In some parts of the Midwest, namely central Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin center Andrew Joudrey is fondly known as “Jumpin’ Jouds.” High quality nicknames such as that are not as easily bandied about as they were some decades ago, but Joudrey came by his moniker quite honestly; he earned it.
“We were playing North Dakota my freshman year,” Joudrey remembers sheepishly, when asked about the origins of his nickname, “and they had [Zach] Parise, [Brandon] Bochenski and a bunch of big guys. We upset them at home and I scored a goal. [My teammates] say I jumped around a lot after I scored, and that’s where it came from.”
Washington’s eighth round choice (249th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Joudrey spent two seasons playing for the Notre Dame Hounds of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League before starting his NCAA career in 2003-04. The Capitals drafted him just as he was preparing to head off for his freshman year at Wisconsin.
“It was unbelievable,” he says, of the day in June, 2003 when he learned the Caps had drafted him. “I think anyone is lying when they say it’s not a dream. I was just thrilled that all the work paid off. Just to have that honor was such a thrill. Then it was a matter of getting to Wisconsin and working hard to improve and hopefully getting a chance to play in the organization some day.”
Joudrey is an energetic forward whose specialties lie in the defensive and playmaking aspects of the game. He is an adept penalty killer who has also seen some duty on the power play unit. Joudrey has settled in at a consistently moderate level of production during his first three seasons with the Badgers.
Named team captain for the defending national champion Badgers for his senior season of 2006-07, Joudrey will also be expected to take on a larger role on the ice. He is slated to center the team’s top line, playing alongside talented sophomore right wing Jack Skille, a winger who led the Badgers in scoring as a sophomore in 2005-06. Skating in that slot, Joudrey stands a good chance of exceeding his career high of 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists), established during his sophomore campaign of 2004-05.
Last month, Joudrey made his first appearance at Washington’s annual summer development camp. The native of Bedford, Nova Scotia was one of several collegiate players in attendance.
“I really wanted to come out and see what it was like,” begins Joudrey, when asked why he chose to attend the 2006 camp, “see the competition and be able to compare myself to some of the guys before I had my last year [of college] and meet the coaching staff and see how things are run. It has been great to learn stuff from [team physiologist] Jack [Blatherwick] and the guys. Hopefully I can carry that into my practices and work hard this year, and then come back next summer and do well again.”
First, there is the matter of that national title to defend. Even if the Badgers do manage to repeat – on the heels of back-to-back championships by Denver that followed consecutive titles by Minnesota – it will be hard to match the sheer wonder of the Badgers’ 2005-06 championship. The Badgers won that one at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, just up the road from their Madison campus. Wisconsin defeated Boston College by a 2-1 score in a thrilling final game.
“It really was a storybook ending the way everything turned out and with the great group of guys we had,” says Joudrey. “It was quite a season to be part of that team and go through the tournament and the final. Hopefully we can get back there again this year, but whether we do or not it was a great year and something I will never forget.”
Joudrey grew up rooting for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he is partial to a few non-Leafs centers.
“I saw a Leafs game in Toronto when I was young and I saw Mario [Lemieux] play,” he recalls. “So I kind of caught on with the Penguins pretty young. But I’ve always been a Leafs fan, being from Canada. And guys like [Steve] Yzerman and [Joe] Sakic have always been idols while I was growing up.”
As he readies himself for his final season at Wisconsin, Joudrey is aiming at improving certain aspects of his game. The 5-foot-11, 191-pound pivot, like most others at Washington’s summer camp, is looking to improve his skating a bit.
“There are always areas to improve,” he declares. “I can always work on my skating and shooting is another big thing. Shooting and skating are the basics, but the biggest thing is learning from [the coaches] and learning the intricacies of practice so you can work on things on your own and make yourself better for next year.”
“Next year” is a big one for Joudrey. He will captain a defending national champion team in his senior season, he will receive his degree and he hopes to sign a contract and play some pro hockey in 2007-08 and beyond. If pro hockey is not in his future, he has the degree to fall back on.
“I am majoring in consumer science,” he says. “I’d like to work in business, probably in the field of consumer advocacy. Eventually I’d like to own my own business, but that’s somewhere down the road.”
The title defense comes first, and is foremost to Joudrey right now.
“We have a really good team coming back,” declares Joudrey. “Hopefully we can do some good things. I hope to have a strong year and we’ll go from there.”
A strong year might be enough for Jumpin’ Jouds to make the jump to the next level.