NORFOLK, Va. – On ECHL trade deadline day, Christian Horn and Shane Eiserman were dealt from South Carolina to Norfolk in exchange for defenseman, Chase Harrison. With the trade, the 25-year-old, Horn began his second tour of duty under Head Coach Robbie Ftorek. The Plymouth, Minnesota native found comfort coming back to Norfolk saying: “When they told me I was coming back to Norfolk, it was a big sigh of relief. It felt like I was coming home.”
Since Horn’s return to Norfolk, he has found his scoring touch, currently riding a six-game point streak. The secret behind his point streak is quite simple, he’s shooting the puck more which is something that Ftorek has been preaching to him and something he admits he wasn’t doing in South Carolina. “It was getting back to playing the hockey I know how to play and having fun out there. When I got here, they were harping on me to shoot the puck and act like a scorer. I realized I hadn’t been doing that all year,” said the right-handed shooter.
Last season, Christian played on the Admirals top line with Brodie Dupont and his best friend, Grant Besse. Both players are no longer on the Admirals’ roster. Horn did say with those key departures, other players have stepped in to fill the roles left behind.
“It’s a very different dynamic, but I think people slid into the slots that we missed,” Horn said. “Ben Duffy took one of those slots when it comes to scoring. When it comes to things he needs to do out on the ice, he does just as much as Dupont. He wins faceoffs, scores goals for you, he’s a powerplay guy and a leader. The coaches did a great job filling in gaps that guys left.”
Last off-season, Horn played in Da Beauty League, a high-profile summer league for pros and college players that reside in Minnesota. The league is often headlined by NHL players like Zach Parise, Dustin Byfuglien, Brock Boeser, and others. Horn’s goal was to be in the top fifteen to twenty in scoring, a milestone he accomplished. Completing that goal raised his confidence and helped him fine-tune his game. “It’s a confidence booster,” Horn said. “They’re good hockey players and you’re making things happen and you’re putting up points against those guys. You know if you can do it out there, you can do it here.”
Playing with NHL players has its perks. Horn took away some positive playing habits this off-season too.
“They don’t look down at the puck. That’s something I picked up. Once they get the puck their first three steps are so explosive, they’re always going. So, if you want to catch them you have to skate. I think I picked up that really well in addition to situationally hockey. One thing they’re very good at is covering their part of the zone. They’re smart. They are NHL hockey players.”
Although the Admirals are eliminated from post-season play this year, Horn and the rest of the team remains upbeat.
“Hockey, when you’re not making the playoffs, is hard because you want to have fun. It’s something we love to do. If you’re not winning all the time things get tough,” Horn commented. “Robbie and Sid are really good at letting you know that you’ve got to go out there and have fun. You put the work in during practice, the games become easier.”
With Horn back in familiar surroundings in Norfolk, he has refined his game and it shows with his point streak. He also made it clear that he wants to be a part of the 2019-20 Admirals opening night roster.