Thursday, September 12, 2013

Conway, Son of British Legend, Joins 2014 Class

Scott Conway with the NAHL's Texas Tornado last season

Numerous sources have reported that Indiana Ice (USHL) forward Scott Conway has committed to Penn State for the fall of 2014.

Scott Conway

Indiana Ice (USHL)
5'11", 172 pounds
Guildford, Great Britain
DOB 1/9/1995

Belle Tire U16
Victory Honda U18
Victory Honda U18
Texas Tornado
Indiana Ice

Conway has one of the more interesting backstories of any Penn State recruit so far. His father, Kevin Conway, is a native of Sault Ste. Marie, ON who, after a major junior career with the hometown Greyhounds and a couple of seasons in the old International Hockey League, went overseas to play in England in the mid-1980s.

Over the next two decades, the elder Conway established himself as a legend of British hockey. In 1985-1986, he set the BHL Premier League goal scoring record (129... in 35 games) with the Ayr Bruins and later won second-division player of the year honors in 1987-1988 after a 148-goal, 252-point season ( 29 games) with the Telford Tigers. He's best associated, however, with the Basingstoke Bison - formerly named the Beavers as well - where he played from 1991 until 1998. In that time, Conway helped the club gain premier league and superleague promotion while finishing as the Bisons' all-time leading scorer with 950 points. The team retired his number 10 in 2005 (since PSU-British hockey connections aren't exactly common, the fact that Icers alumnus Curtiss Patrick played for Basingstoke in 2008-2009 is probably worth a quick mention here).

Kevin Conway's shirt is sacred in Basingstoke, England

Conway made 58 appearances for the Great Britain national squad, including five years at the IIHF World Championships. He pushed Team GB to promotions in consecutive years (1992 and 1993), eventually playing in the top division of the tournament in 1994. In 2005, Conway was voted to the British ice hockey hall of fame.

Thanks to ties between Kevin Conway and Fred Perlini, a 1980 Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick who also wound up doing pretty well for himself over in England, Perlini's son Brett is a cousin of Scott Conway. Brett Perlini enjoyed a standout career at Michigan State that concluded in 2012 and was a 2010 NHL Entry Draft selection of the Anaheim Ducks.

Moving over to Scott, the 1995 birth year spent his formative years in England while Kevin was still playing (Scott holds dual citizenship in that country and Canada). Father actually coached son on youth teams before Scott came back across the pond to advance his career in 2009. He did so with a couple of pretty good organizations in the Detroit area - Belle Tire and Victory Honda.

With the latter in the Tier 1 Elite league in 2011-2012, Conway was tied for 24th in the circuit with 38 points in 40 games. His stat line was almost identical to fellow commit Chase Berger, who was 19-19-38 that year (Berger is two months older than Conway, making it pretty much apples to apples).

He was chosen in the 2012 NAHL draft by the Texas Tornados and moved on to play there last season. The left-handed shot was fourth on the team in scoring and second in assists as Texas went 36-22-2 in the regular season, then contributed four goals and an assist in six playoff games as the team advanced to the second round before losing to eventual Robertson Cup champion Amarillo.

Conway was the NAHL South Division's player of the week twice, once in November 2012 when he scored two goals and eight points with a +7 rating in four games. The other honor came in January, thanks to a six-point weekend and a +5. He was named to the league's all-rookie second team at the conclusion of the year.

Said Tornado head coach Tony Curtale last season:
"Scott is one of many young players we have on the roster who have really developed nicely in a short period of time and will be a good future NCAA Division I player. For being only 17-years-old, he sees the ice very well and has the ability to make great passes and find the open man."
And also...
"Scott has really worked hard to get where he is right now and is very creative with the puck. However, as good as he has been offensively, it is because he pays attention to both ends of the ice and he is a very good, all-around two-way player."
Vision? Hard worker? Two way player? Where have we seen that before in one of these posts? I mean, besides all of them.

The USHL's Indiana franchise was impressed enough to pick him seventh overall in the 2013 USHL Entry Draft, and he'll play this season with the Ice before heading to Penn State.

While some - like Jeff Cox, he of the two-second inflexible opinion - have already pegged Conway as a second or third liner at PSU, I think it's particularly important to take a wait-and-see approach with this one. Coming from England, he had a pretty obvious developmental disadvantage early on, but he's grown pretty significantly each season in North America and may have a higher ceiling than can be established solely from his leagues, teams and stats. Even if he doesn't, Guy Gadowsky has added an outstanding every-game player who will contribute both scoring punch and defense to the forward unit.

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