When he was a toddler, Josh Langford of Frisco, Texas, remembered a “really big goalie” who was a standout for the Texas Tornado of the North American Hockey League.
The goalie’s name was Ben Bishop and he stood 6-foot-7.
Bishop later starred at the University of Maine and signed with his hometown team and the National Hockey League club that drafted him in the third round, the St. Louis Blues.
Bishop now plays for the Dallas Stars and the 16-year-old Langford recently met him before verbally committing to attend UMaine.
“He was real nice and he had nothing but great things to say about the school and his experience playing there,” said Langford, who plays for the Dallas Stars Elite program’s 16-under team.
Langford is 6-5 and is coming off a season during which he posted a 2.31 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage in 18 games.
“Obviously, his size is a great attribute but he is also pretty athletic for a big kid and that’s what makes him so intriguing long term,” said Eric Silverman, the director of hockey operations for the Stars’ Elite program and the head coach of the 16-under team. “He has tremendous size along with athleticism. It’s hard to find a lot of big guys who move as well as he does.
“He’s one of the best goalies in the country for his age group.”
Langford said there were several reasons behind his decision to attend UMaine. The earliest he would enroll would be the 2020-2021 season and he will be a scholarship player.
“I really liked the school and the fact the program means so much up there,” said Langford, who is believed to be the first Texan to play at UMaine.
“It’s a big sport, not just for the people at the university but from all around the state. They all support the hockey program. It’s a little different than some of the other schools I talked to,” said Langford.
“I also really liked the rink and the atmosphere. It was super loud and I liked the student section in the balcony,” said Langford.
Langford was chosen in the fourth round of the United States Hockey League draft by the Sioux Falls Stampede and his goal is to play for them in South Dakota next season.
He said two aspects of his game he intends to focus on are his ice awareness and quickness.
“I want to be able to recognize where the other players are on the ice at all times so I’ll always be in position and won’t be caught by surprise,” Langford said.
“Being a bigger goalie, I’m not as quick as goalies who are smaller,” he added.
Langford’s participation at UMaine is contingent upon his being accepted into the school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.
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