LEWISTON

During his junior hockey career, New Hampshire Fighting Spirit defenseman Grant Lundquist has played his home games in Edina, Minn., Lake George, N.Y., Waterville Valley, N.H., and Laconia, N.H.

In his final season of eligibility, Lundquist will have the opportunity to play a home game in his home state of Maine for the first time. The Fort Fairfield product is the only member of the Fighting Spirit from the Pine Tree State.

Lundquist and the Fighting Spirit are hosting a weekend series with the Lockport Express at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Friday and Sunday.

“It’s a big buzz here,” Lundquist said. “Everyone’s excited. It’s a great facility, nice locker rooms, there’s a workout place there, bigger rink. It’s all-around excitement. Everyone’s looking forward to it. We’ve been talking about it for a few weeks now. It should be a good game, too.”

This is Lundquist’s first and only season with the Fighting Spirit, as he is in his final year of junior hockey eligibility. He’s played in all 30 games this season on the blue line, recording a goal and four assists.

“Great young man, great family,” Fighting Spirit coach Rod Simmons said. “He can play forward or D for us. He’s a great young man. Being his last year, we’re trying to find a way to get him placed for his NCAA. That’s what we’re kind of focusing on right now, but an outstanding young man. A good hockey player with hockey smarts.”

Lundquist spent last year with the Edina Lakers of the Minnesota Junior Hockey League before deciding he’d rather be closer to home. Lundquist said the MNJHL and the NA3EHL are pretty similar in style of play. The biggest difference is fewer fights in the East Coastbased league.

While Fort Fairfield is his hometown on the roster, Lundquist was born in Las Cruces, N.M. He moved to Fort Fairfield with his parents when he was 4 years old. His dad works as a border patrol officer. Patrolling the Canadian line is much safer than that between the U.S. and Mexico, and coupled with better options for schooling, Maine was an easy choice for the Lundquist family.

The move also allowed Lundquist the opportunity to find his passion in hockey.

“If I hadn’t moved I’d never have been able to play hockey, so there’s that huge advantage there,” Lundquist said. “The schools are way better up here, which is one of the reasons my parents moved.”

In his second year of high school, Lundquist received a scholarship to play for Trinity College School in Fort Hope, Ontario. Living next to the border, Lundquist grew up playing for and against Canadian teams.

“I grew up playing in the Canadian style, which is less focused on systems and more just playing the game,” Lundquist said. “That’s how I grew up and that’s how I like to play. There’s good hockey everywhere.”

Lundquist made a few trips to Lewiston during his time in youth hockey, but for the most part he stayed close to home in the northern tier of the state. Fort Fairfield, a town of about 3,500 people, is sandwiched between Caribou and Presque Isle, and shares an international border with Canada. Lundquist played youth hockey with the Presque Isle Youth Hockey Association, and for District 2 New Brunswick from mites through one year of bantam.

He’s been to his fair share of rinks in Maine growing up. He played at Alfond Arena during his second year of squirts when his team won the state championship. He played at the old Kennebec Ice Arena during his time in pee wee prior to its roof collapsing in 2011, and he’s played in Bangor as part of the Bangor Friendship tournament.

Lundquist said he’s never played a game at the Colisee, but he has practiced there during tryouts for the Maine Festival team. He’s watched games at the Colisee as his brother played there during his time in bantam.

“It’s an amazing facility,” Lundquist said. “It’s going to help us a lot going forward with the program, especially because they’re talking about expanding the program to having two new junior teams next year. First-rate locker room, we’ll have our own skate sharpening machine, own workout facility. It’s definitely got room for us to grow and expand in there and make it our home.”

Teammates have been asking him the tough questions about the area and the facility — like whether there is a Chipotle nearby. That answer is a disappointing no.

Lundquist is looking to continue his hockey career in the American Collegiate Hockey Association next season. He said he has a list of possible options, but has yet to narrow down his choices and make a final decision.

With the Colisee hosting the league championship series this year, Lundquist is hoping this isn’t his final weekend playing junior hockey in his home state. When his junior hockey career comes to an end, completing it with a championship trophy on Maine ice seems like the best way to go out.


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