Minnesota Hockey Magazine

On the Fly: David Backes

rich_gagnon Photo courtesy of Boston Bruins / Rich Gagnon

MHM asks five questions with a prominent hockey figure

The term throwback is an easily overused adjective applied to professional athletes. But in the case of David Backes it fits like a well-worn pair of hockey gloves.

In an era marked by the pursuit of personal glory at other high schools and/or the junior level by Minnesota’s best prep players, Backes is part of a dying breed.

The power forward with the scorer’s touch and the banger’s crush turned his back on offers to leave his Spring Lake Park friends and teammates and completed his illustrious Panther career with a Mr. Hockey nomination in 2002

MHM: A recent pair of Duluth News Tribune point/counterpoint columns stirred up the age-old debate over the perceived benefit to Minnesota high school kids departing early for junior hockey. As someone who is seen by many as the poster child for the if-you-are-good-they-will-find-you argument, where do you stand on the subject and describe the process you went through in determining your own path at that age?

Backes: There’s certainly benefits to playing a little more hockey in junior but I think your junior and senior year in high school are critical years for development as an athlete but certainly as a person. If you’re away with a different family or forced to grow up too fast, you miss those years. I think that I think that can be detrimental down the road.

The likelihood of a player even if they’re good enough to leave a little early to play junior, of making a pro career and never having to have a real job is very, very slim. For me, that was my mindset is that I’m gonna have these great memories of playing with the friends that I grew up with in high school, I’m gonna train my but off and if it’s meant to be it’s gonna be.

To read more of this interview, and many other great stories like it, click HERE to view the January, 2017 issue of our digital magazine and subscribe to have future issues delivered directly to your email inbox.