Get used to hearing the name Joe Cannata. It’s actually a real catchy name that can get stuck in your head, like the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza uses his last name as a jingle to get a girl to remember him, but instead of ‘Co-stan-za’, its ‘Can-nat-a’.
You will be hearing Cannata’s name a lot more this season as he prepares for his first professional season with the Chicago Wolves after spending a stellar four seasons at Merrimack College, where he helped the Warriors hockey program transform into national contenders.
Canucks.com caught up with Cannata while he was in Vancouver for Prospects Development Camp; we grilled him on all things from his career at Merrimack, to the upcoming season with the Wolves, and whether or not he was a Boston Bruins fan growing up.
Canucks.com: You had a very outstanding four-year career at Merrimack, is their one favorite moment that sticks it for you during your time there?
Cannata: “The transformation from my freshman to my senior year, just the whole process sticks out, where the program has come to since I got there. One season that stands out would be my junior year, making it to the Hockey East Finals and making it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time.”
CDC: What about the shutout you posted in your very first start as a freshman?
JC: “Oh yeah! I didn’t even think about that. I faced a few more shots then I would have liked, but it was a good way to start to my career.”
CDC: When you joined the Warriors, the team was on a downslide, but you helped transform it into a legit contender. Did you notice the buzz around campus change a lot during your tenure there?
JC: “Yeah freshman year we had a lot of one goal losses, kind of got a taste of what could be, as it went on we had more and more of a fan base, and by my senior year we probably had 600 students per night.”
CDC: You got a chance to join the Chicago Wolves at the end of last season and you played one game. How beneficial was that experience to you?
JC: “It was exciting, a step ahead for next year, what to expect and it showed me how hard I will have to work. It was good to get to know some of the guys going into next year, not coming in cold with everything. Getting that game in at the end of the season was nice, it kind of capped off the whole month I was there.”
CDC: You had a shutout going in the third period during the game too...
JC: “Yeah I had it going with 9 or 10 minutes left, but the Peoria Rivermen could score in bunches. It was a powerplay goal and one other, but I felt pretty good and the team played well for me.”
CDC: Did you return to Merrimack and finish up your degree after your stint in Chicago?
JC: ”Yeah I missed a month of school, but my coaches and teachers were very understanding of the opportunity I was presented going to Chicago, so they were very supportive. Once I got back I made up my work and got my degree.”
CDC: What did you get your degree in?
JC: ”Business Management”
CDC: Is there a goalie in the NHL that you try to mimic in playing styles?
JC: ”Growing up it was J.S. Giguere, I like to play big and not really make it to difficult on myself. Now with being in the Canucks organization I watch Luongo and Schneider and the way they play, they make things look really easy too.”
CDC: What is one thing you feel you need to work on to get to the NHL level?
JC: “Conditioning is big part of professional hockey with the amount of games that you have to play, that’s something I need to work on along with my footwork. Just being as well conditioned as I can to make it easy on myself as the season goes on.”
CDC: Ever consider joining twitter?
JC: “I have had the thought of it; I never really got into it though.”
CDC: What are some of your hobbies away from the rink?
JC: “I like to golf, I try to golf with my Dad and my brothers as much as I can. I have a pool in my backyard, so I like to utilize that as well.”
CDC: You grew up near Boston; you weren’t a Bruins fan growing up were you?
JC: “I was, it’s a tough thing out here in Vancouver, but during the 2011 Finals it was fun to watch no matter who was winning.”
CDC: If you weren’t a pro hockey player, which career path would you choose?
JC: “I would like to own my own business, or stay involved in hockey some how, maybe open up my own goalie school.”
CDC: What kind of music would I find on your iPod right now?
JC: “I usually don’t use it that much, but Nickelback or techno would be what you would find on it.”
CDC: Thanks for doing this Joe, good luck next season.