Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Someone has to be the youngest guy on the team, and this year for the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) men's hockey team, that honor belongs to freshman defenseman Willie Raskob.
"For a kid that was born in 1995, that's a little scary to me," teammate Derik Johnson said. "I was born in 1990."
What's even scarier is that Raskob is partnered on the blue line Derik Johnson, a 23-year-old junior. Midway through the season, Raskob has laid those fears to rest.
"He's got great poise with the puck, and he comes every day ready to work," Johnson said. "He asks great questions and tries to get better every day."
"I'm learning all the time," Raskob said. "All of the older guys have been helping me a lot with little things along the way to help my game. It's been a lot of fun."
While it's been a lot of fun for Raskob, he also admits there have been some hurdles along the way.
"First day of practice, going against a guy like [Tony] Cameranesi," he said, laughing. "He just blew by me, and I was wondering what I was getting myself into. After a few weeks of practice, it got a lot better. I've been able to adjust."
Raskob is the third Bulldog player to make the adjustment from Shattuck-St. Mary's, with one of the others being current senior captain Joe Basaraba.
Based on his first half of his first season, though, head coach Scott Sandelin is excited to see how he develops.
"He's a smart player and has a lot of poise," Sandelin said. "Hopefully he continues to get better here. We look where he could be in a couple of years when he's get a little stronger. He's going to be certainly very good for us."
In the meantime, Raskob has to endure this season as the team's "pup." All the while, though, he is earning the respect of his elders.
"I mean, we give him a hard time here and there because he didn't get to go through the junior hockey stuff," Johnson said. "We love him. He's one of our brothers. We respect what he's able to do out there for us as such a young player."