Nolan Barrett committed to Merrimack last week. Barrett is a two-time USPHL champion with the Selects Academy at South Kent School the last two seasons (they won Nationals last season) and this year the New Jersey native has transitioned to the Skipjacks Hockey Club. This week, TMR caught up with Barrett (who has 12 points in 17 games from the blue line this season) to talk about his commitment to Merrimack, his transition to South Kent, his experience at the World Selects Invitational and more …
Q. What made Merrimack stand out in the recruiting process? Every school is obviously different, but what about Merrimack made it the place for you?
Barrett: “Visiting Merrimack was a great experience for me. The first time I came to campus, I attended a game with my parents and the excitement and energy at Lawler Rink was amazing. When I came for my official visit, I got to spend the night, tour the campus and see the Business School. Everyone I met was really helpful and it just felt right for me. It felt like a really good place for me. The campus is in an amazing location and it’s the perfect size.”
Q. What were your impressions of the coaching staff during the process?
Barrett: “My initial conversations were with Coach (Curtis) Carr and he was excited for me to see the school and was really helpful in explaining the team’s schedule for practice, the facilities and to welcome me to Merrimack. Then I met Coach (Scott) Borek. He was extremely passionate about developing and coaching his players. I was surprised by how much he knew about my hockey history and my game. He made me feel really good about the future at Merrimack and about being part of something special.”
Q. How would you describe yourself as a player? What do you think are your best attributes?
Barrett: “I would describe myself as a two-way defenseman. I’m a physical defender who likes to join the rush and increase offensive chances. My best attributes are skating, passing, and stickhandling. My game revolves around transitioning from a defensive stop into joining or leading the rush.”
Q. What was the experience like at the WSI? I was looking at the rosters the year you played and there were some top players (as you would expect) that season.
Barrett: “WSI was a great experience for me. Coming up against top players and just overall better players definitely increases competitiveness. It really brings out your best and elevates everybody’s level of play. It made for some great hockey and really good memories.”
Q. You’ve been fortunate enough to be on some winning teams the last couple of seasons with Selects Academy. What did that experience teach you moving forward? Were there elements of that team that you think were critical to winning as much as you guy did?
Barrett: “I was very fortunate to play with great guys at Selects Academy at South Kent School. Because we lived together and played together, we got to really bond and build chemistry on and off the ice. We worked hard, we played for each other and I learned a lot from those guys. My experiences at Selects taught me the importance of being a team and sticking together especially when it’s tough. We had so much talent and that was definitely a factor in our winning record but the character of our players is what really pulled us out of tough times and adversity. During my two seasons there, we won the USPHL championship and went to Nationals. And winning Nationals together last year was a really special experience that bonds us together forever.”
Q. What has it been like transitioning to Skipjacks this year?
Barrett: “I decided to play a second year of U18 because I wanted to focus on a few key areas of my game before I head to Juniors and beyond. I knew that I wanted to play for Coach Jason Kersner at the Skipjacks. Jason has a reputation for putting preparation and development ahead of everything else for his players. Jason is definitely a player’s coach who is passionate about developing his players. Jason made the transition to the Skipjacks very easy for me and its been a great experience playing for him.”