Do you remember the first time you were on ice and playing hockey?
I remember we were in Minnesota and we had a rink in the backyard and I was getting pushed around in a sled but I think the first time I ever put on a pair of real skates might have been out there. My parents both said the first time I put on skates was when we were in Minnesota on the outside rink and I was three years old but it wasn’t until a couple years later that I actually started skating.
Your younger brother Anthony was a Steel draft pick, did you ever get to play on the same team growing up?
We never played on the same hockey team but I would go out for his team practices sometimes since he was younger and skate with him during practices. When we were home we would always play together. In the backyard, in the basement, mini hockey, basketball, ping-pong, literally anything competitive, honestly.
Did you start off as a defenseman or did it just happen one day and you stuck with it?
Yea that’s exactly how it happened. I was always a center growing up until my pee-wee year. We had four defensemen one game so my dad made me play defense and I scored a hat trick that game. I actually scored on our own net too, I tipped one in so technically I had four. Ever since then I’ve just been playing defense.
Do you have a favorite highlight from this season?
I really liked the last game we played against Dubuque. On the OT goal, one of the Jacksons came down on me and I stopped them and then moved it up to the forwards and we scored. I thought that was pretty electric, it was a secondary assist though.
There was a stretch this season when Owen Power was out of the lineup and you seemed to take on his offensive production. Did you change anything in your game at that point?
Owen was definitely a huge part of our team, obviously he’s the best defenseman in the league hands down. When he went out it was tough, I guess I got some more ice time during that little stretch. I just took advantage of what I was given and I just tried to do the best I could every game basically. Honestly, I just tried to do everything I was already doing and just try to help out offensively as much as I could and it ended up working out.
What did it mean to you being named an alternate captain?
That was definitely one of the biggest honors I’ve had in my life. Just to wear that letter and be that part of the team in the organization that we have. This organization is hands down the best junior organization in the world. CHL, OHL, all those teams, nobody does what the Chicago Steel does. It was definitely a huge honor to wear a letter this year and lead the team the way we (fellow alternate captains John Spetz and Mathieu De St. Phalle) did.
Did you find yourself being aware of the younger guys taking your lead, especially early in the season?
I had a belief that everything was going to pan out from the beginning of the year. Just like last year it was sort of a slow beginning but as we got closer together, everyone bought in. I just tried to set the right example by working hard every day and hoped guys would follow along.
You’ve been coached by Brock Sheahan both seasons you played for the Steel with him focusing just on defense before he was promoted to Head Coach. How was he helped your career?
When I came into the Steel, my game was a little all over the place. Coach Brock definitely helped me put some structure in my game and he helped me work on my footwork a lot. That was one of my bigger focuses since I’m a smaller guy, I’ve got to be able to have good feet and be able to close quickly. On the offensive side too he helped me a lot, doing video analyzing the scoring chances and plays that are there. I’ve never had a coach like Coach Brock. He’s just so passionate every day he comes to the rink and I’m just thankful that I had him as a D coach, my game really developed when I got to him.