In the space of 12 months, Trevor Halverson has progressed from an AHL rookie who was unsure of himself to a Skipjacks leader.
A native of Ontario and then barely 20 years old, Halverson came to the Skipjacks last season out of junior hockey in Canada and was shocked that he had so much to learn.
"It's an adjustment," Halverson said as he prepared for the game against the Rochester Americans tomorrow night at the Baltimore Arena. "I was on my own, paying my own bills, with no one to cook for me.
"The size and strength of the players is greater. You like to think it's not a big step, but it is. You don't get garbage goals like you do in junior hockey. You've got to work for everything, be consistent and never take a night off."
Returning last fall for a second season with the Skipjacks after scoring only 21 points in 74 games as a rookie, Halverson soon began to struggle again.
"After a decent start, he tailed off," coach Barry Trotz said. "We took him out of the lineup a few times. He began to lack confidence."
The cure for Skipjacks in that state of mind is a term with the Hampton Roads Admirals of the East Coast Hockey League, a rung below the AHL on the minor-league ladder.
"He went there with the right attitude, not mad but determined to make the most of it," Trotz said.
"It was the best move," Halverson said. "I wasn't getting the stats here and I needed to get confident with the puck again."
Confidence comes with eight goals and five assists in nine games. Back to Baltimore he came.
In his first seven games, Halverson scored six goals. Although he hasn't maintained that pace, he and Trotz are convinced the Hampton Roads treatment worked.
On the Skipjacks, Halverson is known as "Chief," and Trotz thought it would be fitting to give him some responsibility to go with the name. He made him an alternate captain.
"About five years ago, when I was in junior hockey, Dad came to a game," Halverson said. "The guys, seeing how much Indian he looked -- he's half blood -- started calling me Chief.
"I thought I got rid of the name when I came here last year, but John Purves, who was with me in junior hockey, was with the Skipjacks and brought it up again."
NOTES: John Byce, who has missed nine games with a dislocated shoulder, is scheduled to play tomorrow night. . . . Mark Hunter, who has missed six weeks with a fractured thumb, is skating again but can't shoot yet because of the pain. He probably will be out another few weeks.