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Ask a Prospect -- Matt Gilroy

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Matt Gilroy, the former Boston University star defenseman who won the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey before signing with the Rangers as a free agent last spring, was at the MSG Training Center last week for the annual Rangers Prospect Development Camp.

We invited fans to submit questions for Gilroy here on, and he was gracious enough to respond to many of them. Here are the questions and his answers:

Brendan from Rocky Point, N.Y., asks:

I have watched you play your college games, and I think you're amazing. What is the toughest challenge you have faced with your team on the line in a major game?

Gilroy's response:

The NCAA championship. We were down 3-1 with three minutes to go, and we pulled it out. We tied it and then we won it in overtime. That was probably the toughest game I've played.

Brett from Commack, N.Y., asks:

What are your expectations for yourself in the upcoming season with the Rangers?

Gilroy's response:

I just want to come in, have a good camp, hopefully make the team and go from there. That's all I can expect right now. All I have is an opportunity, and I'm just thankful for that opportunity right now.

Ryan Nicholas Howe from Wayne, N.J., asks:

Why did you decide to play college hockey at Boston University instead of playing junior? Are you happy with your decision, and what was your college major? What would you be doing if you weren't playing hockey for the Rangers?

Gilroy's response:

I majored in business management. As far as going to college, I had aged out of major-junior by the time I was ready to go to college. So all I could do was go to college. When I first went to college, that's all I thought about. I never thought this could happen. I just walked on at BU and things kind of happened after that.

If I weren't playing hockey, I don't think I'd be too happy. I'm not a desk guy, and I'm pretty happy right now, so I don't want to think about that.

Rick from Laurel Hollow, N.Y., asks:

Who has been the best player that you've played with?

Gilroy's response:

I guess it's been in the summers, actually, and it's Chris Higgins. I've worked with him. He's a year older than me, and I've played with him my whole life and trained with him. I'm excited that he's coming here, and I'd say he's the best player I've played with.

Alex asks:

What was it like to get a phone call from both Chris Drury and coach Tortorella (before you chose to sign with the Rangers)?

Gilroy's response:

Chris and I had talked before about winning the championship and winning the Hobey and having him call and just be a guy to ask questions and give an honest opinion, which was nice. And to hear coach call me and take the time out of the middle of the playoffs, that meant a lot to me.

Doug from Crystal Lake, Ill., asks:

Do you think being undrafted and coming in to the NHL at your age, you have an advantage over other "rookies"? Is there extra pressure on you to make the team or produce right away?

Gilroy's response:

I don't know if there's pressure or anything, but the best part of my situation is that everything I've got, I earned. I wasn't drafted, and no one gave me anything. I had to go out and prove that I could play, and that's what I have to do at training camp.

Nelson Lee from Long Island, N.Y., asks:

How does it feel to sign a NHL contract especially with a hometown team?

Gilroy's response:

That was the best part -- coming back here. My immediate family had moved to Boston because of my dad's job. It's a different lifestyle, but coming back here to all my friends and other family members and getting to play in New York City is going to be pretty special.

Dave D. from Loudonville, N.Y., asks:

With you just finishing up at BU and Chris Kreider about to start at BC, is there any advice that you will look to give him about what to expect from living in Boston, playing the college game, and what he needs to do in order to prepare himself for the NHL?

Gilroy's response:

Just enjoy everything. Playing college hockey in Boston is something special. The BC-BU rivalry that he'll be a part of and the Beanpots and Hockey East championships. BC and BU are always in those. He'll have a great time.

Christian from Holbrook, N.Y., asks:

What recommendations or advice would you give to a 14 or 15-year-old youth hockey player interested in playing college hockey in his future?"

Gilroy's response:

Work, work, work. You know, when I was that age it was a distant future, but I never stopped believing in myself and my family supported me. All it takes is hard work. If you're committed, a lot of good things can happen.

NYRFAN9 from New York, N.Y., asks:

Growing up on the Island, what was your favorite team? And who was your favorite player growing up?

Gilroy's response:

I wouldn't say I had a favorite team, but I liked certain players. On the Islanders, the first guy I loved was Pat LaFontaine. That was way back in the day. Then I started liking Adam Graves and Brian Leetch on the Rangers and I also liked Nicklas Lidstrom growing up, and I still like watching him.

Rolando Rodriguez from Boston, Mass., asks:

What part of your game needs the most work?

Gilroy's response:

I think just more defensively. I've only been playing defense for four years, so I think that will come with experience. Playing under coach Parker at BU has really helped me with my defensive game anyway, so I think I'm headed in the right direction.

Rob Loira from Hopewell, N.J., asks:

What feelings did you have when you won the Hobey Baker Award and the NCAA championship?

Gilroy's response:

When you win the Hobey and you've got the championship game the next day, you don't really think about it. The thing I remember most was when we won it and all the guys were holding the trophy up. We had a meeting with Jack O'Callahan. He sent us an e-mail telling us how we would never forget it and how he could still remember holding that trophy over my head many years ago and how it was something that he'll always remember and it's a great feeling.
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