A: I started with a league in Weyburn - AA Pee Wee and then Bantam. Then from there, my last year in Bantam, I actually got called up to play AAA Midget in Saskatoon with the Blazers and that’s kind of where it all started. I got drafted to the Kamloops Blazers. I was there for a month and then got sent home...I was traded to the Regina Pats at Christmas. That was nice because the Pats are near my home town. It was a half-hour to the rink from our farm. My family got to come and watch whenever they wanted to, and all my friends.
Q: Did you always play defense?
A: I actually started out as a forward. It was weird, I played forward during my Bantam draft year and then I got drafted as a defenseman (laughing), so I’ve been playing defense ever since.
Q: Were you still attending High School in Sedley while you were with the Pats?
A: No, I attended High School in Regina where all the other guys went. I got to graduate at home, but no, I went to High School in Regina and played hockey there. I went home on the weekends when I could.
Q: After you graduated in ’04, you stayed with the Pats and captained the team for your last two seasons. Didn’t you end up getting pretty sick during the final season?
A: Yeah, I had Bronchitis for, I think it was two weeks or something like that, and then I had knee surgery. That was kind of crappy for my 20-year-old year, but that’s the way it goes.
Q: After the Pats, you decided to go to the University of Regina and played there with the Cougars. How was the transition for you after so many years of playing in the WHL?
A: It was different; it was fun. You know, when you move into the University, you’re on your own. You live by yourself. It was a lot of fun but I didn’t like the school part – I’ve always been more of a hands-on kind of guy, so doing books wasn’t my kind of thing. But you know what, I’m glad that I did it and I saw that it wasn’t for me.
Q: Did you play with the Thoring brothers there?
A: Yes, I played with Cody and with Clay.
Q: Do you keep in touch with those guys?
A: I talk to Clay every now and again but you know, not as much as I should. I’m so busy in the summertime with farming.
Q: And you said you don’t really use the Internet and it seems that’s how people keep in touch nowadays…
A: Yeah, exactly (laughing). Everyone is always talking about the Internet – yeah, I stay off of that stuff. I’ve always got something to do and so I don’t get on there that much.
Q: Tell me about how you hooked up with the Flint Generals…
A: It was through Al Dumba, who was our color guy for the Pats. His son was down in Flint and they had a bad year with injuries. I talked with Al at Christmas and told him I wasn’t enjoying the school part of University. So word got out and at the end of the season, he called and asked if I wanted to come down and I jumped on that opportunity right away.
Q: After finishing the regular season in Flint and getting some playing time during the playoffs, you had the opportunity to go to the Detroit Red Wings training camp. How was that experience?
A: That was once in a lifetime for me. I always wanted to go to an NHL camp. I got to skate with Franzen, Zetterburg, Datsyuk and Chelios was even there. That’s any kid’s dream and it was a dream come true for me. Especially to skate with those guys and work out and see what they do; see their commitment every day and you know, that’s why they won the Stanley Cup last year and were the runners up this year. It was a great experience. I’m glad I did it and I took a lot from it.
Q: Did that translate into a lot of your success with the Generals last season?
A: Oh, for sure it did. I wanted to get called up – that was my biggest thing. I wanted to do what I could to get up there – you know. I’d like to play in the NHL; every kid would like to play in the NHL one day, so I kept it in the back of my mind. I tried to do little things, you know, do what they (the Red Wings) do. One of my friends told me, when you go there (to the training camp), watch Nick Lidstrom. Watch what he does and I really did that…just watched the little things that he does and you know, you watch a player and you take what you learn to your own game and you’d be surprised what happens.
Q: How were you recruited to play for the Brahmas?
A: A scout had called and asked what my plans were for this year. I talked with him a bit and you know, I always wanted to go to Texas, so why not go down there to play hockey?
Q: Did you know much about the team or the league outside of what you may have heard from some of the guys that you played with before?
A: Not too much. I just know what I’ve heard from some of the other guys. It sounds like a good league and there’s a lot more teams than in the IHL so that’s kind of nice – you’re not playing the same guys every second night (laughing). I’m excited and I think it’s going to be a good time.
Q: The Brahmas have signed Jamie Carroll; are you familiar with him from Port Huron?
A: Yeah, he’s a great player. I played against him all year…quite a few times, actually.
Q: And now you'll be teammates…
A: Yeah, and that’s good. I had a player that came from Port Huron and he told me that he was a great guy…he has what you need to win championships.
Q: During the off-season, how are you staying in shape?
A: I’m working out every day; I’m running and actually this week coming up, I’m going to a conditioning camp and will be doing power skating…staying at it every day. That’s what you’ve go to do. Come September when it’s time to go, the legs will still be gone no matter how much you work out, so there’s nothing like skating.
Q: You’re coming on board with a truly fantastic team and a head coach who’s by and far, one of the best in the league. This team has had a lot of success in the past two seasons and is now the defending league champion. How excited are you to be joining a team in that situation?
A: I’m really excited, like I said. It’s going to be a great time…they’re coming off a winning season so the hardest thing is to defend it. I hope I can jump in there and be a good contributor to the team. I’m going to do my best. I’m looking to have some fun this year and see if we can get that championship again.
Photo Credit: Wendy Torello/Port Huron Times Herald