No Sophomore Slump

Texas Native Continues To Find His Stride in College Game

The biggest thing that stands out when watching Max Gildon is his size, followed by his skating ability given his build.


He’s a minute-muncher that is effective offensively, wielding a weapon of a shot that led to eight goals and 15 assists his freshman season at the University of New Hampshire, including a hat trick that season against Colorado College.


Gildon’s continued to fill out, now occupying a 6-foot-3, 192-pound frame with an ambition to grow the rest of his game.


It seems like it’s only a matter of time, and that time with the Wildcats is ticking away before the Plano, Texas, native is plying his trade with the Florida Panthers, who selected him in the 3rdround of the 2017 NHL Draft.


Gildon credits his grandfather for introducing him to the sport of hockey in a state where football reigns supreme. However, he’s one of an increasing number of players that are emerging from the Lonestar state.


“There’s quite a lot of talent in Dallas,” Gildon said. “I think people are starting to take notice with players like Seth Jones and Blake Coleman making it to the highest level.”


The left-handed blue-liner jumped to USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program for two seasons to continue his development.


“It’s an awesome program,” Gildon said. “Two years spent there, it was an awesome time for me. I got to make some really cool friends and memories, and it’s something that I’ll probably never forget.”

 A USNTDP alum, Gildon was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers.A USNTDP alum, Gildon was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers.

Drafted out of the program, Gildon fell in love with the Wildcats’ campus in Durham, N.H., and is excited to continue to progress there ahead of looking to make an impact with Florida.


“It was awesome,” Gildon said of being drafted. “It was a real big honor. Florida is a great organization and I’m looking forward to the future I have with them.”


He embarked on his collegiate journey with his sights set on continuing his education, both on and off the ice. The college schedule, with a strong practice-to-game ratio gives him ample time to hone his skills while developing his body and his mind. 


Gildon isn’t afraid to use his size and play physical, while possessing a good amount of poise with the puck. This year is a big one, as after participating in the World Junior Summer Showcase, he’s eligible to play in the IIHF World Junior Championship this December.


Gildon’s placed an emphasis on becoming a steadier presence, executing the same focus and precision whether a slapshot or a poke check. It’s something New Hampshire first year head coach Mike Souza has noticed, after previously serving as an assistant during Gildon’s freshman season.


“Max is a very talented player,” Souza said. “He’s a pleasure to coach. His attention to detail continues to get better each and every day, each and every practice, each and every game. That was something that, being a young player, first year player, true freshman we knew we’d have to work on him with. He’s been more than open, willing to learn and that’s all we ask of him.”


Gildon has gotten the message, with New Hampshire currently immersed in conference play in the Hockey East. The left-handed shot is tied for the team-lead with 11 points.


“Just being consistent,” Gildon said. “I want to be the two-way defenseman that can contribute on both ends. Being solid in the defensive zone but not losing that offensive spark.


“Coach Souza and the addition of coach Jeff Guiliano are really starting to help me out with that and it’s been awesome.”

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