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Houser's Career Could Come Full Circle

Monday, 06.18.2012 / 12:31 AM ET / Features
By Sam Kasan
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Houser\'s Career Could Come Full Circle

Wexford native Michael Houser learned to play hockey on ice rinks in the Pittsburgh area as a youth.

Now as a young adult, he could take the next step in his hockey career with Pittsburgh providing the backdrop.

Wexford native Michael Houser was named CHL Goaltender of the Year, as well as OHL Most Outstanding Player and Goaltender of the Year. (Terry Wilson/CHL Images)

Houser is eligible to be selected at the 2012 NHL Draft, which takes place at Pittsburgh’s CONSOL Energy Center this Friday and Saturday, and would love to see his career come full circle.

“If it happens it would be a dream come true, especially happening in Pittsburgh,” Houser said. “It would be the coolest thing ever. I’m trying not to think too much about it. I’m waiting to see how it plays out.”

Houser’s draft stock has risen dramatically following a remarkable 2011-12 campaign with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. He is even ranked by TSN as the 53rd best overall prospect in this year’s draft class.

Houser, 19, was named Canadian Hockey League Goaltender of the Year, as well as OHL Most Outstanding Player and Goaltender of the Year, after posting a 46-15-0-1 record, 2.47 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and six shutouts with the London. Houser’s 46 wins tied a league record and earned him OHL First-Team All-Star honors.

Houser led London to the OHL championship title and a berth in the Memorial Cup. The Knights played in the Memorial Cup Championship Final against Shawinigan, but fell in overtime, 2-1, in heartbreaking fashion.

But despite the disappointing ending, Houser, who was named a Memorial Cup All-Star, still has a lot to be proud of from the year.

“The team success and winning all those games, it was amazing to do that,” Houser said. “It hasn’t sunk in quite yet how good our season was.”

Houser first started skating at the age of 5 and chose to be a goalie because of foot issues. Houser was born with bilateral clubfeet, a condition that required 16 surgeries to correct with 15 of those coming between the ages of 3 months and 3 years.

Houser not only overcame his condition, but has grown into the best goaltender in all of Canadian junior hockey. Not too bad for a Pittsburgh kid.

Houser will be with his family in Pittsburgh this weekend for the draft. And though it would be extremely special for him to be drafted in his hometown, Houser is just taking things as they come.

“I don’t want get too ahead of myself,” he said. “I’m going in not expecting too much. If it happens, then that’s great. We’ll see what happens.”

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