When you turn pro, little is in your control. Will I get drafted? Who will sign me? Where will I be playing? For Roscoe, Illinois, native Josh McArdle, when the opportunity arrived to play for his hometown Rockford IceHogs, he seized the moment.
“When you start this journey, you’re along for the ride,” mentioned McArdle. “The ups and the downs. Overall, it was a great year. I got a lot of firsts and played in my hometown my first year pro. I’m looking for more of it.” More is indeed on the way as the young blueliner agreed to terms with the IceHogs for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
After a four-year career at Brown University, the former Rockford youth hockey standout began the season with the IceHogs’ ECHL affiliate, the Indy Fuel, before earning his first AHL call-up at the beginning of November. He would make his Hogs debut on November 4 at Iowa and took the ice at BMO Harris Bank Center for the first time since an amateur on November 7 vs. Iowa.
“I think the first game I played here was a HUGE one,” he added. “And the first goal was massive. I’ll remember that one for a while.” That goal arrived on February 6 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and helped the IceHogs to a 2-1 victory.
Overall, McArdle skated in 19 games with the IceHogs and added two assists to his tally for three points and contributed a goal and five assists for six points in 33 games with the Fuel.
“The big thing for me was to keep it simple. Relying on my strong defensive game and I felt transferred pretty well to the AHL. Moving the puck up quick to the forwards and don’t complicate things.”
With the jitters and excitement of the rookie season behind him, McArdle now turns his attention to some family time in the Stateline before the training regime kicks in.
“I think the big thing is consistency. It’s a long year. You have a lot of moments to prove yourself and there will also be a lot of down moments, but staying positive and getting better every day is what I’m going to keep doing.”