1-On-1 with Anson Thornton

We caught up with Tucson Roadrunners Goaltender Anson Thornton on this week’s Insider Podcast to talk about his first pro season with the Roadrunners and his experience with the Jamaican National Hockey Team in 2019. Download this week’s podcast below to hear about Thornton’s first ever development camp in Arizona and what he thought of the summer weather stepping off the plane.

Listen to “Catching Up With The Right Hand of Anson” on Spreaker.

How was it being the youngest player on the team for your first season as a pro?

Before going into the season, I had no clue I was the youngest, but it was pretty cool for me being the youngest guy there and just try to soak it in as much as possible from all the other guys. There was still a good mixture of young guys, older guys and veteran presences. Obviously having more younger guys around helped me ease my way into my first season.

You’re a right-handed catching goaltender; which you still don’t see a lot in today’s game. Do you have to play a different style while catching with the right hand?

A little bit I’d say but not too much; I think I have more of an advantage to be honest because most players are so used to shooting on those left-handed goalies. When they see me coming down, they don’t know what to do and it throws them off.

How competitive was it in your first season in the pros where teams only carry two-to-three netminders at a time?

It was very competitive for sure; Wellsy (Dylan Wells) and Matty (Matthew Villalta) are great goalies, so I was just trying to battle as hard as I could every day. Even though I’m younger, I’m still trying to prove that I’m good enough to play on the team and just doing the best I can every day to get better.

What experience can you gain from your first pro win and then getting more playing time in Reading (ECHL) after your injury and returning to Tucson for the playoffs?

The biggest thing was getting used to the pace and playing up here; it was a big jump from Juniors and the injury was a huge setback. Hurting my knee, I was out for a couple of months, but it was good to go down to Reading in the ECHL to get some more games under my belt and eventually come back to the team healthy and ready to play again.

What was it like working with Coyotes Goaltending Development Coach Charlie McTavish along with Matthew Villalta and Dylan Wells in your first season?

Charlie is an amazing goalie coach; he taught me a lot with the big and small things and helped me improve my game the most he can. Matty and Wellsy are pretty established guys in the league as well and just seeing how they take themselves every day and do all the little things; I was just trying to soak it all in and learn as much as I can from them.

Tell us about the goalie-goal you scored in the OHL with Barrie? Is that something you’re always looking to do with the empty-net or was it just the heat of the moment?

It was a little bit of both; I’ve thought about it before but that was the first time I’ve ever tried it. I remember the days leading up to it, I was working with my goalie coach in Barrie and we always worked on puck handling. I was just practicing shooting the puck and it was going in pretty much every time. He told me I might as well try it in the game, so when I had the opportunity, I didn’t really think of it and took the shot and it happened.

Tell us about the experience that you had in 2019 as a member of the Jamaican National Ice Hockey Team with your cousin and winning the Amerigol LATAM Cup in Florida

That was an unreal experience for me and the rest of the players on the team. It was the first moment in Jamaican Ice Hockey history that they played in a big tournament and won. It was really big for the country as they’ve never won anything before in hockey, so it was a huge steppingstone for them to qualify for bigger things. Having my cousin there with me to do that as well was amazing.