Coyotes goalie prospect Mark Visentin
recently won a bronze medal playing for Team Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship. What follows is an edited transcript of an exclusive interview Visentin took part in with phoenixcoyotes.com:
Q: What is your recation to winning a bronze medal at the WJC?
A: "I was really looking forward to the opportunity of winning this tournament. I think the tournament, overall for me, was a great experience. I thought I did the best I could out there and when I look at the games I played, I can say I’m proud of how I played in every game, including the bronze medal game. Even though we didn’t make it to the gold medal game I’m still proud of the effort my team gave in front of me in the bronze medal game and it’s something I can cherish forever."Q: Was it a different experience for you the second time around? Did you feel more comfortable? Were you more confident?
A: "It was pretty similar to last year, fan-wise. The Canadian fan support is always amazing and they were so loud there which made it so much more fun to play, and so much more exciting. I guess the biggest difference for me being a returning player is that I knew what to expect… I knew how to perform, I knew the format and I knew what it took to win. It’s not an easy tournament to win and I think a lot of people kind of take that for granted that just because we’re Canadians doesn’t mean we’re going to win it every year. If you look at the past three years you can look at some of the really good European teams and you can’t take them lightly, because they have some great skill and some good players there. Coming into this tournament, it was nice to have the experience from last year and it made it a little bit easier on a day-to-day basis and knowing some of the players, too."Q: Was it difficult to get motivated to play in the bronze medal game?
A: "It was a little disappointing when we lost to Russia, but I think our coaches, Don Hay, and the rest of the gang did a great job of regrouping us and making sure we didn’t get too down on ourselves… One of our assistant coaches had a great quote, and he played in a couple World Championships and twice he’s lost rounds, and he said, “When I look back at my jerseys hanging in the basement, I’d much rather have a bronze medal around them than nothing,” and I think that really hit home with me and the rest of the team… To have a bronze medal that’s still something I’m proud of. When I look back in 30 years it’s something that I’m going to cherish forever and have so much amazing stories from the team."Q: How’s your season going in the OHL?
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A: "My first half of the season was a little bit rocky. I had a couple up’s and down’s, but our team made some moves and we’ve gotten way better in all aspects. My play itself has been better in the past six weeks. So, I’m happy in where our team is progressing and we have a big second half of the year coming up, and I think we’re real competitors this year and I’m real excited… Winning the Memorial Cup this year; that’s our goal." Q: How closely do you follow the Coyotes?
A: "Normally I follow them on a weekly basis. I like to check the standings, too. Yeah, I like to follow a lot. I also like to follow the minor league team, too, and see how they’re doing. I guess last year I followed the AHL a lot and I tried to keep track. I’ve been trying to do that again this year. Of course, I’m always watching highlights every morning on TSN."Q: Back to the WJC. You won the silver last year and the bronze this year. Which one was more memorable for you on a person level?
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A: "They’re both memorable in their own ways. I had a lot of fun in my first year, but I feel like I had more fun this year. This year, it’s a little bit different when you win a bronze medal than when you lose a gold medal game. Not to compare those two, but you have to almost go through it to actually experience the feelings. But I had a ton of fun both years and the group of guys we had on our team this year was unbelievable, and I can’t honestly say that there wasn’t a day where I didn’t have fun during that entire tournament. Our coaching staff was great and the Team Canada organization truly treats us like gold. They spoil us and they do just a tremendous job making sure we feel like we’re at home everyday and making sure we’re having fun and we’re happy." Q: Are you going to miss it next year?
A: "Yeah, I’m going to miss it. We had a good run the past two years and it was a little upsetting after the last game, after winning bronze, that my time for Team Canada, for the World Juniors at least, is done. And I guess next year it’s back to being a fan and watching. Hopefully a good crop of young guys will win it next year."