Ever since Treadwell Arena opened its doors more than five years ago, senior hockey player Chris Budbill has been playing there.
Though Budbill, born and raised in Juneau, officially started playing hockey at Treadwell, his skating days started as a kid at Melvin Park when he would go out during the winter with his uncle. But since the arena opened, it's been all about hockey, his favorite sport.
"It's physical and you are always moving - you can't just stand around and wait," he said regarding why hockey is his favorite sport. "You're constantly moving and there's always a play to be made. It's just a lot of fun."
Budbill said the opening of Treadwell Arena was great for local ice-sport enthusiasts who didn't want to wait for the lakes to freeze, especially for him as a hockey player. He also said it has been a major part of the progression of Juneau-Douglas hockey as it has given the team a place to play and build a program that can compete with teams from Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Though the team lost in the playoffs to West Valley, Budbill recalled many great memories from his career - too many to name just one.
"Oh man, there are so many good moments," he said. "I would say it was my first goal but I didn't even know I scored when I did it.
"We won the End of the Road Shootout last year and people were saying, 'Yeah, yeah we won - we get a trophy,' and I was like, 'Yeah, we get Taco Bell.' Our coach said if we lose we don't get Taco Bell, so that's a lot of incentive right there."
Budbill said this season had great memories in itself. He scored more goals this season than he had in any other season, including several goals off face-offs against good teams - something he was proud of.
"Me and (Nick) Mow did the same play on three different teams - Bartlett, North Pole and West Valley," he said. "It was in their zone, and Mow would take the draw and I would be on the left side in the slot. He'd win the draw right to me and I'd just snap it in before anyone could evenreact.
"That was a pretty goodmoment, especially because we got to repeat it a couple of times against really good teams."
Following graduation, Budbill intends to spend his first year of college at University of Alaska-Southeast to get his basic education. After that, he plans on attending the University of Alaska-Fairbanks or possibly any school that can provide hands-on experience in engineering and construction - two things he is very interested in. Right now, Budbill is assisting in the JDHS House Building Project and said that has been his favorite school-related activity this year.
Do you watch hockey on TV?: "When I can, I do. It's the most exciting sport to watch because there's not a lot of stopping and going; it's always going. You never know what's going to happen."
Favorite professional hockey team: "It used to be the Avalanche, but I don't really have a favorite team. If I see a game on I'll go with one or the other, but if the Red Wings are on they should just not win - ever."
As a departing senior on the hockey team, what do you tell the young players who will be filling your skates, so to speak?: "First off, I tell them it's impossible to fill my skates because they're retiring my number. Basically, I tell them to keep their head up because if you don't the harder teams are going to see that and destroy you. So just keep your head up and don't piss off the coach."
Though it is unlikely Budbill's number will be retired - a statement he would jokingly protest - he has made his mark on coach Dave McKenna and the hockey program at JDHS.
McKenna on Chris Budbill: "Chris was perhaps our most skilled player. He's got a great combination of strength and skill that has allowed him to play both offense and defense for us at times. He'll make big hits that are momentum changers, and when he set his mind to it he could outskate just about anyone we played against."
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