He moved 2,000 miles from home to play in the USHL. There were no guarantees for the kid from West St. Paul.
“The big reason for coming down here was that I was not so sure if COVID would still be a factor at home,” Ingram said by phone Thursday afternoon. “I mean, it turned out that it has not been, but I would not take that risk again and miss another year of hockey.”
The rookie left has quickly reaped the benefits of challenging itself at a higher level.
“The big reason for coming down here was that I was not so sure if COVID would still be a factor at home.”
– Adam Ingram
Due to a late birthday he turned 18 on October 14, Ingram’s eligibility for the draft had been pushed back to 2022. He has taken advantage of the delay by growing taller and getting stronger.
He is now 6-2 1/2, weighs 170 pounds and is still growing. Expected as a possible choice in the third or fourth round in September, he appears to be a likely first-time player now.
Ingram, Marr said, shows an eerily similar skill as former Phantoms standout Kyle Connor, now with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets.
“At the same age, (he) has the same presence on the ice, the same offensive instincts and contributions in the game,” Marr said. “I see a lot of similarities, but how he develops going forward, we’ll wait and see, but I’m just saying he’s the same height and the same weight at the same age.”
“When you see him, it’s just the way he carries himself on the ice. It’s remarkable the confidence and balance and presence he has when he has the puck. He has good instincts for the net and a good finish. And he is a good playmaker. ”
– Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting
Ingram said the improvements are all part of the plan.
“I would definitely say that my sense of hockey and even my skating has gotten a lot better – and my shot,” said Ingram, son of the highly respected golf coach Derek Ingram. “I’ve worked with Riley Dudar (at Evolution Hockey) and he’s been incredible. We work a lot together this summer, and this summer saw some big steps forward.”
Truth be told, Phantom head coach Brad Patterson had modest expectations before Ingram arrived in town.
The club had selected him in the 11th round of the 2021 USHL Entry Draft – and threw a wide net. Ingram had only played eight games, scoring two goals and seven points, with MJHL’s Steelers during the pandemic shortening the 2020-21 season.
“We talk to these (scouts) on a daily basis, whether it’s from Central Scouting or NHL clubs. They show up a little more often – they don’t catch every third game, they catch every game.”
– Phantom’s head coach Brad Patterson
Consequently, the video recording of Ingram’s work on the ice was small.
“I thought he was good, probably a guy we would see for two years and then go to college as a really good player after year 2,” Patterson said.
“He came into our training camp – and we probably have 160, 170 kids coming in from all over the world – and showed instant great mobility, great scoring, great with the puck, good separation speed – all the things you are looking for in a player to take that leap to our league. He certainly had. ”
A point-per-game player with the Winnipeg AAA U18 Thrashers in 2019-20, Ingram was undrafted by the WHL but was protected by the Red Deer Rebels.
Last summer, he decided to go the NCAA route and committed to St. Louis. Cloud State University.