Size and toughness are obvious attributes in CR RoughRiders defenseman Joe Fleming’s hockey game

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders defenseman Joe Fleming

CEDAR RAPIDS – Let’s do a spotting report on him first. Courtesy of his Cedar Rapids RoughRiders head coach.

“He has a lot of good attributes,” said Mark Carlson. “He’s doing well for a guy of this size. He has good poise and deception in his game. He has a real knack for the timing of his body checks. A very difficult customer. He will become a very good all-round defender.

Now we’re going to give you a screening report on Joe Fleming. Courtesy of Joe Fleming.

“I think I’m a pretty good defense,” said the first-year defenseman. “I like to block shots and play hard. I think that’s what I bring to the table.

And the size and tenacity. Remember these two things.

Fleming is a solid 6ft 2in, 215lb. He showed at the start of the US Hockey League season that he would hit you as hard as he looked at you.

He leads the league with 78 penalty minutes, 26 minutes ahead of the runner-up. He ditched the gloves, admits he’s been a little too zealous at times with his physical game.

He learns. The RoughRiders (5-5) won four of five games heading into their home game on Saturday night against the Des Moines Buccaneers.

Cedar Rapids beat the Bucs, 5-3, Friday night in Urbandale.

“I enjoy that part, yeah,” Fleming said. “Obviously I have to tone it down a bit, but I think I appreciate it, yeah. “

Let’s move on to Fleming’s story, which is pretty good. The 18-year-old from Wellesley, Mass. Likely holds his tough nature on the ice from his father.

Elder Joe Fleming was playing hockey at the time, he was good enough to be drafted by the St. Louis Blues when he was in high school. But football became his sport, playing defensive line at the University of New Hampshire and then 10 years in the Canadian Football League for the BC Lions, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Calgary Stampeders.

He has been a CFL member four times and won the Gray Cup.

“My dad played hockey and football in New Hampshire for his freshman year, and then he had to quit (hockey) because he put on weight and everything. He ultimately chose football, ”Fleming said. “I have never played football. Never entered into it. My parents put me on skates when I was 2, maybe. My sister and I… They set us up at a young age, and I just fell in love with it.

Erin Fleming, by the way, plays on the Université du Sacré-Cœur women’s hockey team, where she also plays on defense. Older sister Maddie was born in Calgary and has dual citizenship.

Don’t forget, Mom gave him great athletic genes too. Stacy Fleming played soccer and is in the Assumption College Track and Field Hall of Fame.

Elder Joe Fleming owns a real estate company in the Boston area. This is where young Joe Fleming will play his college hockey, a commitment from Northeastern University.

“I fell in love with the coaching staff there,” he said. “I’ve always seen them grow up. I loved everyone there. It’s 15 minutes from my house.

But first, of course, comes preparation for college hockey. Fleming has one goal in eight games and a plus-one rating.

It’s a big adjustment from prep school, where he was last winter, and he’s feeling some progress.

“Cedar Rapids is a really cool place,” he said. “I’ve never really been to a place like this before. It’s brand new, but it’s awesome.

“I think it’s just work on everything. Go faster, stay in shape, do everything right. I feel like this is what I need to do. Obviously you can improve yourself in everything, so I want to do it. “

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Catherine J. Martinez