Right wing Rookie Keegan Kolesar played one game for the T-Birds in the regular season and made an appearance in two playoff games. We caught up with Keegan to discuss his off-season prep and outlook for the upcoming season:
Seattle Thunderbirds: First off, how’s your summer going?
Keegan Kolesar: Summer hasn’t begun for me unfortunately, although I am very ecstatic for summer to begin, during this time I am trying to have a strong finish to my school year.
ST: You played in Games 6 and 7 of the first round playoff series against Kelowna. What was the intensity of that series like?
KK: Before I even arrived to Seattle I was watching the games thinking about how it would feel for the players. Coming into my first playoff game I watched how the players conducted themselves around the arena and it was all business. I had never experienced something like that before.
ST: You made your T-Birds debut against Portland in the regular season last year. What was it like playing your first WHL game against our biggest rival?
KK: I was in a state of disbelief that I was playing in that game, with so many recognizable names from both rosters, but once I stepped on the ice for warm up all the nerves just withered away and I felt completely comfortable. It was one of, if not the most, exciting games I’ve played in.
ST: What did you learn from the three games you played last season that you can apply to the coming season?
KK: The most important piece of knowledge I learned from my experience is how hard you need to work on and off the ice. Going into Seattle, some advice I was given and I see it to be true, never dwell on your last shift, get out there and make it better.
ST: What are your personal and team goals for the upcoming season?
KK: My goal is to make the Thunderbirds this year and be a contributor. I want to be a player that is able to play in any situation I’m put in.
ST: The team has a lot of young talent, how do you think this will benefit the T-Birds in the upcoming season and in years to come?
KK: With a young team, players develop excellent chemistry with one another and that can be a game changer. Knowing where someone will be and how they play is a huge factor.
ST: Do you have any expectations for the 2013-14 season?
KK: Right now I’m just preparing myself for summer camp and U-17 tryouts. Last year I felt my camp performance wasn’t as good as it could have been, maybe because I knew I couldn’t make the team. This year I’m really preparing myself to stay in Seattle. I hated having to leave, it was a tough adjustment coming back to play in Winnipeg after having that experience.
ST: How have you been training this summer to get ready for the season? Are you training both on and off the ice?
KK: Once I got back from Seattle after playoffs, I immediately talked with my trainer Jeff Fisher at Elite Performance. He has me on a workout/meal plan. I train 4-5 times a week there.
ST: Is there any part of your game you are concentrating on in your training this summer?
KK: After my exit meetings, I really reflected on them and I’ve started to focus on my foot speed, it’s something that I have worked on my whole life and I will constantly continue to do; with my size I need to be fast or I’m useless.
ST: What do you see your role being on the team next season?
KK: I want to be seen as someone who can bring the team up and can contribute offensively. Most importantly, I’ll do whatever it takes to get the puck out of the defensive zone.
ST: What have you been doing this summer to relax?
KK: Right now I just go to my close buddy Trent Sargent’s house and play NHL or swim in his pool. Once school is finished I plan on playing a bit of golf and spending time with family.
ST: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. We look forward to seeing you at training camp in August!
KK: Thank you very much, looking forward to camp.
Seattle Thunderbirds Public & Media Relations Intern Elise Rooney conducted the Q&A with Keegan Kolesar. The team will be posting Q&A’s during the off-season with returning T-Birds players.