Natural talent is a good start. And plenty of hard work will take you further. But add a love of what you do, when it’s not hard work but passion, and major goals can be reached.
For Wolcottville native Karch Bachman, one goal will be reached next month, while another long-term goal is coming into view.
In early August, Bachman will travel to the Czech Republic with the Team USA U-18 hockey squad to compete in an international tournament against a host of hockey powerhouses. “We’ll be competing against Canada, Finland, Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland and others,” Bachman said.
He’ll head out to join the team in D.C. before heading to Europe. Bachman will be one of 22 on the select team. “It’s special to represent the country,” Bachman said. “It’s the first time I’ll get to wear the USA jersey.”
Bachman added he already knows most of the teammates, having either played with them or against them at some point in his career. “I’ve never been to Europe. I can’t wait to see what it’s about and get a taste of it,” Bachman said. The chance to compete on the international stage is exciting to him, as well.
Shortly after the announcement that he was selected for Team USA, Bachman made another list: the NHL’s future draft list for North America. “It means I’m on the radar,” Bachman said of the report that lists him as one of the top draft potentials for 2015. “It makes me want to work that much harder,” he said. “It’s motivation to know it’s not over, but just the start of the next stage and the work that needs to be put into it.”
Currently, Bachman is focused this summer on school work as he is looking to graduate from Culver Military Academy a year early. “I’ve got two to three hours of classes each day. Then I practice with Colin Chaulk in Ft. Wayne for a couple of hours,” he said, listing off his daily routine. Then it’s back home to work out, more classes, and practice his shots. He is also working on his senior project for Culver, a pro bono legal service through his church, New Life Fellowship.
After graduating Culver next spring, Bachman will head to Oklahoma City to play a year with the Tri-City Storm, a USHL team that signed Bachman last year. Then he will attend Miami University of Ohio, where he is looking to major in business.
Now that he’s on the radar of the NHL, Bachman knows what he’s got to do, and most of it is continuing to do what he has already been doing. “I can’t take any days off. I don’t know who’s watching,” he said. “It’s not nerve wracking or anything. I play the best I can every game.”
The idea of playing professional sports is a dream shared by nearly every kid who gets on a team at a young age. For Bachman, it started before he was three years old and skating around the lake or getting on his first team in Battle Creek. Through the years, there have been countless hours put in on the rink, in the weight room, or at home shooting practice shots all evening long, and countless hours on the road as he moved up to play for teams in Detroit and practice in Ft. Wayne. “I never thought, getting up at 5 a.m. in first and second grade to go practice in Battle Creek, that 10 years later, I’d be on the NHL list. It’s mind boggling,” Bachman said.
It’s a grueling routine that he embraced early on and continues to do so today. “It was my choice. It’s early. Time consuming. Tiring. But there’s no better feeling than being out on the ice,” Bachman stated.
His family, Kurt and Roxanne Bachman and sister Karis, have been along for a lot of those miles, hours and rinks. His dad has logged in a lot of hours to practices and games. “I don’t know how he’s done it,” Bachman said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without him and with mom letting him do that.”
The goal early on was simple – to get better every year. “I wasn’t at the top three years ago,” he noted. He is where he is “because I’ve stuck with it and worked to improve on something each year.”
And now, seeking improvement has paid off as he prepares to represent the USA. “I’ve been looking forward to it for years. It’s more than yourself, your family or school. It’s something bigger,” he said.