Name: Christian Carto

Years played at Northstar: 2020-2022

Current Team: New Mexico Ice Wolves (NAHL)


Today’s Alumni Spotlight features Christian Carto. Carto played on the 18U Prep team for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 season where he suited up for 68 games played and added 11 points (1G, 10A). This season, he played in 9 games with the New Mexico Ice Wolves in the NAHL and 6 games with the Granite City Lumberjacks of the NA3HL before his season ended from an injury you’ll get to hear about later. While Carto wasn’t known for lighting up the scoresheet, he more importantly would light up the locker room or classroom with his smile. This guy truly lives out James 1:19 of being quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. He is a warrior for Christ and wise beyond his years. The other week, Carto came through Northstar to train for a couple days and I had the chance to grab lunch with him and it was very encouraging to hear how God is working in his life and just share fellowship with each other. He is a light to be around and his humility is infectious and the impact he had on Northstar during his time here will last a lifetime. We hope you enjoy this next interview with Christian Carto.

What are you up to at the moment? 

Last season I played junior hockey in the North American Hockey League in New Mexico. My first year of juniors went great. Everything that I was taught here at Northstar prepared me for junior hockey and my faith was definitely tested but I felt prepared and ready to stand strong for Christ through the temptations that I faced while I was battling for playing time throughout the season. I feel like God truly worked through me a ton and I was able to minister to my teammates through my play on and off the ice. Unfortunately in February my season was ended short as I took a slapshot to the face and broke a bunch of bones in my face and in my jaw and had to have my jaw wired shut so my season ended short. As of now I’m planning to go back down to New Mexico next year and finish my last year juniors down there and hopefully the goal would be to play Division 1 hockey afterwards.

Carto’s snapchat photo a few hours after taking slapshot to the face in February 2023

What led you to Northstar?

I first heard about Northstar and FCA Hockey in Atlanta, Georgia when I went to a camp down there when I was about 7 or 8 years old and immediately I knew that it was a place where I wanted to be when I was older and I made it a goal to get there. I played Minnesota high school hockey my sophomore year in Wayzata and came to a camp here in 2019 and I received my first Northstar Christian Academy hat which I was in love with but I told myself that I wouldn’t wear that hat until I came to Northstar. I sat on my desk and I looked at it all year as I played high school hockey and I continued to stay in touch with Rick and JO and my junior year I ended up making Northstar which was a very happy day for me. When I signed the contract, I proudly put that hat on and ended up coming to Northstar for my junior and senior years. 


Carto’s hat that he kept by his bedside for a year before he was accepted into the Knights program


Carto wearing his beloved hat the day he signed with Northstar


How did Northstar impact your spiritual life and how have you been able to carry that on?

Coming to Northstar I was strong spiritually. I had been raised in a Christian home as both my mom and dad are strong in their faith. Before coming to Northstar, I would say that my faith was my parents’ faith and I didn’t walk in my own faith and kind of stand up for myself so coming to Northstar, I was turned from a boy into a man and I was taught how to stand up for my own faith and make my faith my own. Not only did I expand my knowledge biblically, but I learned more about God and how He is working in my life and how I can trust Him in times of adversities. Going into junior hockey, that has been something that I’ve been able to apply so much. I was the only Christian on my team in New Mexico this year which made it tough because I was definitely an outlier and an outcast to some of my teammates, however just being able to exemplify God’s love and His care and forgiveness to those around me allowed my teammates to respect me and ultimately treat me like one of the boys. It gave me the opportunity for them to open up to me and asked me questions about my faith and what I stood for and why I was different and it allowed me to plant seeds as to what God’s doing in my life and how it can change theirs as well, so I’m so appreciative of Northstar for giving me the opportunity to build the foundation of faith that I have now.


How did Northstar grow your skill development in hockey?

When I came to Northstar I was very brutal at hockey, in the nicest way possible. I couldn’t skate, I couldn’t pass much and couldn’t really shoot the puck. I knew I had my work cut out for me and my ultimate goal was to play in the North American Hockey League. I think if you would ask any coach around here, they would have said that that goal was near impossible and I give all the glory of God for allowing Him to make that happen. I definitely give thanks to coaches like JO and Tim Jackman. Skating every day, two practices a day, with constant individual focus allowed me to become a better player on the ice. JO and Tim would both take personal time out of their day to help me get better on the individual things that I needed. Coaches like Dallas would also watch film with me on the sides when I wanted to, which would help me with the mental aspect of my game and doing this each and every day for two years allowed me to become the player that I wanted to become. It wasn’t always easy at times. My first year here, I played minimal games and I was filling water bottles for mainly the entire season and my second year even I didn’t play as much as I wanted to and I doubted my success at sometimes but through constant belief in the path that I was on and through belief in my coaches I ultimately landed at the spot where I wanted to be and I thank God for that.


What were some of the hardships of Junior hockey and some lessons you learned there? 

I think that the main difference from Northstar and junior hockey is the care of the people around you. At Northstar the coaches, staff, and players become your family and the doors are always open for you to ask questions to open up to be vulnerable and to get prayer if you need it. I just really learned to appreciate here at Northstar is how open and honest these coaches are and how encouraging they are. One thing that I would say that helped me through it all was continuing to remain in the word and looking at all these guys around me who were not playing or were scratched and had no foundation to lean upon really just made me appreciate my foundation with Christ because ultimately when I got scratched I had something to lean upon and I wasn’t just trying to think about my performance on the ice. I was able to just appreciate all that God had done for me to get me to where I was regardless of if I was playing or not.


Any advice to give to the current Northstar players or future knights? 

My advice for future and current Northstar Knights would be to always be yourself and to not let anyone around you tell you differently. I think that it’s easy to fold and conform to the ways of the world when you enter junior hockey but people will actually respect you more if you stand up for who you are and who you believe in. Once the guys saw that I was different, they respected it and they showed me love and they cared about me as another one of the teammates. Another thing that I would encourage players to do is to work hard and put in those unseen hours because I truly think that with hard work anything is possible and you can achieve all of your goals. It’s a cheesy statement but I’ve always been told “hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard”, and that’s something that I stand by for sure because I’ve seen it workout in my life and I hope that it continues to be that way as I continue to put in the work as I train this summer and move into my last season of junior hockey.


Favorite scripture verse or one that you feel is meaningful to you right now?

My favorite scripture verse and currently my life verse is Isaiah 40:31 (“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” – ESV) and this verse is super meaningful to me because it talks about the Lord renewing our strength and that we shall run and not be weary and we shall walk and will not be faint. It also talks about that when we wait upon him we will mount up with wings like Eagles. This verse is super powerful for me because when I am facing adversities or times that I have to trust God, it just allows me to lean on Him with my whole heart and to remind myself that when I wait on God’s plan and not my own that He will allow me to prevail in the ways that he sees fit for me and just allowing me to have that confidence is something that fills me spiritually and allows me to fully trust in God.


What was your favorite memory at Northstar?

My favorite memory is winning the Dixon Cup with the boys my senior year. Winning a trophy is special but winning it with the group of guys that we had made it even more special. Every guy was sold out for each other. I remember we were down early in the game and it was a tight game and the team we were playing was good and we I knew we had to come together as a team to pull through and win that game and that’s exactly what we did and I think that game for us kind of showed the character of our team and how we were built all year. I think every guy was sold out for each other and every guy loved the guy standing next to him. 


What’s next for you?

Next year I plan to go back to New Mexico to finish out junior hockey and after that, the long -term goal is to play college hockey as of now. Until then, I’m just trusting God to work out His plan for me and trust that His plan prevails. 

Carto playing for the New Mexico Ice Wolves