March 26, 2010

Alaska Press Conference Quotes

2010 NCAA MEN’S ICE HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
NORTHEAST REGIONAL · DCU CENTER · WORCESTER, MASS.
ALASKA-FAIRBANKS PRE-TOURNAMENT PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
MARCH 26, 2010

Head Coach Dallas Ferguson, Junior Forward Derek Klassen,
Senior Forward Dion Knelsen, Senior Forward Kevin Petovello

Opening Statement:
Ferguson
: “We’re excited to be here and for the opportunity to compete in the tournament. From a team standpoint a quick turnaround was really important. We found out Sunday and got down here as quickly as possible to get acclimated. Our staff did a great job with the transition. Travel is something we need to do every second weekend in our league. We are pretty accustomed to getting where we need to be efficiently and preparing accordingly. Tomorrow night will be a big challenge with Boston College, but our focus is on our game and the things that we can control. We plan on going out to compete hard and to work together as a group. We look forward to the challenge and are definitely excited to be a part of it.” 

On the commute from Alaska:
Klassen:
“It was actually the shortest travel day of the year.”

On the jet lag:
Klassen:
“Everyone feels good getting here. (Leaving on) Wednesday morning definitely helps.”

On being the first Alaska-Fairbanks team in the NCAA tournament:
Knelsen:
“It’s such an honor and so proud to be a Nanook to be here part of the first team.  It’s really exciting”

On the campus and community:
Petovello:
“Everybody’s excited. We’ve got tons of support from the community and student life up there. So, yeah that definitely is an exciting time for them.”

On being a defensive team:
Ferguson
: “It’s something we take a lot of pride in, playing without the puck. Our philosophy is not to sit back and play defense, it’s to play sound without the puck so you get the puck back quicker. Our guys do a tremendous job of working together. When you get into situations like this, defense is really important. I think we create scoring opportunities off a good defense. We are definitely aware of Boston College’s talents and speed up front, but ninety percent of our preparation is focused on trying to control the things we can control. This program has a tradition of success and we are really looking forward to the opportunities and the challenges tomorrow.” 

On the team’s inexperience:
Ferguson
: “Our group seems pretty loose. They get excited to play. They just love to play hockey and to come to the rink. You could see that they tightened things up at practice today. There are nerves playing on a new rink and as it gets closer to game time. Our leadership is strong in the locker room. One thing that we talk about is keeping our emotions in check. Good things happen and you need to be able to respond the right way, just as bad things happen and you need to respond the right way as well. It’s a really exciting time. On Sunday when we found out, Fairbanks went crazy, the school went crazy, and our players were very excited. But when Monday rolled around we realized that we need to be ready to go down there and play a hockey game. I’m excited to see how our guys respond to being on this stage. Our guys are ready to play.”

What it means to him personally to have made it to the NCAA tournament:
Ferguson
: “It’s great. I’m happier for my players, our community, and our alumni, who have all put so much into the program. Nanook hockey is a very prideful group. I’m an alumnus and now I’m the coach and I’m just happy that we have this opportunity.” 

On being hockey’s best kept secret:
Ferguson
: “We are better with the puck than most people know. We are a developing team. Work ethic and commitment are very important to our program and we take a lot of pride in that. Our guys know that they not only need to be committed to themselves, but also to their teammates and the program. I am so fortunate to work with this group of young men.”

On recruiting to Fairbanks:
Ferguson
: “I don’t open up with ‘It’s cold and dark, come on up it’s fun.’ We sell our strengths. We develop hockey players and will give you the opportunity to be successful. Over the past seven years, we’ve had three or four guys who have had an opportunity to play in the NHL. We also sell the development of a person. When they leave we make sure that their education is completed. We try to recruit the kids and families that value the same things that we value.” 

On a difficult travel schedule:
Ferguson
: “We don’t really talk about it. It is what it is. We are very mindful of their academics when they are on the road and making sure they are prepared physically for the game. Discipline is really important – when we get back from a trip, they need to be ready for class on Monday. The hardest thing to deal with is the time change. As soon as we land, we try to get on a sheet of ice. The most important thing is to not concede to it. We don’t use it as an excuse for our performance.”