July 18, 2012
Senior defenseman Patrick Wey is a very experienced and skilled asset for the men's ice hockey team. He earned a bronze medal with the U.S. National Junior Team at the 2011 IHF World Junior Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. and participated in the Washington Capitals 2012 Prospect Development Camp earlier this month. He sat down with BC Athletics to reflect on the team's championship run, as well as look ahead to the upcoming season.
First off, congratulations on the National Championship! Give us an idea of what the path to the championship was like - what are some of the lasting memories you have from that experience?
One of the things that sticks with me was the low point before we went on the 19-game win streak. We were on a road trip to Maine and we lost both games. The coaches came down on us pretty hard and we had a long bus trip back from Maine late at night. I remember a sinking feeling, I think everyone shared it, and we all were like, "We're going to turn this around." And then to rattle off 19 straight wins was pretty special. The actual Frozen Four in Tampa was really cool. It was almost over the top because they treated us like we were celebrities. We got off the plane at around midnight, everyone was drowsy and tired, and they greeted us with a red carpet and a conga band and women in grass skirts giving us oranges. No one had any idea what was going on, so that was cool. And finally, just winning it and being on the ice with all the guys was unbelievable.
How does a team with the success you guys have had prevent from becoming complacent and satisfied with what you have already accomplished?
For the guys in my grade, we experienced what it was like to have success in one season and then have a lot expected of you next season only to fall short. We're not going to look at this season like we are defending a National Championship. Other teams may look at it that way - that they have to knock down the reigning champs. We're going to look at it like we have to attack teams just as much as they're going to attack us. We're not sitting back and defending anything. We want to go out and win another National Championship.
Switching gears now, how has your summer been? What have you been spending your time doing since the end of the school year?
My summer has been really good. It started off pretty relaxed when I went home to New Jersey. There I was basically just lifting. I went to Pittsburgh for a few days and skated a little bit with some of my friends. I'm actually from Pittsburgh so I don't really have any friends in New Jersey. I went on vacation to San Francisco and Napa Valley, which was some great quality time with my family. The first half of the summer was pretty relaxed. I was working out, but I wasn't skating as much. I was also taking piano lessons, which was really funny because I've never played before, but I wanted to be able to learn how to read music and be confident with music. So I went to this place for lessons and the instructor comes out, sees me, and is like, "Oh! I'm used to like 4 and 5 year-olds being here!" I'm better now than I was when I started, I made some good gains, but I'm still using the "adult beginner" book. I don't think it's something I can necessarily do during the school year, but once I graduate and I attempt to transition to professional hockey it could be a really good hobby. But anyway, that was the first half of the summer. In the second half of the summer I came back up to Boston and have been working out with some of the guys from the team. Those workouts are good because everyone is pushing each other to do better. I skate once or twice a week in pick-up games and there is a league I am also playing in one night a week. And then I went to the Washington Capitals prospect camp, which was a good barometer to see where you stand in the middle of the summer. It is a lot of skating and a lot of evaluation. That went really well. Now, I'm staying on campus and also at Bill Arnold's house, which is great because his parents are really generous and caring and I'm able to be around a few of the guys.
Is there anything that you are focusing on improving, with regards to your game, this offseason?
Physically, I want to improve my flexibility. I think it is something that inhibits me at times in my skating stride. I've been stretching a lot and am starting to do yoga once a week, which should be interesting. I think Parker Milner will go with me, which will be good. I also want to continue to get quicker on the ice, as well as improve my shot and offensive game. At the beginning of the season when the young guys are getting acclimated I might be called upon to have more of an offensive role than I have in years past. I want to be as ready as I can be if that opportunity comes up.
What is one of the most difficult aspects of the offseason - something that you dread each year?
What can be difficult is balancing my time in the summer between skating and other workouts so I'm not burned out by the time the season starts. One thing I dread is the running workouts that we have out on Shea Field. It can be really hot and I get sunburned pretty easily. But some days the football team is out there at the same time as us, which can be embarrassing because we're hockey players, we don't know how to run. I definitely dread those workouts. It's not that I don't do the workouts or that I don't try hard, it's just a grind to get through them.
The team lost a few very strong players on BC's blueline (Brian Dumoulin, Tommy Cross, and Edwin Shea) to graduation and to the NHL. In addition to you, the team returns defensemen Patch Alber and Isaac MacLeod and goaltenders Brian Billett and Parker Milner. How might you expect the team to adjust to the loss of the three veteran defensemen?
We definitely have some good players coming back that I think will help us get through the first couple weeks of the season while the young guys are getting acclimated. I think the biggest change will be getting used to the new guys and how they play. Early on in the season we'll have to be forgiving and flexible with the new guys. We know from years past that we can apply the cliché of, "It's not how you start, it's how you finish." It seems like all of the teams I have played for here may have been slow to start but then we are playing our best hockey when it comes time for playoffs and the NCAA Tournament. We all just have to trust the process.
Which player do you think has the potential to have a breakout season this year?
I think that Kevin Hayes has had a solid two years here, but I think he has the potential to be a big point-getter this season. He's looked good the few times I have skated with him. I think he is really poised to have a breakout year if he takes advantage of his opportunities.
It is very early to say, but what will be the biggest difference between last year's team and this year's team?
I'm hoping that, off the ice, we will be as close as a team as we were last year. I think that essentially switching out half of our defensive players will give us a different look on the ice. I'm not sure what that translates to, but I know Michael Matheson is supposed to be a very good offensive-defenseman and a good skater. Hopefully that gives us another weapon at the blueline. At this point, it is probably too early to say, though.
You were elected to serve as an assistant captain alongside captain Pat Mullane and assistant captain Steven Whitney during the spring. What was your reaction then and what is your outlook on serving in that role now?
I'm really excited. I was excited and I still am with the decisions the coaches made. I think Mullane was a good choice. You can tell by the way that he carries himself and how he acts in the locker room that he is our leader. I think Steve Whitney and I are guys that lead by example, while Mullane likes to do a lot of talking. We will complement each other well. I think being an assistant captain gives me a more unique role, much like how an assistant coach can be more personalable and focused on individual players than a head coach can be. The captain and head coach has to be a little more removed from the players, in a sense. I think I will be able to lead by example on the ice and say things when they need to be said to help out as best as possible.
You've played with and faced a number of elite goaltenders in your young career - at Boston College, at the World Junior Championships in Buffalo, at Washington Capitals prospect camp, etc. How would you characterize Parker Milner when you think of him in that context?
It's funny because, personally, he is really frustrating to me on the ice in practice. We grew up together and played Juniors together and now we're in college together, so I've been shooting on him forever and he knows exactly what I'm going to do. He basically just toys with me in practice. He is a great goalie - really good positionally, technically sound, and he works as hard as any of the elite goaltenders I've seen. He also works hard on his mental preparation, keeping a notebook and constantly being ready to play. What separates him from other goalies is that he's not a nutcase. Some goalies, before games, are in their own world and you can't speak to them. Parker is just one of the guys, though, and the way he has played shows that goalies can be goofy and not a nutcase. He is definitely a lot more normal than some of the goalies I've met.
- Interview conducted by Brad Fadem, Media Relations Assistant