Never underestimate the power of determination.
That's what ECAC champ, Stanley Cup winner and Olympian Todd Marchant says is responsible for his hockey success. He describes his career as a series of stepping stones, each more challenging, yet more rewarding, than the last.
A Williamsville, NY native, Todd attended Clarkson University in 1991 and although 5-10, 170 pounds, his speed on ice makes him one of the most notable players in the Golden Knights hockey history. While only at Clarkson for two years, he clearly made his mark, helping his team win 42 games, compete in two NCAA Tournaments and win an ECAC Championship in Lake Placid. An incredibly fast skater and strong offensive player, he scored 38 goals and had 40 assists for a total of 78 points in 66 collegiate games.
In 1993, U.S. National Hockey team coach, Tim Taylor invited Todd to try out for Team USA. Todd attended the tryouts with no expectations, viewing the experience as a learning opportunity as the locker room was filled with four year collegiate, pro and All-American players. To his surprise, Coach Taylor asked Todd to attend the World Championships in Germany. Todd never saw the ice but returned to school as a sophomore having practiced with NHL players including Doug Weight and Bob Beers.
During his second year at Clarkson, the Golden Knights won the 1993 ECAC Tournament in Lake Placid. Todd compares the ECAC championship to winning your conference in the NHL and will never forget the tournament. In college hockey, the next step is landing the NCAA title and although his team didn't make it that far, he still describes the ECAC tournament as a "tremendous victory," even recalling that the major snow storm didn't stop anyone from attending the games.
After finishing his sophomore year, Todd went to a second year of tryouts for the U.S. National Team. He was selected for the team and spent the year training with the possibility of making the U.S. Olympic team. The team was in constant flux as players suffered injuries and some left for NHL training camps. Todd used his determination to continue developing his game. As a result, he made the U.S. Olympic team, a stepping stone experience that he will never forget. The team did a great deal in a short period of time, traveling the world, playing NHL and AHL games, college teams, a Super Series with the Russians and Canadians, and while the U.S. Team didn't medal in the 1994 Lillehammer Games, Todd holds deep appreciation for the taste of international competition.
Todd's hockey career evolved quickly and after the Olympics, he was offered a spot with the New York Rangers. Playing in the NHL meant he could no longer play college hockey, leaving him with a difficult decision. He turned to his Clarkson coach, Mark Morris, for guidance. His departure was a loss for Clarkson hockey, but Coach Morris advised him to take advantage of the opportunity and turn pro. In 1994, Todd signed a contract with the New York Rangers but was traded to the Edmonton Oilers shortly after. He felt the Oilers fit his game perfectly as unlike most teams in the NHL, their foundation was built on youth and speed.
Like all sports, hockey has evolved over time and today, smaller skaters have an important role on the ice, sometimes packing the biggest punch. During Todd's first years in the NHL, because of the physicality of the game, small players were not necessarily given a chance. He was motivated by his determination to prove people wrong and applied his thinking not only at every major milestone or even every game, but every day. He knew that because of his size, if he wasn't the best player on the ice, he may be overlooked. As a result, Todd went from a strong two-year collegiate player to an Olympian to an NHL recruit, all within a year.
Keeping his eye on the ultimate prize
From the start, Todd was determined to be the best and when he reached one milestone, he set his sights on the next. His drive led him to play for the Anaheim Ducks, and ultimately to make his dreams come true, winning the Stanley Cup in 2007. He notes that he experienced success professionally with his teammates and coaches, but also personal growth with each accomplishment. Reflecting on this career and Stanley Cup win, Todd says it was easy to doubt the possibility but it happened when his hard work, which is never to be overlooked, effort and luck all came together.