|CJ McGee (photo by Shreveport Mudbugs of NAHL)|
Quinnipiac recently picked up another tri-state area player along with a former Don Bosco Prep (NJ) player in Shreveport Mudbugs (NAHL) defenseman CJ McGee. A native of Pearl River, New York, McGee is in his first season with Shreveport after being a tender by them at the end of the last season. He is currently tied for the team lead in scoring with 24 points in 29 games from the blue line including 9 power play points. Thanks to CJ for taking the time out of his busy hockey schedule to do this Q&A for the BobcatsHockeyBlog.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: First off congratulations. What are your emotions like after making the decision to commit to Quinnipiac?
CJ McGee: Thank you and I am just very thankful for the opportunity and very excited to be committed to a great program.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall recruiting process with Quinnipiac. When did they first start to show interest in you as a player? Have you had a chance to visit the University and the hockey facilities and if so what are your thoughts?
CJ McGee: Well I played for the North Jersey Avalanche so the coaching staff had seen me play a few times. Then I moved to Louisiana to play and met head coach Rand Pecknold at a showcase in Blaine, Minnesota. From there, I began a relationship with coach Joe Dumais. I also have been up to the school a few times before they began to recruit me and I loved the campus and the area around it. I was also very impressed with the hockey facilities.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Did any other NCAA schools start to show interest in you and if so which ones and what separated Quinnipiac from those other schools?
CJ McGee: A few schools did but out of respect for those schools I prefer to keep them private. But Quinnipiac stood out to me because of the level of the staff is unmatched compared to other schools. It was also very clear how much time, not only the coaches, but the video guy and the trainer put in to make sure the guys are in the best possible position to succeed.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Last year you played a full season with North Jersey Avalanche after graduating from Don Bosco Prep the prior year. What went into the decision to play midgets as an 18/19 yr old?
CJ McGee: Well I actually played with the Avalanche the whole time I was at Don Bosco and I decided to finish my last year of midgets before playing juniors because I had a great coaching staff with the Avalanche.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: After playing with the Avalanche you were tendered with Shreveport in the North American Hockey League. What went into signing the tender with the Mudbugs? Did other leagues show interest in you as well and what separated the NAHL from those other leagues if that was the case?
CJ McGee: Shreveport was one of the first teams to show interest in me, and then from there I went down to Shreveport to meet the coaching staff and see the rink. When I watched a game and saw the atmosphere with the fans and the players it was just something I wanted to be a part of and that was how I made my decision.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: You have gotten off a to a good start with Shreveport going 7-17-24 in 29 games. What do you attribute to this hot start and how has the level of play been for you in the NAHL this season?
CJ McGee: Well I struggled early when I got here before the season started. After playing a couple of pre-season games, I got more of a feel for the speed of the game and then our team has a ton of really good players that make it easy to play with and they have helped me with the start I have had.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall game as a player. Are you a defenseman leans more towards being an offensive defenseman more than a stay at home defenseman? What would you say your strengths are as a player?
CJ McGee: I always struggled with skating but I started working with a skating coach the past two years that has helped me a lot and allowed me to get more offensive but I still play a pretty defensive game. My biggest strength as a player from what I have been told is my IQ and my ability to see the ice well.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: When are you set to enroll at Quinnipiac? Will it be for 2019-2020 or 2020-21?
CJ McGee: Right now that is currently undecided.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: What are some of the areas of your game that you want to improve upon prior to enrolling at Quinnipiac?
CJ McGee: I always just want to work on my skating and my ability to move the puck up ice as fast as I can.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: You at played at Don Bosco which has seen former and current players like John Campomenosi and Liam McLinskey commit to Quinnipiac as well. How good has the level of hockey improved in the New York/New Jersey area say the last five plus years?
CJ McGee: The area around New York, New Jersey including Pennsylvania and Connecticut has been on a steady incline in the level of play as far as I know.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: You a Pearl River, New York native which is the same hometown as Liam McLinskey another recent Bobcat commit. Can you tell us what Quinnipiac is getting in him as a player and does it make it easier committing to Quinnipiac knowing that guys you played with will also be joining you?
CJ McGee: He is a great player and he actually happens to be my cousin so it definitely helps knowing he will be going there as well.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Is there a player in the game today that you try to model your game after?
CJ McGee: Not necessarily. I just try to play a sound game defensively and join the offense as much as I see fit.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: To this point in your life who has been the biggest influence to get to achieving an NCAA Division I opportunity?
CJ McGee: I would say my father as he was drafted in the NHL and pushes me to be my best.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: What should the Quinnipiac community expect from you as a person on and off the ice?
CJ McGee: They should expect me to be the best person I can be off the ice and the best player i can on the ice.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: What does CJ McGee like to do when he is not playing hockey?
CJ McGee: I like to spend time with my family and hang out with my friends or play a little Xbox with them.
You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.
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