The 2022-23 hockey season has wrapped up for the Miami University RedHawks. For sophomore forward Red Savage, he not only got to experience the college atmosphere but also the atmosphere on an international stage.
Savage is one of two NHL-drafted players on Miami’s roster (the other is goaltender Logan Neaton, property of the Winnipeg Jets), and he also represented the RedHawks over Christmas and the new year, participating in the 2023 World Junior Championships in Halifax and Moncton, Canada, with Team USA.
Savage has been a part of the USA Hockey program since he started playing for the U.S. National Team Development Program in 2019. He was a returning player to the under-20 Team USA World Junior roster at the tournament in 2023.
“I knew that I would have a good chance of making it because I was there the year before, so I had a lot of confidence, which was really key for me,” Savage said.
Savage played with and against some of the best young players in the world. He was successful on an individual level while doing so, scoring three goals and three assists for a total of six points in seven games.
Savage was a key contributor to Team USA’s bottom-six forward group and its bronze medal win, and he even recorded an assist on the overtime winner in the bronze medal game against Team Sweden.
The biggest hurdle for Savage was going into the tournament and understanding the role he would play across the tournament games against a “stacked” team like Canada or surprising teams like the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
“Going into those big tournaments, every single guy on that team is the best player from their hometown or their home state,” Savage said. “They’re the best player on the team they’re currently on. It’s all about managing your role and managing the people around you so that everyone can come together and play the best hockey they possibly can as a team.”
Savage talked further about playing his role to the best of his ability and not worrying about how much ice time he was getting as one of the older players and leaders of the group.
“A lot of people know they’re the best, and they want to have all the playing time, but I just went in with the mindset that there’s a good chance I’m not going to be in the top six of the forwards or be on the power play, so just try and do my role as best as possible and make the best out of the position I was playing,” Savage said.
Being a returner and a former captain of the under-18 U.S. hockey team only a couple of seasons ago, Savage was one of the assistant captains for the bronze-medal-winning team.
With that responsibility on the international stage comes helping to lead the team back at Miami as well. Savage said he tries to instill the same level of confidence in Miami’s team that the top players possess.
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“After playing with [Team USA] and playing with a lot of the best players in the world, you see how those guys operate; you see that they’re not afraid to make mistakes,” Savage said. “You play a hell of a lot better when you think you’re going to beat the person you’re going up against. I think trying to instill as much confidence in the group of guys here is something I tried to bring back.”
Savage also spoke about a few differences between the tournament team and the team at Miami, one of which was the age of the players around him.
“I was one of the oldest guys on the team, and here at Miami, I’m the youngest guy on the team,” Savage said. “I just try to lead as much as I possibly can here.”
Although the 2022-23 regular season for the RedHawks was largely disappointing, having a player with the experience that Savage does will help the future of the program.
Not only did Savage make himself known on the international stage, but he helped bring attention to the program at Miami, and these experiences will help him as he grows with the team.