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Published October 15 2010

USHL: Hesketh ‘home’ as the visitor tonight

Don’t feel bad for Troy Hesketh.

Being traded from the Force to the Chicago Steel days before the season started might not have been in his plans.

But he’s certainly not crying about it because his life is good. From living in a big city to seeing old friends, Hesketh is enjoying this season.

The goal is to keep the good times going tonight when Chicago plays Fargo.

“Yeah, it’s going to be weird,” Hesketh said about playing the Force. “I was told to have a short-term memory about it and that’s what I’ve done.”

The Wisconsin commit was part of the Force’s preseason roster, but was traded days before the season started.

Hesketh didn’t have much time to deal with the trade because Chicago hosted the Force in its season opener days later.

To show the confidence the Steel had in Hesketh, they started him in the game against the Force.

“The kid is motivated having just been traded and it was his first game against his old team,” said Chicago coach Jon Waibel. “I told him to stay calm and don’t try to do too much.”

Hesketh did what was needed to grab a 4-2 win against the Force.

Though Hesketh never played a regular-season game for the Force, the trade was still tough.

He had made friends on the team.

Also, playing in Fargo was only a three-hour drive for his family, who live in Minnetonka, Minn.

“The thing about Troy is that he acted pretty well, he just stayed positive,” said Force forward Joe Rehkamp. “He knew it was a good move and he knew he’d get to play more. There were no hard feelings.”

It has been more than just playing time that has made Chicago life fun for Hesketh.

He enjoyed Fargo, but said Chicago is a bigger city, much like Minneapolis.

There are even some Minnesota ties he has in Chicago. There’s Waibel, a Minnesota native that played four years at the University of Minnesota.

Plus, there’s another friend of Hesketh’s in Chicago: rookie defenseman Nick Leddy.

“It’s nice being able to go to Blackhawks games and meeting up with Leddy,” Hesketh said. “He played at Eden Prairie (Minn.) and we grew up playing together. It’s fun for me to see him make it to the next level and be here to witness it all.”

Something else that has made Hesketh’s time in Chicago fun is his host family.

Hesketh’s host father is a retired Army colonel, who served in Iraq for a few years.

Having someone to speak to about dealing with adjustments, Hesketh said, has made being away from the rink enjoyable.

“He knows more than anyone to stay positive,” Hesketh said. “It is pretty cool to hear his stories about when things were not going right and how he managed.”

Thousands of people tonight will get a chance to see if those stories have paid off.

That group includes Hesketh’s family and host family from his time in Fargo.

He just hopes to prove that life’s good.

“It’s weird but in a way, it has been like a home rink,” he said of his time in Fargo. “It’ll be a little bit of a challenge but it should bring my game up.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548