I had the opportunity to interview goaltender Hunter Leisner to talk about his success with the Texas Tornado and how hockey has made a huge impact in the state of Texas.
Texas and the sport of hockey have grown since the Dallas Stars of the NHL, came to Texas in 1993 after they moved from Minnesota. Texas has been known as a football town but with the help of the likes from Mike Modano, who hails from Michigan, people started liking hockey. Now Texas has many hockey rinks and leagues around especially the Texas Tornado of the NAHL (North American Hockey League) who has two players who are from Texas: one of them is being goaltender Hunter Leisner, who is from Garland, Texas. This is Hunter’s second year with the Texas Tornado after a trade last season that sent him from Aberdeen, South Dakota to Frisco, Texas.
“I was really excited to come back and hopefully we can repeat for next year,” Leisner said about being with the Texas Tornado for another year. He went onto talk about the trade last year. “It was a dream come true to play for the hometown Texas Tornado. Yeah the Aberdeen Wings treated me very well up there but it was a great feeling to come back home and play for a top organization.”
Last year was an even more memorable year for Hunter and his teammates as they won the Robertson Cup Championship in front of their hometown fans at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas. To win a championship in the same state that you were born and raised is a great feeling, especially for Leisner. “It was by far the best experience to really win it with a great group of guys and great organization and to be here at home with a team that I had watched growing up, it was a great moment.”
Hunter grew up in Garland, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, Texas and he started playing hockey at the age of 8 after seeing his hometown Dallas Stars win the Stanley Cup in 1999. “I was 8 years old. That was after when the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup is when I wanted to start playing hockey,” Hunter told me about when he started really playing hockey. He said that his hockey inspirations were his parents, Emily and Rick. “A lot was my parents,” Hunter said but then went on saying that his reason to play hockey is Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils. “But my big person I kind of looked at was Martin Brodeur. He was a goaltender of the New Jersey Devils. He is my icon. I read his book and everything.”
He would go on and describe his style of playing being a hybrid goalie. “I would try to say a hybrid goalie. I try to take a lot of different skills, try it out and see what works best for me,” Hunter said about his style of play.
Over the summer, Hunter Leisner was invited to the Dallas Stars Development Camp and that the experience was a great moment for Leisner. “That was really cool to kind of see and be with the Dallas Stars,” Hunter said of the experience. “I grew up watching them so it was cool to be on the ice with them and I learned a lot there.”
Right now Leisner is trying to help his team win another championship and try to get a scholarship but he said if he did make the NHL that it would be an icing on the cake. “Yes. You know right now I am just trying to get some college scholarship,” Hunter said of the dream to make the NHL. “But that would just be the icing on the cake after all this hard work.”
Hockey in the city of Dallas, Texas has grown especially for a goaltender like Leisner. Hopefully this season and year, he can win yet another Championship with his Texas Tornado. Right now, he is playing the sport that loved since he was 8.
Facts about Hunter Leisner:
Born: September 13, 1992 in Garland, Texas
Most Memorable save? I would probably have to say the good glove saves. You have a few here and there.