SJSHARKS.com caught up with Sharks prospect and former Prince George Cougars defenseman Sena Acolatse at San Jose's summer development camp. The following is a transcript of the brief question and answer session from July 14, 2011 at Sharks Ice at San Jose.Q. Back in March you became the first Bay Area-born prospect to be signed by San Jose. What is your impression of the Sharks organization thus far?
A. Well from talking to them over the season they have a firm belief in guys that they sign or draft. They want to model them in to what they expect them to be when they are older; they make it clear what they want out of you which is exactly what I was looking for.Q. Last season you finished third on Prince George in points (15-48=63) and penalty minutes (128) with 15 fighting majors under your belt. What goes through your mind when you decide to drop the gloves?
A. I don’t mind dropping the gloves. I pride myself in sticking up for my teammates. If it needs to be done I don’t mind stepping up and doing it.
Q. After your junior season ended you had the opportunity to play in your first game as a professional in Charlotte with the Worcester Sharks. What was that experience like?
A. It was really good, just being in a room with professional players. It’s a big jump from junior. You notice that jump when you play with better players. It makes you want to step up and be better and you don’t want to mess up. It was a good experience for me and a big change in my career.
Q. How would you describe yourself as a player? Anybody you try to model your game after?
A. I would say I am an offensive-defenseman. I try to watch everyone who plays like that, guys like Dan Boyle
or Mike Green, any offensive defenseman. Also little things like (Chris) Pronger how he always keeps his head up, I just try to watch everyone. There isn’t one person I follow.Q. What are you focusing on here at Development Camp to improve your overall game?
A. I would say mostly I’m focusing on skating because that’s a big part of being a defenseman and then learning the system. There is a lot of system stuff. I want to pay attention to that so that when I come back I don’t have to spend extra time on the system stuff, I will just know what to do.Q. What are some of your favorite sports memories from growing up in the Bay Area? Did you have a favorite team or favorite player?
A. I remember going to my first Sharks game when they played Dallas and watching Mike Modano play. Going to Sharks games is what got me into it so it’s cool to be coming full circle.Q. I heard that you decided to start playing hockey after attending a Sharks game as a kid. What do you remember about watching your first hockey game at San Jose Arena?
A. I remember it was fast and lots of hitting. We were sitting down by the glass so all the little things like that get you excited.Q. What advice can you give to aspiring youth hockey players here in California?
A. Anything is possible. If you want to play in the NHL and you set your mind to it then I am sure it can be done. You have to work at it, it’s not easy, just stick to it.Q. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done since being back?
A. Well visiting family that I haven’t seen in forever. Some of my cousins on my mom’s side came to Edmonton, but seeing people from my dad’s family has been great.Q. You have such an interesting name, what is its background? Does it mean anything?
A. My dad is from Ghana (in West Africa). My first name actually means gift from God. It kind of makes me sound selfish but I didn’t name myself.
by Chelsea Franza