OJHL Burlington Cougars

Player Interviews

(2013) Interview with #7 Jonathon Kreis

Jonathon Kreis, Defence #7

Hometown: Georgetown, ON

 

What do you think the strongest part of your game is?

 

Probably my defensive side of the game, I’m not really an offensive defenceman.  I can protect the front of the net and make the first pass.

 

 

What is your favourite sport besides Hockey?

 

Probably football.  I really enjoy watching it, I cheer for Green Bay.

 

 

Is there a player on this team that you try to emulate or look up to?

 

Gavin Shantz.  He has really taken me in, introduced me to all the guys.  He also shows me what I am doing wrong, really helps me work on my game. 

 

 

What do you like to do to take your mind off of hockey?

 

Working out.   There is a gym in Georgetown I really enjoy going to.

 

 

Is there a current player who you model your game after?

 

Cougar Alumni, Kevin Bieksa.  He is not the biggest defenceman but he is very physical and aggressive.  He is not offensive, like myself, but a really defensive defenceman. 

 

 

What is something that players and fans don’t know about you?

 

I played for the Blyth prep team until Christmas.  After Christmas I signed with the Cougars. 

 

 

What is your favourite movie?

 

Top Gun.

(2013) Interview with #16 Cooper Richards

Cooper Richards, Forward #16

Hometown: Hamilton, ON

 

What do you think the strongest part of your game is?

 

Playing two-way hockey.  Playing good defensive hockey and then going to the other end to create chances for myself and my teammates.

 

 

What is your favourite sport besides Hockey?

 

Golf and baseball.  I follow the Giants, they were hard to watch last year.

 

 

Who is the player on this team that you work best with?

 

Jeremy Gottzman.  I look up to him as a player and I try to play like he does.  He plays good two-way hockey.  We skated on the ice a lot together this summer so we built some chemistry together. 

 

 

What do you like to do to take your mind off of hockey?

 

Drinking my coconut water behind the bench by myself.  When I kind of turn around and sit there with my head between my legs and regroup after a tough shift. 

 

 

Is there a current player who you model your game after?

 

Todd Bertuzzi (Detroit Red Wings).  I know that he is big and strong and he fights a lot, probably better than I can, but he is a goal scorer and one of the top shootout guys for the Redwing right now.

 

 

What is something that players and fans don’t know about you?

 

I am a softie.  I am a mama’s boy. 

 

 

What is your favourite movie?

 

Dumb and Dumber

 

 

You are pretty big on the social media scene, do you enjoy that, does it take up a lot of your time?

 

For sure.  I like to look on twitter all the time to see what other guys are tweeting about or how their games went, what the OJHL is talking about.

(2013) Interview with #19 Jeremy Gottzman

Jeremy Gottzman, Forward #19

Hometown: Burlington, ON

 

Is there a current NHL player who you model your game after?

 

I would have to say Tyler Kennedy.  He is a smaller player in the NHL.  He’s a speedy guy who works his tail off every game.  He gets the occasional goal and assist but he’s more known for his hard work and his grittiness.  I think that I bring that with my game.

 

 

What aspect of your game are you working the hardest to improve?

 

Probably my defensive play.  I’m working on my stick-handling as well but mostly my two-way game and not just worrying about offence, worrying about the defensive zone first.

 

 

What is the best part of the NHL Lockout being over?

 

You get to watch hockey again.  There is nothing better after a game than going home and watching the highlights and having that dream of maybe one day playing with those guys or playing in that kind of league.  It gives you a little bit more drive and inspiration.  You need hockey, you need hockey on the TV, it’s awesome to have it back.

 

 

How do you stay focused during a game?

 

I just focus on one shift at a time, doing the little things right.  If I feel like I’m wandering out of the game, if my mind is wandering a bit, then I try to go out and make a big hit or make a big play to get the guys going.  That gets me going as well. 

 

 

Any Superbowl predictions, Ravens or 49ers?

 

Hopefully the Ravens.  Ray Lewis is an inspirational person so I hope he gets that last win for his career. 

 

 

How do you spend your free time?

 

I like to hang out with my friends.  I have a good relationship with a bunch of guys on the team.  Camaraderie with a hockey team is a huge part of it when you’re away from the rink, not just at the rink.  That is a huge part of my life.

 

 

What are you trying to achieve by playing with the Cougars?

 

I want to get noticed and get an offer from a University and play CIS hockey and hopefully have a pro career somewhere over in Europe in the long run. 

 

 

If you could play on a line with any two other players, who would they be?

 

Pavel Datsyuk would be one.  He is a magician with the puck.  He will turn one way toward a guy will be out of the play and then throw a saucer right across the ice onto someone’s stick.  I have to say Sidney Crosby as the other player.  He is the best player in the world, anyone can argue he is not but I’ve seen him play live and he is like a robot on the ice.  Everything he does is perfect.  Playing with him would make anyone a better player. 

 

 

Is there anything else that fans should know about you?

 

I think that they should know that I am a passionate hockey player.  I really care about the team and my teammates.  Hockey is a huge part of my life, it always has been and I think that it always will be.  I hope fans know that we are still working hard to finish the season off strong and make a playoff run.

(2013) Interview with #24 Tyler Mayea

Tyler Mayea, Defence #24

Hometown: Burlington, ON

 

What do you think the strongest part of your game is?

 

I think I make a good first pass and I also think that I skate very well for my size.  I am fairly mobile for my height and weight. 

 

 

What is your favourite sport besides Hockey?

 

Lacrosse.  I played until about two years ago.  My little brothers still play so I like to watch their games in the summer.

 

 

Who is the player on this team that you work best with?

 

I like playing with Gavin Shantz.  He is my D partner right now.  I don’t know why but I think we have good chemistry and we move the puck well.  We get the puck out of our end and we play well on both ends of the ice. 

 

 

What do you like to do to take your mind off of hockey?

 

Just hanging out with the boys.  Going to movies, anything away from the rink.  I spend time with the boys and with my family. 

 

 

Is there a current player who you model your game after?

 

Probably Jay Bouwmeester (Calgary Flames) or Eric Gudbranson (Florida Panthers).  I am a similar size and I can move the puck similar to them and that is who I try to play like. 

 

 

What is something that players and fans don’t know about you?

 

I am a Type-1 diabetic.  Most people don’t know that but I found out about that almost a year ago.

 

 

What is your favourite movie?

 

Django Unchained was a pretty good one.

(2013) Interview with #27 Alex Landry

Alex Landry, Forward #27

Hometown: Gatineau, PQ

 

Is there a current NHL player who you model your game after?

 

I try to be like Brian Gionta, because of his (lack of) size and everything so I look up to him a lot.  I try to play like him.  He’s always intense, always the first on the puck and a good shot. 

 

What kinds of things do you do to get ready for a game?

 

I always have the same routine.  I like to take a two or a three hour nap before a game and I always eat lasagna and a salad.

 

What is your favourite sport other than Hockey to play or to watch?

 

Probably Boxing.  I really enjoy watching boxing.  I used to love Roy Jones Jr.  Now I love Lucian Bute. He’s from Montreal and that’s where I’m from.

 

How do you spend your free time?

 

Workout, hang out with my friends and family.

 

What do you want to achieve by playing for the Cougars?

 

Hopefully getting more exposure to schools.

 

How do you stay focused during a game?

 

I just talk to myself.  I get really emotional so I try to talk and calm myself down and follow the gameplan.

 

Do you have a favourite place to eat in Burlington?

 

Blossom City, in downtown Burlington.  It’s a good Chinese food place. 

 

Is there anything else that the fans should know about you?

 

Well if nobody knows yet, I’m French.  So that is my first-language.

(2013) Interview with #31 Alex Murray

Alex Murray, Goaltender #31

Hometown: Burlington, ON

 

 

Is there a current NHL player who you model your game after?

 

I really like the style of Jonathan Quick.  He is a quick, agile goalie and competes for every puck so I like to model my game after him

 

 

What aspect of your game are you working the hardest to improve?

 

My rebound control and being squared up on every shot.  Sometimes I tend to overplay some shots and attack the puck to much, which gets me out of position.  I don’t want to give up any goals that way so my team the best chance to win.

 

 

What is the best part of the NHL Lockout being over?

 

Hockey every night.  There are three or four games on at 7pm and late games until 1 or 2am, lots of good games to watch.

 

 

How do you stay focused during a game?

 

I try not to let in any outside distractions.  Sometimes you can’t control your emotions but I try hard to keep them in check.  I stay focused on stopping the puck and not let anything external interfere with me playing the game. 

 

 

Any Superbowl predictions, Ravens or 49ers?

 

I like the Ravens.  I would like to see Ray Lewis go out on top.  He is one of the best leaders in sports so hopefully he can finish of his career in style. 

 

 

How do you spend your free time?

 

A couple of guys on our team we like playing NHL 2013 and so we games against each other.  Landry is a guy who I play a lot, we have had some tough battles and they get heated sometimes. 

 

 

If you could face any player in a penalty shot, who would it be?

 

From the OJHL, Jeremy Gottzman on our team is pretty good or Shane Conacher who is now with St. Michaels.  Shane and I used to do shootouts a lot and we’d always have long battles before practice.  We’ll play him again so hopefully he doesn’t get a penalty shot but if he does then we’ll see how I do against him.  An NHL player would be Jussi Jokinen from the Carolina Hurricanes, who does the Peter Forsberg Move, or Matt Hendrix on the Washington Capitals.  They all have their signature move so I would like to see if I could not fall for it and make the stop.

 

 

Is there anything else that fans should know about you?

 

I love to battle and I like to compete for every puck.  I hate losing so I’m probably harder on myself than anyone else when I let in goals.  I don’t care if we win 6-5 or 1-0 as long as we win I am satisfied.

(2013) Interview with #44 Adam Glynn

Adam Glynn, Defenceman #44

Hometown, Brampton ON

 

Is there a current NHL player who you model your game after?

 

I try to model my game after Michael Del Zotto of the New York Rangers.  He is good in his defensive end and he can contribute offensively and that’s the way try to play my game. 

 

What kinds of things do you do to get ready for a game?

 

Just pretty much the same structure each game.  Come to the game, warm up, do some stick-handling, and get ready to play.

 

What is your favourite sport to watch other than Hockey?

 

I like watching basketball the best.  It’s pretty exciting and I like the highlight reel dunks.

 

How do you spend your free time?

 

I’m a full-time student at U of T so I really don’t have any spare time but probably playing pick-up basketball with some of the people at my residence.

 

What do you want to achieve by playing for the Cougars?

 

To be a Top-4 Defenceman, to play in a variety of situations and hopefully to impress scouts either in the NCAA or the CIS to take my game to the next level.

 

How do you stay focused during a game?

 

I’m just trying to relax out there.  If I make a bad play I just come to the bench and do some nice controlled breathing.  Try and focus on the things I did right on my shift so I can keep playing good hockey.

 

Do you have a favourite place to eat in Burlington?

 

I’m not really from Burlington.  I’d say Eastside Mario’s in Brampton.

(2013) Interview with #71 Tyler Vankleef

Tyler Vankleef, Forward #71

Hometown: Hamilton, ON

 

Is there a current NHL player who you model your game after?

 

Dave Boland comes to mind as first choice for a player that I admire.  Kind of an all-around player.  He is scoring goals, he’s on the powerplay, he’s on the penalty kill, he’s always finishing checks.  That is what I try to do so he is a player that I admire. 

 

What kinds of things do you do to get ready for a game?

 

Usually I do the exact same preparation before each game.  The way that I go warm up, the way that I dress before a game, pretty much the way I do everything.

 

What is your favourite sport other than Hockey?

 

Golf.  I do a lot of golfing during the summer when I’m not working out.  It’s helps my concentration and relaxation too.

 

How do you spend your free time?

 

Just working out.  I try to work on my fitness as much as I can.  Lots of healthy eating and working out is what I do.

 

What do you want to achieve by playing for the Cougars?

 

I want to get this team as far as we can go, in the playoffs especially.  Also, try and get somewhere with school and hockey at the same time, that’s the main goal.

 

How do you stay focused during a game?

 

I try to block everything out, especially noise going around.  I try to concentrate on what is going on in the game, take deep breaths all the time, and just focus on the task at hand.

 

Do you have a favourite place to eat in Burlington?

 

The Keg.

 

Is there anything else that the fans should know about you?

 

I’m in Burlington a lot of my spare time too, my sister lives here so I’m always here.  I have a lot of friends who live in Burlington also, so I’m always in Burlington.

(2013) Player Profile: #8 Mike Sones

February 24, 2013

 

 

With a post-season berth locked up and no chance to alter their place in the standings it would seem that there is nothing left to do but practice hard and prepare for a first round series against the South/West Conference’s #1 seed.  But as Cougars fans eagerly await the start of the OJHL playoffs, a large number of players also find themselves in the midst of another important season.

 

One look at the OJHL’s homepage, which features NCAA and CIS commitment news, will give you an idea of how many players are trying to make long-term decisions about schools, education and life in general.

 

Enter Cougars Forward Mike Sones.  Next season will bring a lot of change to the life of this scrappy two-way player, including a move to Erie, Pennsylvania and enrollment at Mercyhurst College where Sones accepted a scholarship offer back in October.

 

“I need to get my schooling done at Seneca (in preparation) for next year,” said Sones.  “I have to take some classes to get my way into Mercyhurst and I just have to focus in on that.”

 

Mike, however, is far from distracted.  He is a young man who shows a tremendous amount of maturity in his approach to can be a potentially overwhelming time for those moving on from Junior Hockey to Collegiate Hockey. 

 

Whether a Burlington Cougar or Mercyhurst Laker, Sones knows the key to his improvement is focusing on the task at hand and letting the future take care of itself, “I need to make sure that I play good hockey, consistent hockey.”

 

Asked specifically about his goals for the playoffs, Sones stated that he is determined to be a ‘plus’ player: “You don’t want to be in the playoffs and every time you are on the ice the opponent is scoring a goal on you.  That doesn’t feel right and it doesn’t give you confidence... playing good defence is my goal for the playoffs.  The offence will take care of itself.”

 

Still, it is not just personal success that is on Sones’ mind.  Mike is focused on being a good teammate and filling his role on the Cougars, this is the way that he believes his team will find playoff success, by relying on each other.

 

“We feed off each other,” said Sones.  “When things start off well we start to click.  If feel like if we have that mentality in the playoffs we are going to surprise a lot of people and turn a lot of heads.”

 

For Sones, last week’s thrilling shootout victory on the road against the Oakville Blades was a sign of the team’s focus and their preparedness for a tough first round playoff series. 

 

The situation in Oakville was close to critical.  With Mississauga closing in on the final playoff spot, occupied by the Cougars, Burlington found itself down 1-2 on the road after two periods.  But it was worse than that.  In a very fast paced game the Cougars were being outshot almost two-to-one (29-16) and spent the majority of the first 40 minutes on the Penalty Kill. 

 

The message in the locker room was one of calm and intelligence, characteristics that have become a fixture under cool influences like Sones, Jeremy Gottzman and Assistant Coach C.J. Morrison.

 

“We settled down. We came in the room and just said, ‘hey boys we just have to relax and play the way we know how to play, play simple.’  That’s all that hockey is playing simple, playing your systems, playing them right and playing them effectively.  I feel like that is what we did in the second and third period.  Then we turned it around with a shootout win with Gottzy scoring... it felt really good.”

 

But it wasn’t just the huge 3-2 comeback win and an important 2 points that had Sones singing his team’s praises, it was the way that the Cougars turned on the jets when they needed to, showing the intensity and smarts needed to win when everything is on the line.

 

“You have got to have the right mentality going into the playoffs,” said Sones.  “You want to push, push, you want to keep pushing.  The teams that want to push hard are going to go far in the playoffs.  Look at the LA Kings last year, they pushed their way into the playoffs and they pushed their way into the Stanley Cup Finals.  That’s what we have to do.”

 

Even with relocation and a new academic challenge on the horizon, Sones is prepared to push as hard as he can for his current team.  Mike believes that the Cougars’ early transition to playoff hockey will help them drive deep into the playoffs.  Naturally, such a team oriented player knows that it will be his entire team and coaching staff pushing along with him that will ensure big things for Burlington.

 

“We have the good leadership of Jeremy Gottzman...and C.J. on the coaching staff,” two guys that Sones is “really looking forward to (seeing) help the team.” 

 

The rest of us will be watching Mike, knowing that he has the potential to be a difference-maker for the Cougars.  With his level-head and obvious maturity, Mikes Sones’ teammates will also be looking to him to help lead their playoff charge in this, his final season before moving on to what will surely be athletic and academic success in Pennsylvania. 

(2013) Player Profile: #19 Jeremy Gottzman

February 13, 2012

 

 

Perhaps as much as any player in the Burlington Cougars locker room, Jeremy Gottzman understands his team, his teammates and what it means to be a Junior Hockey player.

 

Thanks to some very gritty on-ice efforts over the past week the Cougars can reasonably expect to be a part of the OJHL’s post-season.  But speaking with Jeremy for just a few minutes about his approach to the game reveals a player who will not allow playoff scenarios or a lack thereof to alter his mindset. 

 

“Every game, I want to win every game,” was the cryptic, but telling answer that Gottzman provided when asked if a chance to play in the playoffs provided him with extra motivation.  “You work hard and you come out to play every game no matter if you’re in last place in the league or you’re in first place.  You have got to want to win every game or you shouldn’t be playing hockey.”

 

Gottzman’s intensity is obvious in from his direct and forceful replies as well as the leadership that he provides both on the ice and in the locker room.  He is routinely the first player to lay a big hit, to rush headlong into a forecheck or try to pick his teammates after a loss or between periods.

 

Clearly there is pressure on this team captain to provide the push that his team sometimes requires to help tip the balance in win/loss column.  This is a challenge that he readily accepts: “I think that my job as the captain is to be the voice in the room.  I think that all the guys look up to me.  Being the captain means extra responsibility, you have to make sure that everyone is focused.” 

 

The team’s performance during the last few weeks of the season and the kind of wins they have been able to collect are a reflection of both its captain and the skills he brings to the ice: grittiness, tenacity, defensive responsibility, confidence and hockey intelligence.  All qualities that the Cougars will need to make the playoffs and find success once they get there.

 

But if you take the time to dig beneath the surface of the on-ice success the Cougars have found this season you will find that Jeremy also accepts the added responsibility of leading young men and being a person that they can lean on when life looms large over hockey. 

 

“Sometimes people don’t realize that we are a bunch of kids playing a game and there are bigger things in life than hockey,” says Gottzman.

 

Jeremy’s teammates know to come to him when they need help, no matter what the problem.  

 

One younger player that Gottzman believes Cougar fans should keep their eye on in the coming years is rookie defenceman Adam Burnett. 

 

Gottzman didn’t hesitate to point out that Burnett, who had his breakout game of the season just a few days ago against Hamilton (2G, 1A), has the potential to be a great hockey player.  “If (Burnett) keeps working on his game and growing from being a rookie to being a veteran in the next couple of years he’s going to have a real good thing going... he’s got the size to play pro hockey, he’s got the skills, he just has to build up that confidence.” 

 

It bodes well for Adam Burnett’s future that Burlington Cougars have Jeremy.  A player that the Cougars can rally around.  A player that can help his entire team cultivate the confidence it will need to find continued success, this year and beyond.  A player that knows how to be a captain.

(2013) Player Profile #52 Brett Coulson

February 15, 2013

 

 

Last season, Brett Coulson’s first with the Burlington Cougars, was a learning experience for the sizeable 6’4 forward from Port Elgin, ON. 

 

After registering 9 goals in 32 games during the 2011/2012 regular season, Coulson came into his own during the team’s most important stretch, their playoff run. 

 

In just nine playoff games Coulson tallied three goals and appeared to be hitting his stride as an offensive threat.   After a full off-season of training, Coulson set his personal goal for this season: Become a consistent offensive threat for the Cougars.

 

Unfortunately for Brett and his team a variety of injuries have forced him to miss several games and, to an extent, sapped his development.  “I was hoping to be a “point a game” type of player but injury kind of changed my season,” said Coulson.  “My goals changed to being a good all-around player on both offence and defence.”  

 

Making it through such a difficult season would be tough for any player and Coulson is no exception.  Luckily, Brett has the backing of his hometown, as he always has. 

 

“I’ve had support my whole life playing hockey.  A lot of family and a lot of friends supported me growing up in a small town.” 

 

That continued support will serve Brett well as he works hard to improve his on-ice confidence.  Coulson believes that he “has the skill needed to put up better offensive numbers,” but the key to his development will be “taking more shots and more risks.”

 

Brett appears to have found his feet in the last few games, putting up 3 goals in the Cougars last three contests.  If anything, this recent success has made him even more aware of the contribution that he provided last post-season. 

 

Coulson believes that he will be able to put up goals for the Cougars when it matters the most.  “I’m hoping to do a lot better than that this year,” said Coulson.  “I had a lot of fun last playoffs and I’m going to do that again this year.” 

 

The Cougars will be counting on Coulson to be a difference-maker as they prepare to face one of the OJHL’s top teams in the first round of the playoffs, a reality that does not faze Coulson in the least: “I know that we can play with every team... if we want it bad enough.”

 

While Brett has the attitude of a player who wants badly to help his team win, he also has the quiet demeanor of a player who is playing for the people who helped him get to this position.  

 

“I wouldn’t be where I am without the Cougars coaching staff and my family.”

 

 

Nick Longaphy

(2013) Player Profile: #71 Tyler Vankleef

January 21, 2013

With the Burlington Cougars just a handful of wins away from clinching a spot in the OJHL Playoffs, the team finds itself in need of a player to step up in a big way.  The trade of Shane Conacher has left a hole on the Cougars top line, as well as minutes on the powerplay and penalty kill that need to be capably filled.  With Conacher’s Junior ‘A’ career ending at the conclusion of this season when he heads to the NCAA, it was only a matter of time until a new player was asked to occupy the vacancy beside first line stalwarts Jeremy Gottzman and Tyler Lepore.

 

One of the players being given an opportunity to emerge is 20 year old Tyler Van Kleef of Hamilton.  Vankleef came to Burlington in the offseason after spending three years with the Stoney Creek Warriors of the Junior ‘B’ Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.  While with the Warriors, Vankleef was a part of the 2010 Golden Horseshoe Conference Champions who defeated St. Catherines Falcons by winning three straight road playoff games and on their way to a 4-2 series victory.  Vankleef believes that playing a part in the success of that team gives him even more to offer the Cougars as an all-around threat.       

 

As much as any player, Vankleef understands what the departure of Conacher means for this team and what he must do to help his teammates succeed.  “Obviously (the trade) is a good thing and it is a bad thing.  We are losing a good player who was a part of this team.  We are going to have to overcome that now because we can’t do anything about it, he’s gone... there is a lot of opportunity for a lot of guys, especially myself.”

 

When asked specifically what he needed to do for his team, Vankleef didn’t hesitate to provide a clear, deliberate answer: “Leading by example.”  Vankleef recognizes that with under a month left in the season and facing a likely first round matchup with a top team, leading will mean a lot more than contributing offensively.  “Getting very far with Stoney Creek...going to the Ontario finals, I feel like I bring some experience.”  Part of that experience is being put to use on the penalty kill, where Tyler is seeing more minutes and believes that the opportunity is making him a better player.  “I feel good about (playing more minutes).  I wasn’t a very big part of the penalty kill but now I’m being used a little bit more which is obviously a good thing, it helps me on my game.”  Even late in the season the continued development of a seasoned player like Vankleef is going to be a huge part of any post-season success for the Cougars. 

 

The positive influence that a player like Vankleef can offer the team at practice and in the locker room is another way for the emerging winger to assist a young, promising team as they make a push into the playoffs.  If his optimism during this past week is any indication of what to expect during this final month of the season then Cougar fans could be in for a deep drive into the playoffs: “I feel like we are coming together more as a team and I feel like we are going to see that progress into wins.  It’s very crucial that we start playing playoff hockey now because when we get into that playoff spot and we are obviously going to play a higher team, so we need to be playing playoff hockey before it starts so that we are ready and prepared.”

 

Nick Longaphy