Cam Spicer has had a lot of adversity to overcome in his hockey career.
When the University of Maine redshirt sophomore was sidelined by a concussion last season, his second in as many years, it marked the 10th consecutive year the defenseman had missed games due to injury.
A lot of players would have hung up their skates. Not Spicer.
“There have been some tough times,” Spicer said. “But this shows my love for the game. I just stuck with it.”
He said he has a lot of people to thank for supporting him along the way.
“On my worst day here, I’m still doing what I love,” Spicer said.
Spicer was a redshirt two years ago when he suffered an ankle injury and a concussion.
Last season, his second concussion and competing for playing time with a veteran defense corps limited him to four games.
With five of last year’s regular defenseman having graduated or signed pro contracts, Spicer had a golden opportunity to crack the lineup this season.
He responded with three solid performances and has posted an assist and four shots on goal with a plus-1 rating in UMaine’s 2-1 start.
“He has great athletic ability, and his physicality and his speed are really an advantage to him,” UMaine senior captain Mitch Fossier said.
In addition to taking a regular shift with defense partner J.D. Greenway, Spicer also has been one of the Black Bears’ top penalty-killers.
“He is a major league skater and because he can skate, he’s always in good position,” UMaine coach Red Gendron said.
“His primary role is to be a good defender for our team. It hasn’t been easy for him, but he has stuck with it and is being rewarded,” Gendron said.
Spicer has learned to deal with his injuries by staying focused, working with a sports psychologist and adhering to the process.
“[I try] to lead by example for our young guys who are trying to learn how we do things,” he said, “and also being physical and showing other teams we’re going to be hard to play against.”
Spicer, a native of Erie, Colorado, said he takes a lot of pride in his physical conditioning, which has been vital to his recent success.
“He’s a freak of nature,” senior Ryan Smith said. “He never gets tired. He’s always working.”
During the summer, Spicer trains with friend Jason Oswald, the strength and conditioning director for the Rocky Mountain AAA Hockey program.
“By doing things in an efficient way the best I can, the more success I have,” Spicer said.
Even though UMaine has a youthful defense corps, with four freshmen and three sophomores, Spicer said he is excited about the potential of the group.
Spicer verbally committed to attend UMaine nearly seven years ago but injuries delayed his arrival at UMaine until 2017. His recruiting visit to UMaine sold him on it.
“It felt like home. I knew this would be the perfect place to focus on school and hockey. There aren’t a lot of distractions. There are a lot of nice, humble people here who care about the community,” Spicer said.
Spicer said he is going to try to remain in the moment and enjoy being able to play hockey.
“It has been a battle to continue to play it, but I’m going to keep a good attitude,” Spicer said. “I’m going to control what I can control. Beyond that, everything is out of my hands.”