Defenseman Jake Lee was selected by the T-Birds in the first round, 18th overall, in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. The Sherwood Park, Alberta, native appeared in 64 games in his rookie season last year and had four goals and six assists for 10 points with 69 penalty minutes. He was recently named to the Hockey Canada selection camp for Hlinka Gretzky Cup this summer. Jake took a few minutes out of his day to chat with us about this past season, his summer and goals for next season.
Seattle Thunderbirds: Thanks for joining us Jake! How has your summer been?
Jake Lee: My summer has been really good so far! It’s a nice break and I’m enjoying spending some time with my family and friends as well as doing some off season training.
ST: You have been invited to the Hockey Canada U18 selection camp taking place in August. What does this mean to you and what are you expecting or hope to take away from it?
JL: It’s a awesome honor! I imagine I will meet a lot of players and coaches from around the country and will learn a lot from on and off-ice instruction.
ST: What was it like playing in the U17 tournament last year for Team Canada?
JL: It was a surreal feeling playing in the U17 tournament. It’s honestly a dream come true to have had the opportunity to represent my country on an international stage. It was also very interesting playing against other national teams with their different systems and styles of play.
ST: Your new teammate Simon Kubicek from the Czech Republic played in the U17 tournament. Do you remember going up against him?
JL: I do remember going up against Simon Kubicek. He was a very strong defenseman for the Czech team and he earned my respect throughout the tournament.
ST: What has been the biggest challenge when it comes to transitioning into the WHL?
JL: The biggest challenge was definitely the change of pace in the game, especially in the d zone and transitions in the neutral zone.
ST: What were your expectations of coming to Seattle as a rookie? Is it anything like you expected?
JL: My expectation coming into Seattle was facing the reality that I had to earn my way up the lineup and I’m glad I went through that adversity as it is a good lesson in life to understand.
ST: What is your biggest individual goal going into next season? What about team goals?
JL: My biggest individual goal is to have the best season of my career. Obviously this is a huge year for me and I would like to be an impact player on the team with around 35-40 points. My team goal is to be a strong competitor in the US division and to make it deep into the playoffs.
ST: How do you describe your style of play? Are there any NHL players you look up to?
JL: My style of play is a gritty two-way defenseman. Although I didn’t get to show the offensive side of my play last year, I am looking forward to doing it this upcoming season. The NHL player I look up to is definitely Erik Karrlson and his deceptive offensive play.
ST: Tell us one song that really gets you focused to play and gets you game ready?
JL: A song that gets me amped up before the game would definitely be Horses.
ST: How did you balance the busy schedule of high school and hockey last season?
JL: It’s hard balancing both hockey and education, but as long as you discipline yourself and cut into your free time for schooling.
ST: What kind of training schedule did you have this summer?
JL: I workout five times a week as well as weekend camps here and there. I also attend as many goalie sessions as I can in order to improve my shot.
ST: Are you doing anything fun this summer before you head back to Seattle for Training Camp?
JL: Back in May my family and I traveled to Mexico for a week. I will also be heading the mountains for a week of camping with my family.
ST: Alright that’s all the time we have, thank you for joining us Jake!
Seattle Thunderbirds Public & Media Relations Intern Rebecca Bower conducted the Q&A with Jake Lee. The team will be posting Q&A’s during the off-season with returning T-Birds players.