While other kids were growing up idolizing NHL All-Stars, Karch Bachman was a huge fan of another team – the Fort Wayne Komets of the East Coast Hockey League.
There’s not a big hockey community in Bachman’s hometown of Wolcottville in northeastern Indiana. There’s not even an ice rink. But once Bachman fell in love with hockey, he found a way into the game.
“There are no ice rinks close to me,” Bachman said. “I guess in the winter the pond outback freezes and that’s about all I’ve got.”
So he drove an hour to find teams to play with, including spending seven years commuting to Detroit. This past season he played high school hockey for the Culver Military Academy and committed to Miami (Ohio) University.
Once he solved his geography problem he ran into another one – injuries. This year began with a hip inflammation. Then he broke a bone in his hand. As soon as he could, he was back on the ice.
“I played with a cast molded to my stick,” Bachman said. “We had to tape my hand to my stick and just slide it in and out. I couldn’t really shoot or pass or stick handle but it was all right.”
Limited by injury he still tallied 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 20 games. He came into the Combine ranked 87th by Central Scouting seeing the week as an opportunity.
“Not being one of the top guys here, first of all an honor to be here in the first place,” Bachman said. “My expectations going in were just to improve my stock as much as I can. Regardless of how I did, the experience was great.
“I wanted to show I’ve got a lot more to offer having a couple of injuries this year didn’t get to play a full season, playing high school I didn’t get to play with some of the top players in the world like those who are here. I think I had something to prove and I left it all out there today.”
And whatever happens on draft day, Bachman sees himself better for the experience.
“Two years ago if you would have asked me if I’d be here I would have said absolutely not,” he said. “Now being here and getting to be around some of the best players in the country, you definitely see how the guys do it, how the McDavids and Eichels prepare, how they use their strengths to their advantage and work on that to try and improve my game.
“I know I don’t quite have the size or the stature of some of the guys right now but I’m just trying to work on little things to help improve my game.”