“The thing I want the most is to play in the NHL. That’s my dream. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. That’s what I always will want to do,” Denver Online High School sophomore, Iain Riordon, said.
But he isn’t just any type of hockey player, he’s a goalie. “When I was little I just obsessed over goalies. It just kind of happened. It was kind of meant to be,” he said. “I love the adrenaline rush, and I love the feeling of stopping somebody’s shot. Like, ‘Oh you had a scoring opportunity. It’s gone now.’”
But to claim that rare elite position, he knows he must do things differently than the rest.
“You have to push yourself harder than anyone else. You have to be in the gym and on the ice more than any other kids,” he expressed. Like setting that 4am wake-up call in order to make it to his individual lessons that sometimes happen before the sun even comes up.
“For years, I’ve been out early in the morning just training just to get better,” the sophomore noted. “That’s just what I want to do is get better. I want to be more competitive than everybody else. I want it more than everyone else. And I want to push myself harder than everyone else does.”
Describing his lesson for the day with Tate Maris, former goalie for the Colorado Eagles, he said, “We’re usually practicing small area, high technicality skating. Just working on recovering from shots and how to direct shots properly. It’s a small thing but it can give you a huge advantage in a game.”
Traveling continually for practice and games made participating in the traditional schooling model nearly impossible, so they made the shift to Denver Online High School.
“Having a flexible schedule, I’m able, when there’s an opportunity to jump on the ice, even if it’s 1:30pm in the afternoon and everybody’s in class, I can still go get on the ice,” Riordon described. “I’m sometimes doing lessons at 12:30 around when everybody’s in school, and I just love that it gives me the ability to go out when no one else can.”
He completes schoolwork around his busy schedule, even taking an extra nutrition course through the Career Education Center.
He said, “Sometimes I do get off track,” with his school coursework. “But I just have to push myself. I just have to remind myself, ‘Oh I need to be doing this to be able to get on the ice to keep playing.’”
He has played for the Colorado Springs Tigers, Colorado Rampage, and Evolution Elite Hockey in the last three years. Oh, and one more thing. “I play varsity lacrosse as a goalie too,” for North High School, he said.
Riordon shows us what hard work looks like in the journey to making his dream a reality. But one thing comes easy: that hair. “It’s the thing. It’s the hockey thing,” he said laughing.
Go get ‘em boy. We’ll be cheering for you.