With the 2019-20 NAHL Season coming to an abrupt and unexpected end, the Austin Bruins are taking this time to thank the players whose junior careers wrapped up this season. TJ Chillot takes you through each of the 1999-born players who finished the season on the Austin roster and what they brought to the Bruins both on the ice and off. In addition, TJ looks ahead to see what’s on the horizon for these incredibly talented hockey players. #OnceABruinAlwaysABruin
Thank you, Hugh Larkin!
After a season in the BCHL with the Cowichan Valley Capitals, Larkin left Canada to play in the NAHL for the Bruins. During his first season in Austin where the Michigan native ranked third on the team in total points with 38, you just knew that Larkin was going to be a big piece to the puzzle in 2019-20.
And a big piece, he was. Not only did Larkin best his point total from a year before in nine less games, but he was a leader for the Bruins offensively. Finishing the year with 21 total goals, nobody had put the puck in the net more than Hugh Larkin. In fact, he was the only Bruin to have back-to-back 20 goal seasons over the last two years.
Larkin was a player that Head Coach Steve Howard used in every situation. His big frame was used masterfully to cut to the front of the net and garner quality chances, but he was deceptively fast for a player sizing in at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. It might be recency bias, but one game in particular jumps out in mind as a perfect example of I just how speedy and offensively talented Larkin is. Friday, February 28, 2020 at Riverside Arena, Larkin took a stretch pass at the blue-line and sped past the Bobcat defenders to bury the game-winner.
We saw PLENTY of goals scored just like that from Hugh over the two years he wore black-and-gold. All in all, Larkin suited up in 102 games for the Bruins over two seasons, netted 41 goals and added 43 assists for a total of 84 points. His lead by example talents could not be overlooked, he was the type of guy the younger players could look up to.
One thing I’ll always remember about Hugh Larkin is how much he smiled. His jovial personality was infectious, and he could always be found laughing in the locker room or around the arena. At the same time, he knew what it took to compete in the NAHL and did so at an extremely high level for two consecutive games.
Near the end of 2019 calendar year, Larkin announced his commitment to Western Michigan University, a top-tier Division-I program that’s seen its fair share of Bruins roll through including guys like Austin Rueschoff and Dawson DiPietro. In fact, both Rueschoff and DiPietro have signed NHL entry-level contracts this off season and will begin their professional careers in 2020-21. Hugh will look to do the same in a handful of years. So while he gets accustomed to the NCAA way of life next year, it won’t be long before a couple of familiar faces will join the forward at Western Michigan. Larkin will be joined by his current Bruins teammates Carson Riddle and Barrett Brooks as members of the Bronco forward group in 2021-22.
The sky is the limit for the big bodied, rugged, and offensively talented Hugh Larkin. So while we keep an eye on his collegiate career at WMU next season, you keep an eye on our Alumni Report to see how the Livonia, MI, native is faring.
To hear more from Hugh Larkin about his two years in Austin, growing up in Michigan, and so much more, check out The Austin Bruins Show episode from earlier this season where he and I sat down to discuss those very topics.
102 Games Played, 41 Goals, 43 Assists, +29, 161 PIM