Etem Alive

Ducks prospect Emerson Etem is attempting an unlikely journey from Long Beach to the NHL

Wednesday, 07.14.2010 / 1:14 PM PT / Features
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Etem Alive
“The growth in hockey here is mind-blowing,” Etem says of his hometown. “When I started (playing) here, there wasn’t much to see. But now I’m back and I think I fit right in here. This is the most impressive organization I’ve ever been around.”
By Danny Evans
Special to Anaheim Ducks.com


Mention the name “Jeff Spicoli” to Emerson Etem and you’ll see his face light up like Honda Center on game night. 

Despite the fact that Spicoli, the lead character in the 1982 comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High, hit the big screen a decade before Etem (pronounced EE-tem) was born, the Ducks’ 2010 first-round draft pick counts the movie and its hero among his personal favorites. And when you get to know Etem, it’s easy to see why.

In the film, Spicoli plays a legendary California surfer. In real life, Etem plays a Californian who surfs and hopes to become a legend. But that’s where the comparisons stop.

While it’s poetic that Etem has landed in Orange County given that this is the very territory where he learned to surf (he calls Anderson Street in Sunset Beach and 56th Street in Newport Beach his favorite places to shred), he’s returned to dominate water in a different form.

Etem Video
Etem's Favorite Things
“The growth in hockey here is mind-blowing,” Etem says of his hometown. “When I started (playing) here, there wasn’t much to see. But now I’m back and I think I fit right in here. This is the most impressive organization I’ve ever been around.”

The LBC
How many spectacular athletes has Long Beach given us? Legends (Tony Gwynn, Billie Jean King), Olympians (Misty May-Treanor), local heroes (Tim Salmon), and champions (Willie McGinest). And with the emergence of the Philadelphia Eagles’ DeSean Jackson, it appears that a new breed of Long Beach stars is upon us. Is Emerson Etem among them? It sure looks that way.

“It’s been pretty hectic,” Etem said about his week at prospects conditioning camp. "I got the chance to go out to some of the roller rinks and tell my story."
Following Their Strides
Etem left Long Beach four years ago, at the age of 14, to attend Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Minnesota. Why there? It’s simple: Shattuck-St. Mary’s has developed into something of a factory for elite NHL players, counting Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and New Jersey’s Zack Parise among its recent alumni. Last year, during his rookie season with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers (who play just to the southeast of Calgary), Etem led all rookies with 32 goals and was fourth among first-year players with 56 points.

Articulate, respectful, and interminably likable, Etem’s demeanor off the ice seems to sharply contrast his style on it. A right winger with explosive speed and a nose for the net, he possesses one of the most distinctive skating strides we’ve ever seen: flying up the boards, Etem hunches down and leans all the way forward, virtually willing his body to go faster.

“That’s the style of skating I’ve always used,” Etem says. “I keep a low center of gravity and I’ve really grown used to it. It helps me, and I’m definitely going to keep it in my game.”

It’s that promising game that boosted Emerson to as high as eighth on the NHL Central Scouting final ranking of North American Skaters going into the draft. And when he was somehow still available when Anaheim made its second pick of the first round at No. 29, the Ducks brass snatched him up in a hurry (delighting both Etem and the 100 or so supporters sitting with him in the stands at Staples Center). In doing so, the Ducks got what many experts felt was their second steal of the first round, along with defenseman Cam Fowler with the 12th pick.

“That’s the style of skating I’ve always used,” Etem says. “I keep a low center of gravity and I’ve really grown used to it. It helps me, and I’m definitely going to keep it in my game.”
"I didn't know when I was going to go," Etem said. "I just tried to keep an open mind. But there's no better place to play than for the Anaheim organization. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such high-class people and such a high-class organization."

Etem was among the most sought-after Ducks during last week’s prospects summer conditioning camp by both fans and media. He did numerous interviews following the workouts and three scrimmages held during the week and managed to fit in an appearance at the AAU Inline Hockey Junior Olympics at THE RINKS – Huntington Beach Inline.

“It’s been pretty hectic,” Etem admits. "I got the chance to go out to some of the roller rinks and tell my story."

It’s a story that’s already pretty intriguing. And if it ends with him wearing a Ducks sweater on a nightly basis, it’s even better.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 25 45 15 70
C. Perry 67 33 22 13 55
R. Kesler 81 20 27 -5 47
J. Silfverberg 81 13 26 15 39
S. Vatanen 67 12 25 5 37
P. Maroon 71 9 25 -5 34
C. Fowler 80 7 27 4 34
H. Lindholm 78 7 27 25 34
M. Beleskey 65 22 10 13 32
R. Rakell 71 9 22 6 31
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 35 12 5 .914 2.38
J. Gibson 13 8 0 .914 2.60

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