being able to be close to his grandparents and uncles is a unique situation.” He mentioned how his parents were season ticket holders when he was a kid, but how about now that he is on the team? “Not officially but they are at pretty much every game. I am able to set aside some of my tickets for them.”
Troy is having a good season allowing 2.51 average goals allowed and is 8th among AHL qualified goalies with a 91.7% save percentage. Grosenick is really excelling this season in shoot-outs. In 11 shoot out attempts, Grosenick has only allowed one to get by him.
RAPID FIRE WITH GROSENICK:
- Q: Favorite NHL player growing up? A: Jeremy Roenick
- Q: Any bad hockey injuries? A: Just some knee and ankle sprains and broken fingers
- Q: Favorite Meal? A: Pasta with meat sauce. After a game literally anything!
- Q: Favorite Movie? A: Bull Durham and Forrest Gump
- Q: Favorite sport other than hockey? A: Golf. Played high school baseball. Golfed Whistling Straights.
- Q: Hidden talents? A: Crossword puzzles/trivia
- Q: Favorite beer? A: Spotted Cow. Introduces all the non-Wisconsin natives to Spotted Cow.