From mini sticks to major goals: Andre Ghantous’s pursuit of the NHL

CAREER GOALS — Wildcat Andre Ghantous is celebrated for 150 career points over his five seasons with NMU mens hockey.
CAREER GOALS — Wildcat Andre Ghantous is celebrated for 150 career points over his five seasons with NMU men’s hockey.
Molly Birch

As a fifth-year senior, Andre Ghantous stands out as a shining example of hardwork and success, embodying the spirit of a student-athlete who excels both on and off the ice.

Born in Glendale, California, Ghantous’s passion for hockey was ignited when he was only two years old, inspired by his father’s love for the sport.

Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics

“My dad grew up in Montreal, up in Canada before coming to California,” Ghantous said. “He had season tickets to the Kings … I just sat on his lap and watched the entire game.”

Ghantous’s father continued to foster his son’s love of the sport throughout his childhood.

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“For my birthday that year, he got me a mini stick and every day after work, no matter how tired he was, he would always play with me,” Ghantous said. “That’s kind of where my love for hockey started.”

Ghantous spent most of his young hockey career playing for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks AAA programs at the U16 and U18 levels, where he tallied 204 points in 176 games.

In 2016, he transitioned from California to Canada to play in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), playing two seasons with the Trail Smoke Eaters where he registered an impressive 88 points. Ghantous then went on to play for the Penticton Vees for the 2018-19 season, totaling 29 points. His journey eventually led him to Northern Michigan University, where he has since left a lasting mark on the Wildcats’ hockey program.

On the ice, Ghantous’s performance speaks volumes. With a current career total of 150 points, he has consistently showcased his abilities as a playmaker and a goal scorer. 

Ghantous is constantly working to improve his game, this year focusing on adding shooting and goal-scoring abilities to his arsenal.

“Once I have that speed, that hard work … I’m just going to outwork whoever I go up against, and then the game opens up from there,” Ghantous said.

In his five years with the Wildcats, he has earned numerous accolades, including a CCHA All-Academic Team honor, an inclusion in the CCHA Scholar-Athlete Team and two nominations for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. 

Reflecting on his journey, Ghantous emphasized the importance of balance between academics and athletics and the adjustment he had to overcome after returning to school following two years of junior hockey in the BCHL.

Molly Birch

“It’s definitely tough,” Ghantous said. “But once I found that balance …. Just try and get all your assignments done, work hard and study. So, then you’re able to have a little bit of free time to just relax.”

In Ghantous’s fifth season with the Wildcats, his impact extends beyond the hockey arena. He leads not with words, but with actions, setting a high standard for his teammates to imitate.

“I’m a pretty reserved person,” Ghantous said. “I try to do a lot of my leadership through action and hard work.”

Looking ahead, he remains focused on his ultimate goal, to play in the NHL.

“I think [the] same as when I was that 2-year-old kid watching the game, [my goal] is to play in the NHL, be someone that people look up to,” Ghantous said. “But also, being able to play the game that I love.”

With his sights set on the highest level of hockey, Ghantous’s journey is far from over. As he continues to chase his dreams, his time at NMU will serve as the foundation upon which he builds his future success.

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