The Versatile and Skilled AJ Francisco

Photo by David Romuald

The main question when evaluating AJ is not his talent, but what position he will be playing. The versatile Hermantown Hawk has been transitioning back and forth between defense and forward, playing exceptionally at both positions. AJ has played forward for Hermantown this season while transitioning to defense for the Youth Olympic Games. It’s always a mystery where he will line-up.

Regardless of his position, Francisco keeps his work ethic and quickness a constant in his game. During viewings he keeps the pedal down for the duration, applying immense pressure on the puck carrier when defending and pressing the play up ice when on offense. He plays with an assertiveness needed to be successful at the next level.

AJ is quick to react to situations and makes snap judgments to benefit time and space for himself and teammates. He often gains a step on the opponent as he’s in motion and ready to pounce on a puck that has yet to arrive. This anticipation leaves the opponents scurrying and attempting desperation plays to stop Francisco. At times when playing defense, AJ does get caught deep in the offensive zone and the opposition is able to push the play the other way. This could be a result of his multifaceted abilities or putting the burden on himself to do too much on the ice.

While the speed is a key attribute to his game, he also has the ability to slow things down and setup a powerplay or an offensive cycle. AJ has great passing abilities, making nice leading passes with a soft touch. The 2008 DOB makes nice reads on the opponents and can thread the needle for prime scoring opportunities. His passing is accurate and done with consistency.

AJ has built an impressive hockey resume playing in the Brick Invitational, the Bantam & High School Elite Leagues, National Camp 15’s, and now The Youth Olympic Games. The talented Hermantown native will continue to add more accomplishments as he’s full of potential with a promising future.

US15 NationalsSummer 20234224
MN Elite LeagueFall 202315167
*MN High School2023-241741014
*Youth OlympicsWinter 20242022
*In Progress