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Blackhawks Mailbag: Jack Skille

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks

2005 1st round pick Jack Skille found time to answer a few fan questions while participating in the 2005 National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY. Along with Skille, the 7th overall pick in the draft, the camp roster includes other top '05 selections such as Bobby Ryan (2nd, Anaheim) and Brian Lee (9th, Ottawa), plus fellow Blackhawk draftee Nathan Davis (Rd. 4).

Besides the United Center, what NHL rink do you most want to play in? Thanks! --Dennis Blume, Fort Wayne, IN

Maybe Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. I watched a couple of college games there last year and it was a pretty cool environment.

What do you hope to bring to the Hawks? Who was your favourite player growing up? --Dave, Yorkton, SK

I hope to bring offensive skill, a hard work ethic and good character. My favorite Blackhawk was Chris Chelios, but my favorite player was probably Wayne Gretzky.

What do you feel are the skills you need to improve upon to elevate your game to the NHL level? --Tim O'Neill, Denver, CO

I think just the basic fundamentals -- foot speed, stickhandling, passing. You can never be too good at it. You need those skills to keep getting better as you climb the ladder.

Do you think the new rule changes are mostly to attract new fans who do not appreciate at all the aspects of the game that made it great for so many years previous, such things as a well executed breakout or mucking in the corners? How do you thnk the real true fans are going to react to this? --Adam Kulwicki, Columbus, OH

I would hope that they test it out just like the players are. You can't really judge anything until you see how it works. I don't have a problem with taking the red line out. As a forward, it means more chances for breakaways and better line rushes and better chances in their zone. I think they should test it out and see where it goes from there.

Congrats on being the Hawks' first pick. I am just curious what it feels like to be drafted by a team you grew up rooting for and is also so close to home. --Doug Axe, Chicago

It feels great. Right before we left for the draft my dad said, "Wouldn't that be cool if you got drafted by the Blackhawks?" To be able to stay home basically for the rest of my life is great, so close to family and friends.

Do you plan on staying at the University of Wisconsin for four years or until you feel you are ready for the pros? Any idea what your major will be yet? --Robb, San Luis Obispo, CA

It could be one or two years, depending how long it takes me to develop my skills and as a person. It will be at least one year and if it takes longer, that's fine, I'm not going to rush into anything. After the draft the Blackhawks told me they weren't going to rush me into anything, that it would be my decision. Right now I'm undecided on my major, but I'm hoping to head into business and own my own business someday.

I'm glad you grew up rooting for the Blackhawks, but please tell me that you are NOT a Packers fan. --Tom O'Connell, Chicago

I'm not a Packers fan... but I am from Wisconsin, so I may have to be one.

Have you spent any time looking at the Hawks' depth chart or looked at the other prospects in the Hawks' system? Any players that you are excited to play with? --Tommy Quirk, Chicago

Well, Nikolai Khabibulin. I remember seeing that the Blackhawks had signed him and just thought, wow, I could possibly play with that guy. It's going to be an honor just to be in the locker room with a guy like that.

Welcome to the Blackhawks, Jack. Do you plan to wear a visor? --James Covington, Des Plaines, IL


What do you think of Phil Kessel, another Verona area hockey player? --Nick, Verona, WI

I think he's a great player and goal scorer. He's a great kid who means well in everything he does. I can't believe how he can score on command like that. It was just cool last year to be in the same locker room [at the World U-18 Championship] as a kid who had just been on ESPN. Personally I wish he'd go to Wisconsin, but that was his decision to go to Minnesota and I wish him the best.

I'd like to know, is your nickname "Skills"? --Jai, Columbus, OH

That's what some people call me. Some people just call me "Skille," but my teammates at Wisconsin call me "Skills." Most guys call me "Skills" now.

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