Keller hockey standout getting star experience with the Dallas Stars

Posted Monday, Jul. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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When Thomas Aldworth was around the age of eight, StarsCenter Valley Ranch became his home away from home.

The young Aldworth would wonder across the street from his home to learn how to skate or watch the Stars practice with wide-eyed wonder, back when Valley Ranch was the organization’s practice home.

Aldworth eventually moved to Plano and then to Keller, but kept that love for hockey in his heart and mind, developing into one of the best young hockey talents in the Metroplex.

Over the last two weeks, July 4-10, Aldworth made the ultimate role-reversal, going from the eager young hockey fan that watched Stars practices from outside the glass, to developing prospect on the ice during the Stars Development Camp.

The 18-year-old forward skated amongst the Stars’ top draft picks from the last several years, undrafted free agents looking to land a pro contract and a few other local skaters invited to participate to improve their game by learning from pro coaches.

The experience was a dream come true for Aldworth, who idolized the Stars since those days of his youth in Valley Ranch.

“Throwing the Stars jersey over my shoulders and going out there like I was a Dallas Star – it was a really good feeling,” Aldworth said.

Aldworth proved to be one of the fastest skaters during the camp, flying back and forth on the ice during a scrimmage on Monday. His reward came early in the practice exhibition, taking a break-away shot off the crossbar and into the net during a four-on-four simulation.

It’s been a long time coming for Aldworth to truly receive the respect his talent deserved in his hometown.

He spent the first two years of high school at Keller Timber Creek, watching friends play UIL-sanctioned sports for their school in front of hundreds of parents, peers and fans. Aldworth, on the other hand, tore up the ice on local AAA club teams, unaffiliated with his school, in front of very few classmates, if any at all.

Though it was a slow process, he converted a few of his friends to hockey through his play and NHL games on TV.

“I think I made some believers out of some people and got them to start watching hockey,” Aldworth said. “People came back to me and said they watched a game last night and it was crazy and that they liked hockey.”

That quickly changed when Aldworth packed up and moved north to Cushing Academy in Massachusetts to play for the prep school in much more of a hockey state. There, his teammates were confused why he wasn’t a football player, coming from the Lone Star State.

He quickly won over their respect with his play and leadership, serving as the team’s captain during his senior season last year. He scored 10 goals in his final campaign for the Penguins as a part of 27 total points in his 31-game season.

“No one knew what to expect from me, coming from Texas,” he said. “No one knew if I was good or not, but turned out I was pretty good. It was weird at first for all of them, but they got used to it and they realized hockey isn’t bad in Texas either.”

And that’s exactly why Aldworth picked up an invitation for the Stars’ Development Camp. The organization has always been proactive in building the sport around the Metroplex, as demonstrated in the numerous StarsCenters around DFW, and Aldworth is a testament to their work, Development Camp coordinator Brent Severyn said.

“To have the local guys out is great,” Severyn said. “There are so many good kids playing now and doing good things with hockey, so it’s nice to see them out there. This is a way for them to get involved with the Stars and see what it’s like to be a pro for a couple of days.”

Aldworth said he learned just how much dedication and hard work goes into being a professional hockey player and will use that lesson as he continues his career in the USHL for the Tri-City Storm for a season before joining the Providence College hockey team in the fall of 2014. Aldworth was selected 215th overall by the Storm in the USHL Entry Draft.

Much of Aldworth’s success comes from his natural talent, noticed by Severyn and many of the players participating in the camp, but none of it would have ever been tapped into had it not been for the Dallas Stars organization, Aldworth said.

“They gave me the love for hockey,” Aldworth said. “If they weren’t here I would have never even picked up a stick. I would have never even been a hockey player.”

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