EDMONTON, AB - EdmontonOilers.com caught up with 2017 sixth round selection Skyler Brind'Amour to talk about his season with the Chilliwack Chiefs and the influence of his father Rod Brind'Amour, a Carolina Hurricanes Assistant Coach.
Video: MINORS MINUTE | Two named to Canada-Russia Series
How's the season been so far?
"So far, it's been good. Team-wise, we started off a bit slow but we're starting to get our groove a little bit the last couple of weeks. As far as my individual play, kind of the same thing: It's been a bit of an adjustment. Each day, practice and game I'm just trying to get better and I feel like I'm doing that."
Have you been eased into the British Columbia Hockey League at all?
"A little bit. We have a lot of new guys, so we kind of had to be put in the fire which is good for me. It was a bigger adjustment than some of us realized. The last little bit, we've calmed down and started playing together a little more."
What's the competition in the BCHL like?
"It's a little bit stronger and faster but I don't think it's anything super crazy or anything like that. Each day you want to play a little faster and we have a great weight room here so I'm getting in there a lot trying to get stronger."
How often do you and your dad communicate over the course of the season?
"He watches all my games. He always calls me after games and tries to get my take on it. Then he tries to point out a few things to focus on for the next game. He gives me a couple pointers and then I try to go out and do those things better."
Do you watch the Carolina Hurricanes much and do you learn anything from seeing your dad coach?
"I watch quite a bit - try to, anyway. With the time change here, it's actually kind of nice. Usually, when I get done from practice and get home, the game is usually on. It's not just the Carolina Hurricanes but any NHL game you can watch certain players and see how they play, and pick up maybe a few things they do that gets them in the right spot."
What were the difficulties of playing minor hockey in North Carolina?
"For us, the struggle was that you travel a lot. Flying everywhere every weekend, we missed a lot of school. That was a challenging part. We played the top teams in the country, it's just we had to go out and play, we didn't get any home games. The competition was pretty good, though. The only other thing was ice time. We only had three days a week on the ice, which isn't necessarily ideal but we made it work."
I understand you and your dad played a round of golf instead of watching the 2017 NHL Draft. What was the moment like when you guys learned you were drafted by the Edmonton Oilers?
"It was a special moment that I'll cherish for a long, long time. It was just special to share it with my dad who's been there every step of the way. Not only on the ice but off the ice growing up and stuff like that. It was definitely a cool moment."
What do you remember from your dad winning the Stanley Cup against the Oilers in 2005-06?
I definitely remember a lot of stuff. I was in the locker room after they won. I would play with a tennis ball in the room and shoot a lot. All the guys were really nice to me. I remember the series, I went to Edmonton once with my grandparents and watched the two away games there. Then came home and obviously, Game 7 was awesome. I remember a good little bit about it.
In Chilliwack, you guys do some quirky post-game interviews. Tommy Lee holds a water cooler as his mic and interviews players. Is that a way you guys stay light in the room?
"Tommy Lee is a character guy and he likes to have some fun. After a win, he'll bring some guys in for some serious answers while he's joking around a little bit."
He had some praise for you in the faceoff circle.
"Yup, it's something I've been working on and feeling good about. I had a good game on my draws and he had to bring that up."
On those nights where the team that drafted you plays the team your dad works for do you favour one side?
"(Laughing) I just kind of let it go. I don't necessarily root for one of them but it's a good game and there's a lot of talent on the ice. It's fun to watch."