By Annie Fowler | Tri-City Herald
Growing up in a family of 11 children, Justin Gutierrez had to battle every day for bathroom time, the last scoop of potatoes and five minutes of peace and quiet.
“The shower thing was real big,” said Gutierrez, the third youngest of Verlana and Moises Gutierrez’s brood. “If you wanted hot water, you had to get up early.”
As a rookie in the Western Hockey League, Gutierrez still is battling, but now it’s for playing time with the Tri-City Americans.
“I knew that coming in, ice time would be tough to get,” said Gutierrez, whose playing time has increased with a rash of injuries that have hit the team. “Jim (Hiller, head coach) has let me prove myself. He’s let me run with it. It sucks for the guys who are hurt, but I have to run with the opportunity.”
Gutierrez, a 6-3, 182-pound native of Anchorage, Alaska, was the final player cut by the Americans last year, but the young forward impressed enough this year to earn a jersey.