Kevin Shattenkirk is part of a strong connection between the Colorado Avalanche and Boston University, where he is set to enter his junior season in 2009-10. Shattenkirk, along with fellow Avalanche prospects Colby Cohen, Brandon Yip and 2009 draftee Kieran Millan, were a big part of a Terriers squad that captured the 2009 NCAA national championship. Behind the bench for Boston University was associate head coach David Quinn, who was recently named head coach of the Lake Erie Monsters.
Shattenkirk, who will serve as Boston University’s captain next season, is currently in Colorado to participate in the Avalanche’s 2009 development camp. ColoradoAvalanche.com caught up with the defenseman to chat about the national championship, his mindset at development camp, and the Avalanche/BU connection.
Q: I want to say you’re probably tired of talking about the national championship last year, but in reality you probably never get sick of it. Describe that experience. “Like you said, it’s not something you get sick of talking about. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Winning like that was something I don’t think I’ll ever go through again. It was a special feeling, and we achieved all of our goals for the year. It was great to have it all at the end.”
Q: Can you talk about the season as a whole? The team had a great record and seemingly didn’t have too many bumps in the road, but a record doesn’t always tell the whole story. Were there moments of turmoil or adversity? I’d be surprised if you told me it was smooth sailing from the first day until the end of the year. “You’re right, that wasn’t the case, even if our record doesn’t show it. There was one weekend against Vermont where we got swept at home. I think we were No. 1 or 2 overall in the country and that set us back. Overall we had great leadership and they set the examples on and off the ice. That was the reason we were so successful this year, because we had everyone buying into our system and our beliefs.”
Q: Can you talk about your decision to go back to BU for this coming season? “It was mostly my own. I talked to my coaches about it, and they felt it was the right move. I was named captain, so I figured that the opportunity to come in and serve as captain as a junior was something special. I’m looking forward to trying to lead our team to the same result we had this year.”
Q: This camp is mainly about growing and developing as a player. But having been here before, you have to realize that it’s a chance to show what you can provide to the Avalanche organization. “Absolutely. I think coming from last year, I had a lot of improvement to make with the strength testing and some of the on-ice parts of the camp. So far it’s been going well, but it’s just another chance to prove that you’re moving in the right direction.”
Q: Do you ever talk about the Avalanche/Boston University connection when you’re back at school? “We definitely do, and we’re all excited about it. We’ve heard nothing but good things about the organization and we take a lot of pride in being a part of it. When you come here, everyone is working hard, from the staff all the way down to the players. There’s a lot of tradition here, so we hope we can follow up on that.”
Q: Speaking of that connection, what’s Coach Quinn like, and how important was he in your development these past few years? “He played a tremendous role in my development. He was my defensive coach and really focused on my defensive game, which was kind of the weakness in my game. He’s helped me make great strides in that aspect. He’s very personable and hands-on with you, and he’ll make sure you’re playing your best. In his new role as the team’s AHL coach, I think he’ll do a great job in preparing guys for the next level.”
Q: As we touched on, you’re heading back to BU next year. Do you have a plan in your head as far as where you want to be one or two years from now, or are you taking things day by day? “Who knows? I talked to my coaches at BU about it. Going into my senior year I won’t have many classes left to graduate because I’m already ahead on my credits. I think taking this junior year is the smartest thing for me, and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to make the jump after that.”