ECHL: An Interview With Adirondack Thunder Forward Erik Middendorf

Erik Middendorf was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, a place that doesn’t exactly scream hockey unless you think about the Arizona Coyotes and all the issues they’ve had in the state in recent years. Being from the West Coast, it was an East Coast connection that got the 23-year-old forward into hockey, “My dad’s side of the family is from New Jersey, so they always played hockey, him and his brothers were into it so me and my cousins wanted to play too” said Middendorf. As a kid, Middendorf spent three seasons playing for the Phoenix Coyotes, 13U, 14U, and 16U teams, before spending a year in the US Development Team at the Junior Level, U17 level, and U18 level over the course of a single season, however, it was after the Development program where his unusual journey to the ECHL began.

Middendorf spent a little over a year at Colorado College, where he put up 13 points in 48 games before he headed to the USHL to join the Chicago Steel, where he spent two seasons where he had 44 goals and 48 assists for 92 points in 85 games and in 2021 would be a part of the Steel team that won the Clarkson Cup. The Clarkson Cup Champion would head back to the NCAA, where he spent two seasons at Michigan State, where he put up 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points in 73 games with the Spartans before joining the Thunder after his collegiate career, but despite the unusual route, Middendorf has enjoyed every second of it,”It’s been a blast, I wouldn’t change a thing, I’ve played in a lot of great places and played with a lot of great people, so I wouldn’t change anywhere that I’ve been, I had a lot of fun in Chicago where I won a championship and to be able to finish my college career at such a historic program was unbelievable, Ya wouldn’t change a thing.”

The 6’1 winger has impressed since coming to Adirondack, scoring his first ECHL game where he finished with a goal and two assists in 11 games last season, including seeing action in one Kelly Cup Playoff game. This season Middendorf has gotten off to a hot start, he has picked up six goals and two assists for eight points in eight games, including points in four of his last five games. Middendorf leads all rookies in shooting percentage at 31.6%, and half of his goals have come on the man-advantage, which is second among rookies in the league. He also earned himself a call-up to the Utica Comets after signing an AHL deal with them in the off-season, “Ya, It’s a lot of fun, you play to go on to the next level, and it’s a good experience and exciting be up there, and I’m happy to be back here and get some wins this weekend” said Middendorf about getting the call to Utica. Middendorf is one of many players expected to have a breakout season this year in Adirondack.

Armand Klisivitch

Inside The Rink ECHL Manager | Senior Editor Credentialed Reporter for the Adirondack Thunder & Worcester Railers.

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