Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- After signing a pro deal following his sophomore season at UMD, J.T. Brown played five games this year with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"I'd say the main difference is just the speed of the game," Brown said. "It's a lot faster, and you have a lot less time with the puck and to decide what's next to do."
Brown played primarily on the team's second line and also saw some significant time on the Lightning power play unit.
"It made it a lot easier to play, playing with guys like [Vincent] Lacavalier, [Ryan] Malone, and [Teddy] Purcell," Brown said. "They're guys who have established themselves already, and it just made it easier to come in and play. I didn't have much to worry about, and they're also out there giving you pointers on the ice. I'd say, for me, it made it a lot easier to come in and play."
There were no NHL goals for Brown, but he did score his first-ever professional point, recording an assist in the regular season finale.
"Obviously, I wanted to come in and get one," Brown said. "I had a few chances through the first couple games, but just kept working hard and eventually got one."
Hard work is what Brown came to be known for during his time at UMD.
He had 40 goals and 44 assists during his time with the Bulldogs, and of course helped the team to its first-ever national championship.
Brown's father is legendary Minnesota Vikings running back Ted Brown, who said this past summer that watching the national title game was something special.
"If anybody has kids and sees them succeed at something, they know what I'm talking about," Ted Brown said. "It's just a great honor for me to see him do what he did."
"For me, college was a great time," Brown said. "Last year was not the greatest by our standards. We would have loved to win another national championship, but you can't win it every year. As a group and as a player, just being a part of everything we went through in two years was special."
Brown is now back at UMD finishing up some sophomore year schoolwork before he departs next month to represent the United States in the IIHF Men's World Championships.