The 16-year-old native of Santa Clarita, Calif., is the youngest Lancer. Tait scored his second USHL goal Friday in Omaha’s 4-2 win against Fargo. The Millard North junior committed earlier this month to play at Providence College in Rhode Island.
Q: How is your adjustment to a league with mostly older players been going?
A: It’s a tough league for any age. It’s been a good experience going against older, bigger, stronger and faster guys. We have so many good guys on this team that competing against each other in practice, everybody keeps getting better. That’s helped me prepare for the games. I’ve caught my stride. I’m feeling good and a lot more confident. Confidence is a big thing in this league.
Q: Any specific areas where you’re getting more confidence?
A: Handling the puck. I used to think I didn’t have enough time, but I’ve learned I have more than I expect. I’m starting to be able to do things now that I could do when I was playing against kids my own age. Everything reverts to being confident. I’m learning when to pick my spots and where to do it.
Q: Your first USHL goal came in a big road game against Lincoln. Did that make it more special?
A: At first, I was just so happy I got my first goal. Then I thought, ‘This is a huge game against Lincoln, they have a packed house and we need every goal.’ It’s one I’m not going to forget for a long time. It’s a big rivalry, so it was awesome to get my first goal against them.
Q: What went into your decision to pick Providence College?
A: Being a junior in high school, I can’t take official visits so I had to pay for them myself. I visited Western Michigan and Providence because they showed the most interest and had the best offers. I saw what a great place it was, the coaching staff was amazing, and the role and opportunity I would get there was perfect.
Q: You’re still a junior, so you still had time before you had to make a commitment. What made you decide to make the decision early?
A: I talked to Mom and Dad on a conference call for an hour before I went to bed. They told me, ‘You’re young, you don’t have to rush into this, and you don’t have to feel pressured.’ In the end I thought I would end up at Providence whether I made the decision now or when I was 18. This is the team I want to play for, so why wait?
Q: You came from Shattuck-St. Mary’s and now you’re going to Millard North with more than 2,000 students. How is that transition working out?
A: This is the first time I’ve gone to a public high school. Shattuck is a boarding school with about 450 students. At Shattuck I knew everybody at the school, and at Millard North there are a lot of people I don’t know. But it’s a cool place. I know where my teammates are, and everyone loves having us Lancers guys at the school.
Q: What’s it like being the youngest guy on the roster?
A: There are good things and bad things. You learn from the older guys. Kyle Osterberg is my roommate, and he’s a really good hockey player and a good person. Battling with kids older than me makes me better. The bad thing is you have to put up with rookie hazing. Being the youngest, you get a little more from everybody, but it doesn’t really cross my mind because all of us are so close. Everybody is so nice to everybody, and it’s a good environment.