Patrick Choi's Hockey Career Spans from South Korea to Minot
Patrick Choi joins the Tauros after a trade with the Maryland Black Bears, but his hockey career began back home in South Korea, a country more known for its speed skating.
"It's just repetition, same thing over and over," Choi said. "My elementary school happened to have a hockey team, and my mom first suggested it with a couple of my best friends... I was like 'oh, that looks pretty cool.'"
Choi left for London, Ontario to join the Junior Knights when he was 11. He lived with a Korean billet family, but there were still some tough adjustments.
"The hardest part was definitely the language. I just didn't know what to expect. I couldn't really talk to my teammates [or] coaches, so that was definitely the hardest part," Choi said.
His career in North America has featured stops in Canada, Anaheim, Syracuse, Boston and Omaha before Maryland and Minot this season. He's brought a tough style everywhere he's been.
"I'm just trying to play hard every shift. I'm just trying to bang bodies for the boys. [With] our team, we have a lot of skill guys, but we're starting to lack physical guys... I can step up and fill that role," Choi said.
"Patrick's brought a lot of good qualities to the team," said captain Fritz Belisle. "He works really hard, moves his feet and has a good shot. He helps out on the forecheck, banging some bodies and he's a good player for us."
Choi hopes to represent his country on the national team by continuing a strong campaign in the NAHL, a league he calls the best route to move on to the NCAA level as well.
"If I play well in North America, they [will] find me. That's always been in my head ever since I was young, even though I grew up in North America. [Just] like everyone else on my team in Minot, my dream is to play college hockey," Choi said.
No matter where his hockey life leads, Choi has enjoyed his time in Minot, a place he calls a true junior hockey community. He joins a Tauros team that now features five international players, including Canada's Joe Harguindeguy and Levi Kleiboer along with Sweden's Didrik Henbrant and Wilmer Skoog.