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RANGERS Q&A - Hugh Jessiman

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Rangers fans - thanks for submitting your questions to forward Hugh Jessiman. The 6-5, 220-pound New York native recently participated in the club's Prospect Development Camp in Calgary, Alberta.

Jessiman, 20, appeared in 34 games with Dartmouth College of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) in 2003-04, tying for first on the team with 16 goals and ranking second on the club with 17 assists and 33 points. Jessiman also led Dartmouth with 71 penalty minutes.

During his rookie campaign in 2002-03, Jessiman led Dartmouth with 23 goals and 47 points in 34 games, while placing third on the club with 24 assists. The right wing was named ECAC Rookie of the Year, was voted New England Hockey Writer's Association Rookie of the Year and was named to 'Inside College Hockey' All-Rookie Team.

Jessiman was New York's first selection, 12th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

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Q: How is Development Camp going for you and what have been the most demanding aspects for you? - Ernie

HJ: The Development Camp has been a great experience for all of the guys here and for me as well. Just to get to know the guys that hopefully I'll be playing with in the future is great. The set-up we have here is excellent - the different coaches we've had running things each week. One of the better aspects for me has been to work with Reg Grant and Daniel Hedin off the ice. That's something that has been a huge part for me here in Calgary and I think the other guys really appreciate the opportunity to work out and improve their strength and conditioning as well. It's been a summer of learning how to work. I think I've worked hard on my discipline. I sacrificed a lot this summer and spent a lot of time working out at the Training Center with Reg (Grant) and Darius Kasparaitis. It was an unbelievable experience for me to work with those two guys. I had a great time doing it.


Q: Hugh, what part of your game has improved the most this summer? - Tony Scourie

HJ: I've worked mostly on my skating this summer. Darius and I did skating drills for about an hour a few days a week at the Training Center. I worked on my quickness and my stride and I feel a lot more confident on my skates now.


Q: I think it is really awesome to hear that a native born New Yorker is participating in the club's Development Camp and really hope to see you as an actual pro as time comes. My question is ... what got you into playing hockey? - Chris

HJ: My parents moved out of New York City when I was three years old. Around the age of five or so, I was an energetic kid and my dad took me down to the rink. He grew up in Boston so hockey was always enjoyable for him and his brothers. I got involved and loved it from the start.


Q: Do you think that being a fan of the Rangers will help you or motivate you to play better and make the team a contender once again? - Nick Ahlfeld

HJ: Absolutely. It's not only a goal of mine to make the NHL, but being that it's the Rangers is what really makes it special for me. Growing up as a fan and loving to watch these guys play and to be around them now, is something that is pretty special and makes you realize how special it is.


Q: Hugh, growing up as a Rangers fan, what was your most memorable trip to MSG? - Steve Buttafuoco

HJ: We never went to many games, but I usually watched games on television. Just recently - last year - I went to a game and I got to go downstairs after the game and see the guys in the locker room and I had met them earlier. I thought that was probably the most memorable because it was kind of ironic that in the near future I could be suiting up with some of these guys.


Q: Hey Hugh - are there any NHL players you can compare your style of play to or try to model your game after? - Bryan Arzberger

HJ: My favorite player is Joe Thornton. He's a center, but his style of play is about being a physically dominating player down low and using his body to create chances for his teammates. He can also put the puck in the net. That's the kind of guy that I want to model my game after. I get to watch him a lot. Being up in New Hampshire at Dartmouth, we get a lot of Bruins games on TV and that's how I've been able to watch his style of play as much as I have.


Q: What players impressed you the most in Calgary at the Development Camp? - Adam E.

HJ: I would probably say that the two guys who have been most impressive to me have been Thomas Pock and Dwight Helminen. Pock is the first guy that comes to mind. He's the kind of guy that is a solid, all-around player. He's strong, has a great shot, and is a good guy to be around in the locker room. Dwight is a really fast, quick player who is hard to play against. He's always moving his feet and it's hard to keep up with him sometimes.


Q: What are your plans for the fall? Will you return to college or turn pro? - Wen

HJ: I really don't know right now. We're in the middle of figuring out my plans right now and I should have a decision made within the new couple of weeks. It's hard because both decisions could be positive for me, but right now I'm just trying to figure out what is best for me. I'd love to be playing alongside some of these guys that are here (at the Development Camp), but returning to school is a good option as well. Being with my teammates there would be good too. Either way, I feel stronger and more conditioned as a player. That was my goal at the beginning of the summer - to work hard enough and be prepared, wherever I was going to play.
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