The Milwaukee Admirals, AHL affiliate of the Predators, recently spoke with Preds prospect Cal O'Reilly about his hockey development, experiences with the Admirals, and his summer goals. NashvillePredators.com received permission to re-publish the interview.
Milwaukee Admirals: Did you have any interest or offers playing college hockey or was it an easy choice to play juniors? Cal O'Reilly: No, I played a year of junior B in St. Mary’s and I had some schools interested in me, but they couldn’t really offer me anything because I was too young. But I had schools that were contacted and sent me some stuff in the mail. I was pretty set on playing junior right from when I got drafted, though.
M:When was it first evident that you were good enough to play hockey at an elite level? O'Reilly: As I got older I just kept getting better. And I worked really hard in the off season to improve my game every summer and once I had my second year of junior I had a pretty good season and I just kept going from there.
M:Growing up, who was your biggest influence? O'Reilly: My dad and my mom. They are a key part of my hockey career by driving me all over Ontario and sometimes the U.S. for hockey. They were a huge part. My dad kind of trains me off the ice a lot as well.
M: What about the most influential teammate you’ve ever had at any level, whether it’s pro or youth? O'Reilly: There are guys every year, the older guys on every team. When I first came to the team here, the older guys, Ramzi Abid, Sheldon Brookbank, all guys like that. They help you when you’re a young guy coming in.
M:What was your first experience as an Admiral that really got you welcomed to the city? O'Reilly: When I came into Milwaukee for the playoff run two years ago when I got put out in juniors, I wasn’t signed or anything yet, but I came in just for the playoff run and I got to be a part of it. We went to the Calder Cup finals and lost. I got to be a part of that. It was pretty neat for me to come up and kind of see what it takes to win at this level. And to see what I have to do to be a good player here.
M:What is your best or favorite experience so far as an Admiral? O'Reilly: We’ve had a good group of guys both years. We would have liked to do better in the playoffs, but I think just having close buddies on the team this year and last year. We’ve have some good times, some ups and downs.
M:How do you like Milwaukee? O'Reilly: It’s a great city. Ever since I got here I’ve really liked it. Especially when I come back in the summer for a couple weeks it’s really nice. I got a girlfriend here now. And there’s the beach down there.
M:Do you enjoy the hockey culture? O'Reilly: I do, it’s great.
M:What is your favorite visiting city to play in? Why? O'Reilly: Probably Manitoba. Well they have a lot of fans, a really nice arena, and the city is pretty cool.
M:Do you have a specific pre-game routine? O'Reilly: I’m not really superstitious or anything, but I usually go to eat with a couple of the guys at the Calderone Club Italian Restaurant or to Noodles and Company. Then I go home for a couple hours of sleep, then get ready and head to the rink.
M:What about for a post-game routine? O'Reilly: That changes. I’ll go eat somewhere. Sometimes by myself, sometimes go home.
M:What are some of your goals for this coming season? O'Reilly: This coming season I’m going to training camp and my first goal is to try and make the Nashville Predators. If that doesn’t happen I’m not going to be down I’m just going to keep working hard and come here and start off well and help this team win. Hopefully that helps me get to the NHL.