DUCK HOCKEY STARTS TOMORROW AT 730PM!
We’ll have the live stream hopefully up and running for the game.
And General Manager Sam Rosenberg was gracious enough to answer some of our questions regarding the upcoming season.
ATQ: Are there restrictions or rules regarding the amount of practice you guys can have before the beginning of the season?
GM ROSENBERG: While there aren’t rules or restrictions in place from the governing bodies that restrict us from offseason practices, our main issues when it comes to this is that the rink is closed for the summer from April-August. Another big issue with that is that we don’t have the whole team in town until the school starts. With tryouts the first week of school, we don’t have the team finalized until Wednesday of the first week of school. We did have a Summer League team in the Sherwood Adult Hockey League this summer with the coaches, managers, and some of the players who were in Portland and/or Eugene this summer. But other than that, we aren’t able to do much team practices until school starts.
ATQ: Who’s stood out at practice so far? Any interesting freshmen?
GMR: While we haven’t had any on-ice practices yet, we did invite our newest recruits to Eugene in early September for an optional training camp. I would say that all of our recruits are expecting to make an immediate impact on the team, and that we should be one of, if not the top team in the conference thanks to our incoming players.
ATQ: Your first games are against the Eugene Generals, a tier 3 junior hockey team. Could you shine some light on what exactly that means? Are they paid players, a club? Should this be considered more of an exhibition game or an actual contest?
GMR: This is an exhibition game against our “rivals” who also call the Rink Exchange home. Junior hockey is a huge category that encompasses a lot from small teams like the Eugene Generals, to teams like the Portland Winterhawks who play in the Western Hockey League with thousands of fans at their games. The Generals are an independent Tier 3 Junior A team, which means that their players pay to play on the team. Most teams at that level have their players pay anywhere from $5-10K for the season. Most of the tier 3 teams play in leagues, but the Generals are currently and independent team, and they will play a variety of teams including U18 teams, other junior teams, and ACHA teams (like the Ducks). Last year we had our first games against the Generals and they were pretty competitive and fans of both teams were able to come to the game and enjoy the top two teams in Eugene play hockey against each other. Both organizations are hoping to work closely together and create some sort of partnership in order to grow the sport in the area.
ATQ: Your first away game is in Cheney against EWU. What does travel look like in a club sport? Do y’all have a team van?
GMR: Our team goes to away games in 12 passenger vans that we get from the University Motorpool. Travel for us (and most club sports teams) means leaving in these vans, having players (usually rookies) drive the vans and arriving to the games/hotels (depending on how early/late we arrive). Occasionally, do longer trips to the likes of LA or Arizona, we will fly there and get rental cars, but usually we just drive the vans to our games. The hope for the team is that we can eventually get a team bus (EWU has one) and that would make travel much easier for the team.
ATQ: I’m sure the fact that the I-5 Cup (I believe that’s what it’s called right? Time to read my own articles!) coincides with the Oregon-Washington football game is no coincidence, do you find that football runover helps your attendance and overall game atmosphere?
GMR: It definitely helps to have the I-5 cup coincide with the football game against the Huskies. We’ve scheduled those games like that for the past few years and usually have a strong fan turnout for them (we’ve even had a few UO frats come to Seattle for the football game and they showed up at our game in Seattle first and it was one of the coolest atmospheres to play in). We are actually planning a special for fans who go to the football game to come to our game after. So stay tuned for more info on that.
ATQ: It seems incredibly grueling to play back-to-back games on a regular basis, how do you properly recover from the previous day’s game?
GMR: I mean, that’s just how most hockey is scheduled for youth and junior hockey. It makes it so that you can play 2 (or 3) games against the opponent in the weekend and makes travel easier since you are getting more games for the travel you are doing. I’d say that proper preparation and recovery is important and that sleep and eating right both before and after the games has a huge impact on recovery and playing multiple games in a weekend. Plus, for most of us, I think that by the time the game starts, the adrenaline takes over, so that helps a lot.
ATQ: What is your roster size?
GMR: I’m the past, it’s been close to 20 players (including goalies) but with an influx of players, we are hoping to have a larger roster that includes some practice players that can step up in the case of an injury or players being unable to travel.
ATQ: How much scouting are you able to do before each game? Does every opponent have film you can watch?
GMR: While not every opponent has game film, most do. The conference has required it this year that all teams stream their games for free, so that helps with watching our opponents and finding weakness and things to exploit and well and adjusting our strategy. Our coaches do a lot of the scouting, and our team President and goalie, Noah Rosenberg will also be helping win scouting this year (he wants to be a professional scout after graduation). In addition to this, the coaches attend a variety of showcases to scout future talent, and have some scouts over the West Coast and Canada that help us scout and recruit talented players.
ATQ: Does every team in the PAC-8 make the PAC-8 playoffs? Also, for those of us who are in the dark and too lazy for a simple google search, which teams are in the PAC-8?
GMR: With the recent expansion, the PAC-8 now has 12 teams and has split into 2 divisions (similar to the PAC-12) the conference playoffs have the top 4 teams from each division. The North division has: UW, WSU, WWU, EWU, Boise St, and UO. While the south has: Cal, USC, UCLA, SDSU, SJSU, and ASU.
ATQ: I heard through the grapevine that you’ll be working with the Winterhawks up in Portland! What are you most excited about with this new opportunity? Do you believe this experience will give you knowledge that you can bring back to the Ducks?
GMR: I’m really excited to be working for the Portland Winterhawks. My goal is to have a career working in hockey, and I see this job as the perfect first step to achieving that. I’ve been a fan of the Winterhawks my whole life, growing up in Portland as a hockey fan, the Winterhawks are the top team in the area. I’m excited to learn a lot about the business side of the sport and be involved in the team that The Hockey News ranked as the most professionally run team in the WHL. I hope to use what I have learned as GM of the Ducks and what I will learn from the Winterhawks to benefit both teams and who grow my knowledge of the sport. To be able to see how one of the top teams in the entire Canadian Hockey League is run, is such a great opportunity.