When you think of Southern California sports, what comes to mind? Is it surfing? Water polo? Swimming? Or perhaps baseball or soccer? Whatever sport comes to mind, there is little doubt that ice hockey is a sport few would think of here in sunny San Diego. But for Coronado local Carter Grimes, the ice has always been home in America’s finest city.
Like most kids, Carter played many sports growing up. But his love and passion for hockey always stood out from the others. He shares, “I enjoyed other sports as a kid, but hockey was always just more enjoyable for me. I liked it so much because it was so different, since no one I really knew played it, and I think the fact that it was so different made me want to play even more.”
Carter’s passion and drive were evident from an early age to his parents as well. Scott Grimes, Carter’s father, told me, “He always gravitated to hockey. We had him play baseball and other sports growing up, but he always seemed to enjoy hockey more. And as time went on, that stayed the same.”
For the past two summers, Carter played for a local San Diego travel hockey team, the San Diego Saints. He helped lead the Saints to a 2018 Grizz Cup, one of the largest hockey tournaments west of the Mississippi. Carter then followed up his strong 2018 season with another strong 2019 season, which soon caught the attention of prep schools around the country who we’re all vying to add the skills that Carter possessed as a defender. “After a really good 2019 season, I started getting calls and talking to coaches. It was definitely exciting for me. But the school that really stood out to me was Avon Old Farms.”
For those unfamiliar with the name, Avon Old Farms is a prep/boarding school in Connecticut that has an extensive track record of producing and grooming NHL talent. With notable alumnus that includes names such as former goalkeeper, Brian Quick, and Hall Of Fame defender and Stanley Cup champion Brian Leetch.
“Avon’s history as a hockey program was a big selling point for me. I wanted to go somewhere I felt could help me get better,” said Grimes.
For many 15-year-old incoming high school sophomores, the idea of moving across the country and being away from your parents for months at a time would be too much, and to be frank, scary. But to Carter, this was an opportunity not only too good to pass up, but one that he had worked so hard for.
“Honestly, when I first got here, I was nervous, just because it was a different environment. But It was something I was really excited about as well; I’ve worked really hard for this, so I’m looking forward to playing for Avon. I like the coaches, and I’ve become good friends with my roommates.” Said Grimes.
For Carter, his first year at Avon is a huge opportunity to grow his game and improve his skills on the ice, and even though he is just a freshman, he hopes to impact Avon this season. “During practice, I’ve tried to improve my skills on the ice. I’ve tried to work hard on not only being an ‘at home’ defender. Also, I’ve focused on getting better at jumping the rush so I can go help score or assist on some goals on offense.”
Carter knows how important his time at Avon is, and while he has aspirations to play in the higher ranks of hockey, his focus is on this season and this team. “The goal is to play in college and professional hockey, but that’s not what I’m concerned about right now. I’m just focused on getting better, making varsity, and helping this team win in any way I can.”