A native of Burnaby, British Columbia, Patrick Wiercioch signed with the Colorado Avalanche over the summer as an unrestricted free agent.
Wiercioch, who inked a one-year contract on July 1, is very familiar with Colorado, having played at the University of Denver for two years before he signed with the Ottawa Senators in 2010. The Senators had drafted the left-handed defenseman in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
He has played in 211 NHL games in his career, scoring 12 goals and 50 assists to total 62 points. His best statistical season came in 2013-14 when he recorded 23 points (four goals and 19 assists) in 53 games.
Wiercioch spoke with Coloradoavalanche.com after the second day of training camp.
What was your initial reaction coming back to Colorado?
"I was excited. We've always talked about coming back here, and I know when I spoke with some media when Colorado kind of presented itself as an opportunity, even a couple years ago at the trade deadline, there were trade rumors and everything. You get excited about that so I'm glad it worked out."
What are you looking forward to the most this season?
"Just getting back at it. It's been a long summer for me and a bunch of these guys in the room. I think we're ready to get at it, have a good training camp and get off on the right start."
What was your summer workout like in preparation for this season?
"I switched up my program. I went back to Vancouver and trained out west for the first time in about four, five years. Switched things up a little bit and got here early to get into the locker room, met some of the guys and get re-familiarized with Denver."
How will your experience playing in Ottawa transition to Colorado.
"Honestly it's a little different, the east versus the west. You don't see these teams as often so it's fresh, it's a new start, everything. It is kind of different right from day one knowing where you have to go into the rink and everything. We're just a couple days in, but they're quick and want to keep an up-tempo pace, which is fun and fast to play so I'm looking forward to that. It's a fun learning experience, and I'm taking it in stride."
Video: Patrick Wiercioch talks about joining the Avs
How has the new coaching staff impacted your preparation?
"Everyone's starting out on a fresh slate to make an impression. Everyone's kind of buying for their ice time to make an impression early on and just trying to do that."
How do you feel about playing at your alma mater for the Burgundy/White Game?
"I'm really excited. I've already been back a few times, just to walk around campus with my wife and son. I have a lot of special memories in that rink. It's one of the best college rinks around-I'm bias but it's pretty cool. Cool location, really unique building to play in, so I'm excited."
What is your favorite memory from playing at DU?
"I enjoyed playing everyone at Magness Arena. There weren't a whole lot of teams that we didn't enjoy playing there. The Gold Pan with CC (Colorado College), the North Dakota series, anything with Wisconsin, they were all pretty special."
Are you excited to play with your old college teammate Joe Colborne?
"Everyone asks that! We kept in contact over the course of the summer and over the past few years. I think that we were both excited that Colorado presented an opportunity for both of us to get a fresh start. After we signed, we tried to keep tabs on when we were coming into town, to come around the same time as each other and to get into the locker room together."
If you could pick another talent, what would it be?
"I tried picking up golf a few years ago. I didn't do it this summer because obviously that didn't work out. I enjoy fishing in the summer, and I wish I was a little bit better at that."
What is your pregame music and routine?
"Not a huge music guy. I usually let someone else roll with the music. Tyson Barrie had some pretty good playlists over at the World Championship a couple years ago, so I'll be excited to see what he throws on the iPod. I let the other guys get into that. Not a whole lot though, you can call it a superstition or whatever, but just stretching the same-stretches and poses, that sort of stuff. That's more routine, that no matter what rink you're in you just familiarize yourself with that routine and get going from there."
Who is your biggest influence?
"My parents growing up and they still are, just being supportive and everything. Right now you get a lot of support from your wife when you have a child running around. It's pretty amazing what she is able to do, taking care of him. A lot of friends, family and coaches have helped me along the way, so probably too many to list at this point."