Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
In 2013, Capt. Micah Robbins, current commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Joint Regional Correctional Facility, thought he had played his last hockey game. Now, seven years later, he has reclaimed his passion for the sport and is serving as a goalie for the All-Army Hockey Team.
Robbins said he started playing hockey when he was 3 years old living in Michigan.
“I grew up playing hockey every day,” Robbins said. “It is so cold up there.”
When he was 14, he left home to play hockey all across the country. During that time, he said he transferred 13 times and attended seven different high schools.
“I moved all over the country to play hockey,” Robbins said. “I’ve been to more than 40 states to play and then Sweden when I was 19.”
From there, Robbins said he played college hockey at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. After graduating from college, he played professional hockey for three years. By 2013, he was practice goalie for the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves, and also practiced with the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks.
It was 2014 when he said he chose to stop playing after commissioning into the Army.
“Not many people have the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, this is my last time, so let’s enjoy it,’” Robbins said. “I didn’t know that the last time I got off the ice would be the last time I ever played, so there were some skeletons in the closet and some definite reasons why I wanted to get back out there.
“I’ve kind of put everything on the line to make sure that I make the (All-Army) team,” he said.
Robbins applied for the team in September 2019 through the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation website, and immediately returned to the ice to prepare. In December he received word that he was one of 30 applicants chosen to attend a camp at Fort Drum, N.Y., which would determine the final roster of 20. Tryouts were Dec. 27, 2019, through Jan. 1.
For the final scrimmage to make the team, the team faced off against the Watertown Wolves on Dec. 31 at Watertown Municipal Arena in Watertown, N.Y.
“(The Watertown Wolves) are a professional hockey team. I played in that league, so it is kind of crazy to be back, dressed up, playing that league in this capacity,” Robbins said. “We beat them so it was a good caliber of hockey.”
Robbins said he found out that he made the final roster midday Jan. 1.
“I’m not surprised because I know I have it in me, but I am surprised because it has been so long. I’m almost 34 while the rest are 25, so I’ve got 10 years on most of them,” he said. “Your body moves a little different at this type of sport.”
Robbins said he not only enjoys playing hockey, but he enjoys his position as goalie.
“As a goalie, I’m able to basically be the quarterback of the team and then control the play in front of me,” Robbins said. “It is also one of those positions that all the responsibility falls on me. Whether things go good or bad, it all falls on the goal defender, so I think the position’s responsibility has always been something that I like to have control over.”
With the team roster finalized, the team traveled to Latvia to participate in the 7th Open Baltic Military Winter Games Jan. 6-10. Because the team will compete against international teams, they will participate as Team USA.
“The representation is red, white and blue,” Robbins said. “It is different when you’re playing for what is on the front (of the uniform) rather than the name on the back. I’ve always wanted to play for a gold medal and this is the opportunity to win it.”
Robbins said that going through the process of trying out for the team after not playing for several years has taught him to leave everything out on the table every time he plays.
“I highly recommend that if there are any challenges or obstacles that soldiers or people want to pursue, it doesn’t matter how far away it might seem or how unrealistic it might seem or how long it has been. It can definitely be done no matter what,” Robbins said. “I definitely don’t have the time to prepare for this but I found the time, I made the time, I made the team and that is pretty important. Wearing 60 pounds of equipment and getting out there at this level of play after eight years is something.”
According to All-Army Sports Facebook posts, so far the All-Army team has beaten Latvia 10-1 and Sweden 4-0.