Aug. 2, 2012
Junior defenseman Isaac MacLeod is a 6-foot-5, 210-pound defenseman from Nelson, British Columbia. He is a fifth round draft choice of the San Jose Sharks in the 2010 NHL Draft who was a crucial piece to BC's corps of blueliners last season en route to the national championship. Following the graduation of two key veterans on defense and the departure of two-time All-American Brian Dumoulin to the professional ranks, MacLeod will enter the upcoming season as a key fixture on the Eagle defense. BC Athletics talked with him about last season and what he has been doing to prepare for another title run.
A few weeks ago Pat Wey gave us some insight as to what the national championship experience was like. What was your experience like? What are your lasting memories from that run to the championship?
The national championship run our team went on is something I'll remember forever. It was great to see our team come together so closely on and off the ice, which made the whole experience that much more enjoyable. I've never played on that kind of stage before so it was personally a great experience in that respect. I just tried to take it all in and appreciate the moment because you never know if you're going to earn the opportunity to play on that stage again. Another really cool thing for me personally was that my whole family - mom, dad, brother, sister and an uncle - were able to make the trip out to Florida and watch us play. Living out on the West Coast it's sometimes difficult for my family to come and watch many games so that was really nice to have them there supporting me and the Eagles.
What will the team do to not become complacent with the recent success you all have enjoyed?
I don't think this coming year will be any different from the previous years. When you come to Boston College to play hockey you come with the desire to win championships and that never stops. Each year our team wants to be playing our best hockey come trophy season and compete for the national championship. We're happy with the recent success our program has enjoyed but the culture we've developed at Boston College helps us to not become complacent. It's not enough for us to be good, we want to be great and I think that's what has allowed us to continue to contend for the national championship year after year.
On a different note, how has your summer been? What have you been spending your time doing?
My summer's been great so far, I spent the first bit at school training and taking a summer course. I've been home in Nelson, B.C. for about a month now and I've spent most of my time training, golfing, catching up with friends, going out on the lake and working. I got a job for the summer as the Nelson Regional Sports Council office clerk and museum curator so I've been busy doing some administrative work as well as giving tours of our new sports museum that just opened this summer. It's been great though to get back home and relax for a bit. They just put the ice in here about a week ago as well so I'm starting to get back into skating and continuing to train for the upcoming season.
It has been said by your teammates and coaches that you are an exceptional piano player. What other hobbies do you pursue in your spare time?
Yes, I used to play the piano as a kid growing up and I wish I could still play as well as I used to. These days I spend most of my free time golfing or on the lake in Nelson. The golf course is right around the corner from my house so I try to get out whenever I have the chance. I definitely want to try to get back into music though whether that is in piano or possibly taking some guitar lessons.
As you prepare for next season, what are you focusing on improving, with regards to your game?
I think the biggest things for me to improve on for this season are my physical strength and my confidence. If I'm able to put on some weight before the season starts I think that will help me in all areas of my game - skating, shooting, to just being more of a physical presence on the blueline. I think having more confidence and mental toughness going into this year will also help me to perform at a higher level. If I can go out on the ice and be confident in my abilities I feel I'll be able to play a larger role this year and help my team to continue to excel.
You are currently speaking to us from your hometown near Vancouver. What was it about Boston College that drew you all the way across the country? What other schools were you considering attending?
When I was deciding between schools it came down to Boston University, University of New Hampshire, Denver University, and Boston College. I ended up choosing BC because it had everything that I was looking for in a school. It has a very strong academic reputation, which appealed to my mother as she's a school teacher. It has a great campus and location. Being from a small town I wasn't sure if I wanted to be right in the middle of a city like Boston. The campus is in a quieter part of town, while at the same time being a short distance from downtown Boston so you get the best of both worlds. And finally, of course, the hockey program is excellent. I remember I think it was Greg Brown on my visit mentioning to me that every player that has stayed for four years over the last number of years, I can't remember exactly how many, had left school with a Beanpot title, a regular-season title, a Hockey East playoff title, and a national championship which sounded alright to me, too.
The team lost three key pieces from the blueline - Tommy Cross, Brian Dumoulin, and Edwin Shea. How does your role on defense change now that those veterans are gone?
Those defensemen were huge for our team last year and ate up a ton of minutes in a lot of big games. With them gone there are definitely going to be some opportunities for me, Patch Alber, and Patrick Wey to step into bigger roles this coming year. This year I may be asked to play on a shutdown defense pairing against other teams' top lines which I have to be ready for if needed. Those players were also leaders on our team so I may have to pick up a little bit of that slack, especially with the incoming freshmen on defense.
What strides do you think you need to make to fill the void left by those players?
Like I said, the biggest thing for me is to play with more confidence. I feel like I have the ability to play a big role on our team this year and will be able to step into whatever role our coaches ask of me. As long as I continue to improve each day and bring my best effort I feel like I'll be able to help fill the holes left by those players.
You were able to play against your brother last season in a game against Michigan Tech. What was that experience like? Was there any talk about it leading up to the game?
That was a really cool experience for me. I'd never played with or against my brother as he is a bit older than me so it was pretty special. I remember before the previous game the Michigan Tech trainer let me grab my brother's skates and snip his laces which he was pretty rattled about. I don't recall really saying much to him before the game about playing each other but during the game there was a little scrum in front of the net and everyone was just grabbing someone and kind of dragging them away and I looked down and all of a sudden realized I was holding onto my brother and we both kind of smirked and were like, "...oh God" (laughs). All in all it was a really cool experience though and I'm glad I got the chance to do that.
What is your outlook on next season? What do you think the team's mentality will be once the season gets going?
I'm feeling good about the upcoming season. Obviously there are a lot of holes to be filled and questions to be answered with the number of guys that have left and what not but that's how it is in college hockey. There will definitely be an adjustment period, especially for some of the younger guys, but I feel like once our team gets together we'll be a tough team to beat. Our goal, as always, is to win another National Championship and I feel like we have a good opportunity to accomplish that feat if we are able to play up to our potential. Our coaches have been down this road before and more often than not once trophy season comes around they'll have us playing some exciting hockey.
- Interview conducted by Brad Fadem, Media Relations Assistant