PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Michael Houser, of Wexford, is looking to become just the latest Pittsburgh kid to be drafted by an NHL team.
But the fact that Houser is even playing hockey at all is a testament to his determination.
“I was born with bi-lateral club feet and I’ve had a lot of correctional surgeries to repair them,” he said.
He’s had 16 to be exact – on each foot. But when his brother, Nick, began playing hockey as a kid, Michael wasn’t going to be left off the ice.
“I wanted to play hockey with Nick and couldn’t really skate that well, so they put me back in goal – there’s not as much skating – and it kind of just went from there,” Houser said.
And he’s come a long way. Originally commuting from Youngstown, Ohio to Pittsburgh to play youth hockey, his family eventually picked up and moved here to save the commute.
“My parents did a lot for us just to play hockey here,” he said.
From Pittsburgh, Michael went to Des Moines of the USHL, then three years with the London Knights in the OHL.
Each year in London, Michael expected to be drafted, but for two years running, his name was never called.
“I think the first year I was pretty frustrated with it but last year … I’ve been through it once and this year, again I’ve been through it twice now, so I know what to expect,” he said.
“If I get drafted this weekend that’s great but if not there’s definitely other ways to get to my final goal.
“It’s never been easy for me. I’ve never really been given anything in terms of hockey at least and I’ve always had to work for what I’ve gotten and I think if things do work out eventually that that will make me a better hockey player for it.”