Alameda Native Hits the Ice for USHL

Robby Jackson won Rookie of the Year for the U.S. Hockey League 2013-2014 season.

Alameda native Robby Jackson was named Rookie of the Year for the United States Hockey League (USHL) 2013-2014 season.

Jackson, 16, set the record for most goals in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present) for a 16-year-old with 28 goals. He also accumulated 14 assists giving him 42 points on the season. The season was not all roses for Jackson and his Chicago Steel team. The Steel lost its first 10 games of the season, starting with a 5-1 defeat to the Green Bay Gamblers on Sept. 12.

“We knew we were going to take our lumps early on,” said Jackson. “Once we got our first win we knew we would be alright.”

The Steel got that first win in a 5-4 victory over the Cedar Rapids Roughriders on Oct. 27 and took off from there. The Steel finished the season 29-27-4. Jackson, a forward, had his best game in a 7-3 victory over the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Feb. 22 where he recorded a hat trick and added two assists.

“It was a surreal feeling,” said Jackson. “I got three good set ups from my teammates and I was able to score.”

Transitioning from Alameda to the USHL wasn’t easy for Jackson. Jackson, who is a junior at South Elgin High in Illinois, attended Alameda High his freshman year, before moving to Los Angeles to play for the LA Junior Kings under- 16 team. He moved to Chicago in August after the Steel drafted him.

“It was definitely tough,” said Jackson. “I think it was harder on my parents.”

The USHL is a 16-team amateur hockey league for players 16 to 20 years old. Players from across the country join the league to gain attention from universities and to earn scholarships. Jackson has received more than 10 scholarship offers from schools such as Penn State and Ohio State, but has one wish before he attends college.

“I hope to graduate at Alameda High,” said Jackson. “I have friends that I went to Edison, Lincoln and Alameda High with and it would be pretty cool to graduate with them.”

Contact Ekene Ikeme at eikeme@ alamedasun.com.