|Skyler Brind'Amour during his time with USA Hockey (photo by USA Hockey)|
Quinnipiac picked up its most recent commit from a player with a famous last name in the hockey world. Skyler Brind'Amour the son of current Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour who played 20 years in the NHL gave a verbal commitment to Quinnipiac for the 2019-2020 season. Coming off his first season of junior hockey with the Chilliwack Chiefs, Brind'Amour was gracious enough to give the BobcatsHockeyBlog some time for a Q&A to discuss his recruitment, his overall game and growing up in a hockey family with an NHL player for a father. Thanks again to Skyler for this interview and once again welcome to Bobcat Nation.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: First off congratulations. What are you emotions like now that you have made this decision to commit to Quinnipiac?
Skyler Brind'Amour: Thanks and I am just excited to be a part of Quinnipiac. It's a great school and has an awesome hockey tradition so I am just very excited.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: This isn't your first time committing to a Division I program as you were previously committed to Michigan State. What went into the decision to move away from the commitment to them, especially with it being the school where your father went? Was it a mutual decision?
Skyler Brind'Amour: After the season I just sat down with my family and it was in my best interest to re-open up my recruitment and decommit from Michigan State and I just felt like Quinnipiac is a better fit for me to develop as a person and player.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: After you re-opened your recruitment, did other schools besides Quinnipiac reach out to you? When was the first time that Quinnipiac reached out to you?
Skyler Brind'Amour: Yes, there were a couple of schools, but after a couple days I heard from Quinnipiac and it was a place I knew I wanted to be, so it worked out for the best.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Have you taken a visit yet to the Quinnpiac campus and if so what are your thoughts on it?
Skyler Brind'Amour: Yes. I went a couple years ago and was very impressed with the campus and hockey facilities!
BobcatsHockeyBlog: You grew up in a hockey family with your father being Flyers and Hurricanes great and current head coach of the Hurricanes in Rod Brind'Amour, but you really didn't grow up in a hockey crazed area. What is the youth hockey like in North Carolina and how did you feel it impacted your development as a player?
Skyler Brind'Amour: I played all the way up in Raleigh, until my U-18 year, for the Junior Hurricanes and it was awesome. Everyone always think we didn't have a good program but we were actually one of the best teams growing up as we played all the top teams and we were right there with the best of them. I was lucky enough to have great coaches and teammates to help me out. So it was really good for my development I feel.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: You then moved to the South Kent School to play for the U-18 Selects program in 2016-17 and also had some time with the United States National Developmental Program. What was that experience like for your development?
Skyler Brind'Amour: It was really good being able to workout and get on the ice everyday was huge at South Kent and playing for the National Developmental Program for a couple games was an honor. Just seeing the best kids at my age level and how they handle themselves, was a huge experience and something that I won't ever forget.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: You spent the last year with the Chilliwack Chiefs and won the RBC cup but didn't put up huge offensive numbers as you finished the season with 24 points in 52 games. Was there an adjustment to junior hockey and how do you think you would assess your first year of junior hockey?
Skyler Brind'Amour: I think anytime you transition to a new league it takes some time obviously to adjust. I would have liked to have been better offensively throughout the year but feel like at the end of the season in the RBC Cup it started to come around a little bit for me.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall game as a player? What are some of your strengths?
Skyler Brind'Amour: I think I'm a smart player that makes plays and plays both ends of the ice. I have the ability to win face offs and is someone who plays hard.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: What areas in your game do you think you need to improve upon as a player?
Skyler Brind'Amour: I feel I need to use my frame better with just using my size to hang on to pucks and the other thing is just my pace. I want to be able to sustain speed through the whole shift.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: What are your plans for next year? Is another season of junior hockey going to happen for you to improve as a player?
Skyler Brind'Amour: I plan on going back to Chilliwack to develop one more year before heading to Quinnipiac.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: You were recently drafted by Fargo in the Phase II Draft. Are there any plans to try to make the Force out of training camp or is Chilliwack set in stone for 2018-2019?
Skyler Brind'Amour: No. Chilliwack is set in stone for me for next season.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: What was it like growing up with a father in Rod Brind'Amour who was one of the star players in the 1990's and early 2000's?
Skyler Brind'Amour: It was pretty cool just learning from him what it takes to be a hockey player and being able to go in locker room after games and see other guys and what they do was definitely something I am very thankful for.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: His physical fitness was a big thing that contributed to his 20 years in the NHL. How much has he taught you about that and is it something that you take very seriously?
Skyler Brind'Amour: Yes. It's definitely something I take seriously as he just always taught me to not be out worked because that's something you can control so I've taken that to heart and he is always pushing me to be my best.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: The Edmonton Oilers selected you in the 6th round of the 2017 draft. What was that experience like and are you expected to go to their development camp this year?
Skyler Brind'Amour: It was a dream come true. I was very honored to be taken by such a great organization. And yes I will be attending this years developmental camp.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: You have been to an Edmonton camp before last summer. What do those camps entitle and how much can you learn in such a short period of time?
Skyler Brind'Amour: I learned a lot last year from the developmental camp. I think the key is just taking in all the information and the little tidbits the coaches tell you.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Is there any player that you try to model your game after?
Skyler Brind'Amour: No not really one guy. I watch a lot of NHL hockey and like to pick up little things from a bunch of players and try to implement them into my game, the best I can.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: To this point in your life who has been your biggest influence or role model to help you get this opportunity?
Skyler Brind'Amour: I would say my dad. He's just been someone I've always looked up to as a player but more importantly as a person. And he's taught me so much, so I'm just very thankful for all he's done for me.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us what type of person the Quinnipiac community will get in Sklyer Brind'Amour on and off the ice?
Skyler Brind'Amour: I'm just a quiet guy that works hard and loves to compete.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Off the ice what do you enjoy doing when you are not playing hockey?
Skyler Brind'Amour: I just like being outside and active playing all kinds of sports. I am a big basketball player away from hockey so love doing that.
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