T-Birds defenseman Jared Hauf is coming off his second full season with the T-Birds. Last season he played in all 72 games and registered a career high 11 points. He took some time from his summer schedule to sit down and talk to us about the coming season.
Seattle Thunderbirds: First off, how is your summer going? What have you been up to?
Jared Hauf: The summer is going really well. All I’ve been doing is just training for the most part and then spending some time with friends and family.
ST: You got a taste of your first WHL playoff action last season. How did it feel to be in that atmosphere?
JH: The playoff experience helped me both individually, as well as the whole team. It put us in a good mindset to know what we have to do to succeed next season. The atmosphere was really fun and it was a great way to play the game.
ST: You scored a goal in Game 2 against Kelowna in the first round of the playoffs. It was a pretty big goal as it tied up the game and gave us the chance to win in overtime. What do you remember about the goal?
JH: All I can remember is getting the puck on my stick and getting it on net. I had the chance to pick off a pass and step around someone and throw it on net. Fortunately, it went in and helped us get a win.
ST: Game 3 against Kelowna at home was pretty loud. Have you ever heard ShoWare Center that loud before?
JH: No I don’t think I have. It was really great to play in front of the crowd we had and we can thank the fans for that.
ST: What steps do you think you and the team must take in order to build on last season’s success?
JH: I believe we’re on the right track. It’s coming together as a team that’ll get us those wins. If we all buy into the system Steve has set out for us, we will find success next season.
ST: There was the possibility that you might be drafted by a NHL team at the draft in June. Is not being picked something that is going to motivate you this coming season to prove to those NHL teams that they should have picked you?
JH: Absolutely. It obviously was disappointing, but it is definitely going to motivate me to be better. Of course I want to prove those teams wrong and I think that will get me to where I want to be. With that being said, I think that the motivation it gives me will help the team move forward this year.
ST: You did attend the New York Islanders development camp in July. What was that experience like?
JH: It was a really good experience for me just to see what the pro level is like. The camp was a skill and conditioning camp so it was a tough week, but still very enjoyable.
ST: What did the Islanders tell you at the camp?
JH: The coaches gave me feedback on my game and said some good things as well as some things to work on. I will be keeping in touch with them this summer.
ST: What are you doing during the summer to get ready for the upcoming season?
JH: I’m in the gym everyday training and working on things. The plan is to get bigger, faster and stronger this summer. I’m also on the ice quite a bit.
ST: What would you say is the strongest part of your game?
JH: Being a big defenseman, I would say my size. I play physical and use my reach when I can. Hard work, physical play in the corners and moving the puck quickly makes me an effective player.
ST: What would you say is one part of your game that you need to improve coming into this season?
JH: I would say being able to move more quickly. Forwards in the league are small and fast and I need to be quick enough to be an effective shut down defenseman. Working in the gym and on the ice on speed and quickness is key for me this summer.
ST: We’ve asked a couple of the guys this question. Which of the T-Birds should people follow on Twitter?
JH: Haha I’m not too sure about that one. Maybe give Greener (@taygreener), Swenson (@sethswenson) or Forsberg (@forsmasterrex) a go.
ST: Thanks for your time and we look forward to seeing you at training camp.
JH: Thanks so much, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at camp.
Seattle Thunderbirds Public & Media Relations Intern Dan Brown conducted the Q&A with Jared Hauf. The team will be posting Q&A’s during the off-season with returning T-Birds players.