LAND O’ LAKES, FL – Sunny and 75. That’s the life for Josh Burke as he awaits the start of the second half of the Hat Trick’s season in sunny Florida.

“I took a few days off to rest up and recover from some nagging injuries, but I got back on the ice after a few days,” said Burke of his break. “Been spending time with my family and working to be ready and in shape for the rest of the year.”

Burke is in his last year of Junior eligibility, and his second year here in Danbury.

“I have enjoyed my time in Danbury, learning from Billy (McCreary) and (Matt) Voity has been awesome,” continued Burke. “They play a much different style here in Danbury, and I think that it has prepared me for what I will face at the next level.”

It was a roundabout trip to Danbury for Burke, who didn’t play AAA hockey until he was almost out of high school. His first experience in AAA was with the New Jersey Titans where he was over a point per game.

That next year, Burke would get his first taste of the North American Hockey League with the Amarillo Bulls.

“Once I got to Amarillo, I was taught structure and team culture. I was taught how to manage a game,” said Burke of his former team.

“I enjoyed my time in Florida, New Jersey, Amarillo, and Danbury. But I will say that all of the previous stops prepared me for Danbury, I would not have the success I have had without every stop along the way.”

For Burke, the trip to Danbury changed his game significantly. “I switched to Defensemen in January of last year when I got traded from Amarillo to here,” mentioned Burke in passing.

“I started a game as a forward against Johnstown and there were a ton of ejections and we ended up with two D and they put me back there to play, and I ended up sticking back there.”

When speaking about the second-year Hat Trick, head coach Billy McCreary had high praise for the Florida native.

“Burke really knows the game. He sees the ice very well and has a high hockey IQ,” said McCreary. “His skating ability, escapeability and the hockey IQ make him a very valuable asset.”

Burke currently sits at 95 games played in the NAHL, a number that he says isn’t a priority to him.

“Family and friends will bring it up, but I try not to pay attention or notice that stuff. It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet,” commented Burke on his approaching milestone.

Burke is focused on getting the Hat Tricks back on track and getting some wins in the second half of the season with the guys he has been with through the start of his journey in Danbury

“The covid year, in the hotel with the guys, brought us closer than I ever thought it could.”

If all goes according to plan, Burke is set to hit 100 games played on January 9th against the Northeast Generals.

Make sure to tune into the Hat Tricks second-half opener on December 31st against Maine.