Post Bulletin September 1st 2018
Life took Seth Bacon from one coast to the other.
Hockey has taken him everywhere in between.
Rochester is Bacon’s current landing spot after another twist in his hockey career led him here.
I know I’m not the best hockey player, I know I’m not going to the NHL, but I’m going to work as hard as anyone else,” Bacon said. “My goal is to play college hockey, Division III or Division I, as long as I get an education, that’s my goal.
“My grandfather always stressed, you have to balance everything, with school work and sports. He taught us that the little things are what make the big things possible. And if you don’t stick to that, you won’t be able to do what you love and pursue your passion.”
Bacon’s grandfather is to thank for starting the Duluth native – Duluth, Ga., that is – on the path to becoming a standout junior hockey defenseman and a team leader on and off the ice for the upstart Rochester Grizzlies (the former Rochester Ice Hawks franchise).
Bacon, his brother Gavin and sister Hailee were raised by their grandparents, Michael and Linda York. Seth was born in California, but the family moved to the suburbs of Atlanta when he was young, when his grandfather moved his insurance business from one coast to the other. Michael York is also to thank for the drive that his grandson has to be the best hockey player – and person – he can be.
“He goes to work at 7 in the morning, comes home at 8 at night,” Bacon said. “He’s done that for 40-some years. It’s just what he does, runs his own business. He taught me and my brother and sister that you have to pay attention to the little things or the big things won’t matter.”
LOVE THE GAME
Bacon was a standout baseball player as a pre-teen in Georgia. As an 11-year-old, he played on a U15 traveling team and had aspirations of playing college and professional baseball some day.
But things changed about the time he was playing baseball at a very high level.
“My best friend’s family moved (to Georgia) from Michigan,” Bacon said. “His brother played hockey. I went to one of his games when I was 9 or 10 and fell in love with it and wanted to do it. Me and my friend ended up quitting baseball so we could play hockey together.”
Bacon’s change of athletic plans turned out to be a surprise to his grandmother.
“My grandfather signed me up without my grandmother knowing,” Bacon said, recalling the story with a chuckle. “We would keep my gear in his car. My grandmother had her own car, never went in his. Maybe three months in, I was messing around in the house with a hockey stick, not even thinking about it. She saw me and said ‘what is that?! Where did you get that?!’
“I was trying to cover for my grandfather and just said ‘I don’t know…’ That wasn’t a good night.”
“But I still don’t think she’s happy about it,” he said. “She’s very, very proud of me, but every game day, before a game, I’ll get a text from her, ‘be safe, don’t get in a fight, don’t mess up your pretty face.’ But that’s already happened.”
While in high school, Bacon played for the TPH Thunder program, a traveling team made up of the best players from USA Hockey’s Southeast District. Bacon’s teams at the U16 and U18 levels were based in Nashville – a four-hour drive one way for him to practice every weekend – and included players from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana and both Carolinas.
“Beside all the money involved, living in Atlanta, we had to travel,” Bacon said. “Every weekend we were gone because we had no one to play down there. It was difficult for my grandfather; he had to take off work. It was stressful for him, I know it was, but it all worked out in the end and they’re very, very supportive.”
Bacon comes from an athletic family. His brother, 16-year-old Gavin, is a tremendous golfer. (“He’s unbelievable,” Seth said.). Their sister, Hailee, is a former high school tennis state champion in Georgia’s biggest class.
And Seth is now one of the top defensemen for a Grizzlies franchise that, in many ways, is starting from scratch. New ownership (the team was purchased in April by Austin Bruins owners Craig Patrick and Mike Cooper), new front office staff, new coaches, new players. And Bacon is expected to be among their best this season.
He spent last season with Austin, recording seven points in 37 games. The Bruins – who play in the Tier II North American Hockey League, one level above the Grizziles – released him, though, as they were setting their roster for the coming season.
But as the two teams work hand-in-hand to run the same on-ice systems and share information on players, Bacon was quickly offered a spot on the Grizzlies roster. He has stood out in a positive way through the first week of practices.
“It’s nice to have him here and I think he’s going to be a really key contributor for us this year, especially being ingrained in the system for a year already,” Grizzlies head coach Casey Mignone said. “He might know it better than we do.
“We’re all getting on the same page, and having a veteran who’s been in it on the ice … at the end of the day, we’re on the bench, but he’ll be on the ice helping sort stuff out, so that will be huge for us.”
The Bruins coaches have also left open the possibility that Bacon could be called up if he’s playing very well, or if the Bruins are need players due to injuries or other issues. He said his goal for this season is simply to enjoy his final season of junior hockey and open the eyes of some college scouts.