Central Cambria High School product Cory Myers is giving himself a fighting chance to advance in his career goal of playing professional hockey.
The 5-foot-8, 155-pound Myers is hoping that his physical style of play and fighting ability catches the eyes of professional scouts. He is currently a forward with the Junior A level Three Rivers Vengeance, the former Pittsburgh Penguins' Junior A club.
"I love the physical part of the game,'' Myers, 20, said. "I'm not like the top scorer, but I hit [opponents] a lot, and if the situation comes up, I'll fight. I think it's all about using the body as much as possible for [scouts] to notice me.''
Myers was traded from the Western States Junior A Hockey League Ogden (Utah) Mustangs to the Vengeance earlier this year. A forward who spends most of his playing time at the center position, he hopes to either play college hockey next season or play professional hockey in the Federal Hockey League [FHL], which is one step below his career goal - the East Coast Hockey League [ECHL].
"Next year, I'm trying to play college hockey at the Division III level,'' Myers said. "But hopefully, I'll get scouted by somebody. The Federal Hockey League is like the Class A level in baseball, while the ECHL is like the Class AA level. Next year, I'm either going to college, or I'm going to try out for the FHL.''
As a member of the Ogden Mustangs for three games this year, Myers was involved in three fights and said he won two of them.
Last year, he was playing Junior A hockey in Michigan with the Flint Generals before a torn labrum in his shoulder shut down his season. Myers is still playing with the injury this season, and may undergo surgery after this season.
"That happened 12 games into the season,'' Myers said of the injury. "I got hurt, and came home. Then I started talking to the Junior A coach at Ogden, Utah, and I went out there for a tryout this summer and made the team.''
Although he enjoyed living with host families and playing hockey in Michigan and Utah, Myers - a 2010 graduate of Central Cambria who played five years of hockey with the Red Devils' program - appreciates the opportunity to return to western Pennsylvania.
Myers said his mother, Carol, and older brother, Scott, have been strong supports for him throughout his hockey career, as has a family friend, Mark Wohlers of Duncansville. Now that Myers is playing for the Three Rivers team, his family and friends will get to see his games more often.
Myers' former coach at Central Cambria, Ken Gibson, could also be in the audience at the Three Rivers team's games in Harmarville. Gibson appreciated Myers' grit and heart during his high school hockey days.
"In his senior year, he was the captain of our team,'' Gibson said. "He's very coachable, and he's all-heart, no-quit. He does whatever it takes. He has a passion and commitment for the game that have driven him to the point where he is now.''
Myers is hoping that passion for the game will enable him to take the next step.
"Hopefully, next year, I can move up to the Federal Hockey League,'' he said. "[Making it to] the ECHL is going to be very tough, but my main goal is still to get there.''