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Nick Erker poses for a portrait in Bird Arena.

Hockey: After a successful Green and White game, Nick Erker is eager for this season

Nick Erker made his pseudo-debut for the Bobcats during the Green and White scrimmage. He outpaced even the veteran players on the team by being the only Bobcat with two goals during the night.

Erker was born and raised in Avon Lake and attended St. Edward's High School in Lakewood. He never decided to play for St. Edward’s despite being involved in hockey since he was 2 years old. Erker preferred to stick with junior leagues in the area. In his two seasons playing for the Cleveland Lumberjacks, the forward scored 22 goals and 14 assists in 40 games.

Much of his heart lives in Pittsburgh despite his love for Cleveland. His favorite NHL team is the Penguins, and he knows for a fact that Sidney Crosby is the greatest player in the game. 

Between 2017 and 2019, Erker played for the Pittsburgh Vengeance in the United States Premier Hockey League. In his two seasons, he scored 24 goals and 30 assists in 86 games. Erker considers the Vengeance as where he spent his most productive years.

“Honestly most of what I apply in my game today comes from Pittsburgh,” Erker said. “Coach Dorsey taught me to not see the game as so black and white.”

Erker loved playing for the Vengeance and seeing his skills improve only fueled that love. He considered sticking around Pittsburgh to play college hockey at Chatham, an opponent on the Bobcats schedule this season. He scrapped that plan and decided to stay in-state to keep tuition low. Soon after, coach Cole Bell extended an offer to come to Ohio, and Erker took him up. 

The culture at Ohio suits Erker well. The upperclassmen are good mentors for him, and the underclassmen are all good competition. Teammates, like Zach Frank and Tyler Harkins, look out for him and correct his form when he messes up. Erker wants to stand out as a great player but also wants his fellow freshmen to keep him on his toes. He needs to compete to earn his spot in the lineup.

Bell’s methods also resonate well with the new recruit. Erker likes how streamlined play is under the first-year Ohio coach. Erker is eager to shake the rust off from the offseason, and Coach Bell has matched that energy while still keeping the players disciplined. Erker believes that extra discipline is necessary for success this year.

“I think we all have to do what coach Bell tells us to do, and that's to simplify the game,” Erker said. “Keep it as straightforward as possible—pucks to the net and get yourself in there.”

Erker intends to major in business. He isn’t sure what he wants to do with it yet, and he wants to keep his options open for the time being. His dad is a consultant, so he figures there could always be a job in the field that interests him. He joked that most of his free time is spent studying.

Erker thinks his skating needs a lot of work this season. He tore his hamstring last season and was off the ice for two-and-a-half months in order to rehabilitate. That time off the ice frustrated Erker because he wasn’t able to skate at all and fell behind his peers. 

That time off the ice also cut his personal best season short with the Vengeance. He totaled 28 points before his injury and was still going strong up to that point.

The Cleveland native is back on the ice and as confident as can be. Hitting the back of the net twice in his first appearance for the Bobcats was a boost after being away for so long. Erker is more focused on the season ahead though. His mindset for victory is simple.

“I just have to battle and stay disciplined,” Erker said. “I want to know my structure better than my opponent does.”

If Erker can perform on the ice as well as he did on Saturday, he can make up for the time he lost in the summer.


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