Next up is Mason Geertsen, who took the time to sit down and chat before the start of rookie camp. Selected in the fourth round (93rd overall) by Colorado in the 2013 NHL Draft, Geertsen is looking forward to his first season of professional hockey.
Q: You’ve seen steady statistical improvement year over year. Is there anything specific that you are doing to achieve that, or things that you work on to continuously improve that way?
A: Yeah, I think it is mostly about confidence. Have confidence in your play and have confidence out there. Obviously, getting bigger and stronger and faster definitely helps, and getting more chances on power plays definitely helps.
Q: You were named captain late last year. What was that like for you?
A: It was a pretty good experience for me. I had been an assistant captain there for three years, so it wasn’t too big of a jump. But it was definitely a good honor, and I felt responsible for the whole team and how the season went, I guess. It’s hard to be a leader when your team is struggling. You don’t want to do too much or do too little. It has to be a good in-between. So it was nice trying to figure out that happy medium between when to be too hard or not doing anything.
Q: You were also named team MVP?
A: Yeah, it was pretty awesome. It was a good achievement for me. I wish our team could have done a little better. It’s hard not making the playoffs, but it is what it is.
Q: What was the jump like going from the WHL to the AHL?
A: It was a good jump. It was definitely different coming to play against bigger, stronger guys. In junior, I was one of the stronger guys out there. I could kind of push guys around. But coming to the AHL, it was definitely an adjustment. I had to change the way I approach guys and how I take them in the corner.
Q: A lot of people talk about playing against boys in junior and then playing against men in the AHL. Is that something you really notice?
A: Yeah, it was pretty much exactly that. It was full grown men that have almost dad strength. It was good to be up there and see how the guys are and how big, strong and fast they are. It definitely helped to motivate me in training to try and get to that level.
Q: What have you done this summer to stay loose and have fun away from working out and training, that kind of stuff?
A: On the weekends, I usually go to my cabin. It’s about two hours north of Edmonton. I go up there and go fishing, quading, camping, that kind of stuff. It’s mostly outdoor stuff. I went deep sea fishing just off of Victoria Island. I’m not a big golfer.
Q: Is there a reason you haven’t ever been a big golfer?
A: I grew up on a farm and my dad didn’t golf, so I didn’t really get into it at all. We just stick to hunting and fishing.
Q: Tell me about the farm you grew up on and the work you did on it.
A: It was about 120 acres and we farmed mostly oats and stuff like that. I usually went to my papa’s farm on the weekend and stocked wood or helped out.
Q: Do you take your truck up to your cabin? I know that’s kind of your baby.
A: Yeah, it’s a Ford F-350 King Ranch. It’s jacked up, got big tires, got done up, everything. It’s definitely my pride and joy.
Q: Whats the inspiration for having a big truck like that?
A: Growing up, my dad worked in the oil field. So he always had trucks and he always jacked them up like that. I grew up around it, and that’s kind of what my dream vehicle would be, I guess.
Q: What has it been like out here with the informal skates and getting some time with guys who you are going to be at camp with?
A: It’s a pretty cool experience. I’m used to coming here right before rookie camp, so it’s kind of nice to see guys before camp and kind of get to know some other players. Not being in a structured environment on the ice, it’s nice to see all of the raw talent and what the guys can do out there.
Q: Have you felt like what you guys worked on at development camp has made an impact?
A: I think a little bit, yeah. I definitely took what I learned on ice—the power skating—back home and tried to work on that to make myself better.
Q: Do you notice a difference?
A: I think so, yeah.
Q: Who influenced you to play hockey?
A: My dad played hockey, so obviously he got me into it. On my mom’s side of my family, my uncle played for the Oilers for a bit. So that’s how it came about.
Q: Have you developed a pregame routine?
A: Somewhat. It changes every year, but last year I would put my suit and my shoes on and then go downstairs and eat. Then would I go to the rink and I would walk the same way there every time. Then I’d change into my gear tape my stick. After that, I’d go stick handle with myself for about 15 minutes and then play super ball for a bit. On the ice before the game, I would go for a hard lap and then shoulder check in the corners.
Q: Are you going to keep that routine going next year?
A: A few things might go away but we will see. It’s kind of just whatever happens.
Q: What are your goals/expectations for camp?
A: I don’t really know yet. I am here right now, so I’m just going to try to do the best I can here and see where it goes.
Q: Are you excited for your first pro season?
A: Yeah, I am excited right now. That was all I could think about all summer, getting the season going and getting ready to see what happens.