EDEN PRAIRIE — When the hometown kid scored a goal on the first shot he took as a Minnesota State men’s hockey player, it looked like the perfect beginning of a storybook career.
But sometimes those careers don’t finish happily ever after.
So for Corey Leivermann, the kid who wanted to play for the Mavericks since fifth grade when his family moved to Mankato, the story ended a year and a half early with his decision to leave MSU and finish his playing career elsewhere.
“Obviously, it was a tough decision,” Leivermann said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “Being the first Mankato kid to play at MSU, it was tough to give up on your hopes and dreams. ... But sometimes you have to go with your heart, and my heart said to go and have fun for a year and a half.”
Leivermann plans to transfer down the road to Gustavus Adolphus, a Division III school that will allow him to play immediately.
“I’m going to place where I can play and love hockey again,” he said.
Leivermann, the former Mankato West High School standout, played in 42 games over 21⁄2 seasons with the Mavericks. He appeared in 19 games as a freshman, scoring three goals — including that one on his first shot in his first game — and assisting on four others. Last season he played in 21 games, scoring one goal. This year, he played MSU’s first two games of the season but couldn’t crack a deep and talented forward lineup after that. Even a switch to defense in practice over the last couple of weeks couldn’t get him into a game.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks were rolling, off to their most successful first half in more than a dozen years — on Monday, they moved up to No. 14 in the national rankings — and Leivermann said it was difficult to only watch that run from the stands.