Emerson Etem was born in Long Beach, CA, so when he finally gets around to getting those “professional athlete” business cards printed up, he might want to be extra specific.
It’s not that Long Beach hasn’t produced its share of athletically gifted residents over the past few decades (including tennis legend Billie Jean King, NFL linebacker Willie McGinest and safeties Mark Carrier and Jeff Severson, MLB outfielder Tony Gwynn, Olympic volleyball gold medalist Misty May-Treanor, just to name a few), but all those sports stars upbringings were aided by their warm weather surroundings.
Etem, on the other hand, is recent first round selection of the Ducks, Anaheim’s ice hockey team, which may bring joy to thousands of Los Angeles area fans every year, but is rarely composed of any LA-area residents.
Etem actually got his start playing roller hockey, following in the footsteps of his older brother Martin, later transitioning into ice skates. He grew up watching Martin play for the Long Beach Jr. Ice Dogs, though soon it will be Martin’s turn to watch his younger brother take the NHL stage.
The two brothers are not the only athletes in the family as their mother Patricia made the US Olympic rowing team, taking part in the 1984 Olympic Games in LA.Sidney Crosby also had an effect on Etem’s hockey trajectory.
Inspired by a Crosby-led team Shattuck St. Mary’s squad, Emerson chose to take his hockey talents to Minnesota at the age of 14 where he would later help the Shattuck-St. Mary’s Sabers, a prominent prep team in Faribault, MN, to their second consecutive Tier I 17&Under Title.In Etem, the Ducks get not only a hometown kid but a left-handed scorer from the right wing position.
Playing last season for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL, Emerson lit the lamp 37 times to go with 28 assists, notching a total of 65 points in 72 games. In 12 post season contests, he added additional 7 goals and 3 assists.