|Jeremy Smith with Surrey prior to be named the captain|
Quinnipiac made a late addition to its 2019-2020 recruiting class with commitment of 1998 born defencemen, Jeremy Smith, a Toronto native who played the past season for the Surrey Eagles and Trail Smoke Eaters in the BCHL. Smith joins a Quinnipiac defensive core that has to replace four departed defencemen which accounted for 96 points on the season. Smith was gracious enough to give to time to talk to the BobcatsHockeyBlog to discuss his commitment, his overall game and what he enjoys off the ice as well. Thanks to Jeremy and enjoy the Q&A.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: First off congratulations. What are your emotions like after making this decision to commit to Quinnipiac for this upcoming fall?
Jeremy Smith: Thank you very much. First and foremost, I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to attend Quinnipiac. When I received the call from head coach Rand Pecknold with the offer, I couldn’t wait to inform my parents. Knowing how much they have supported me throughout my hockey career, none of this could have been possible without them. While I have worked extremely hard up to this point, the opportunity to play for one of the top schools in the nation has given me more motivation than ever. With that motivation, I am really looking forward to training this summer and getting prepared for the upcoming season.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall recruiting process with Quinnipiac. When did they first reach out to you to show their interest in you?
Jeremy Smith: My first contact with Quinnipiac was fairly recently. A few weeks ago I was in contact with associate coach Joe Dumais. We spoke a few times and I ended up coming down on an official visit in the beginning of April. After seeing the university and touring the school and facilities, I quickly knew that Quinnipiac was the place where I wanted to be.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Were there any other Division I programs showing interest in you as a player and if so which ones ?
Jeremy Smith: Throughout the season I had been in contact with a couple. During the BCHL showcase at the beginning of the season I spoke with a small handful of schools and continued contact with them throughout the season, but as I said earlier, once I visited the Quinnipiac campus and went through the facilities I knew instantly that I wanted to be a Bobcat.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall game as a player? From some highlights I’ve seen, you play a physical game with offensive ability as well.
Jeremy Smith: I think as a player I do pride myself on my offensive abilities. I think by watching a lot of what is happening in the National Hockey League today, it is important for defencemen to have the ability to get up in the play and support the forwards offensively. While I would say I am offensive minded, I believe it’s more important to identify the proper times to be offensive and have the ability to know when it is not the right time. I think it is also important for me to bring a certain type of physicality to my game. I know I’ve never been the tallest person on the ice, but I’ll never shy away from throwing my body around a little.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about some of the areas of your game you want to improve upon prior to the season starting next fall?
Jeremy Smith: I know going from juniors to college hockey is a big step. The game is much harder and faster, so I think it will be important to get in the gym and on the ice as much as possible to make sure I’m in the best condition to make the transition. I also think it’s important to be strong mentally and bring the same level of trust and confidence in myself. It will also be important for me to come in with an open mind. Coach Pecknold and the rest of the coaching staff are some of the brightest minds in hockey, so I want to come in, ask a lot of question and learn as much as possible, to make me the best player I can be will be very important as well.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: What type of role does the coaching staff envision for you as a player this season?
Jeremy Smith: Coming in as a 21 year old, I believe I have a certain level of maturity that will be useful on the back end to help some of the younger guys out. Coach explained that he gives opportunities to those who are deserving, so my goal is to come in and show everyone that I can be one of the pieces of the puzzle to help give the team the best chance each game.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: You started with some good midget programs in the Toronto Marlboros and Don Mills Flyers. What was that experience like with two of the better programs in the Ontario province?
Jeremy Smith: I was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to play with both organizations. Playing with the Marlboros and having Paul Coffey, a hall of fame defencemen, as a coach was amazing. In my minor midget year I left the Marlboros to play for the Don Mills Flyers and take on more of a leadership role.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: From there you went to the OJHL with a quick stint in the NAHL before heading to the BCHL. Tell us how that experience was moving between multiple leagues the last few years?
Jeremy Smith: Being from Toronto and starting in the OJHL, I was able to live at home and travel to and from games and practices, which was quite easy. After attending a USHL camp, I was drafted in the first round of the NAHL draft to Philadelphia. I thought it would be worth a try to live away from home and really get the junior hockey experience. After battling with a nagging injury and realizing Philadelphia wasn’t the right fit for me, I decided to finish my year back in the OJHL where I could live back at home and get the proper treatment to get back to being healthy. After the season ended, I was contacted by the head coach of the Trail Smoke Eaters and made my way out west to the BCHL for my last year of juniors. I finished my year with Surrey as the captain, and was able to experience life on the other side of the country. Throughout my junior career I met tons of amazing people and was able to truly get the full junior experience.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: It’s pretty rare to see a player traded mid season to become a team captain but that must speak to your leadership ability. What went into you being named the captain of Surrey late in the year?
Jeremy Smith: When I arrived in Surrey, we had a fairly young team, so I knew coming in I could really help out with the younger guys. Despite the teams record before I arrived, the team was full of extremely talented players. I got the feeling that some of them needed a little guidance. I just tried to stay positive everyday at practice, give advice on the bench, and just always be open and talk with the coaching staff on a daily basis. Despite the season not ending the way we wanted, I enjoyed every second of my time as a Surrey Eagle.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Is there a player in today’s game that you model your game after?
Jeremy Smith: Being from Toronto, I am a die hard Maple Leafs fan. I’ve always enjoyed watching Morgan Reilly play. His offensive ability, power play skill, and vision on the ice is something I really try to mirror on the ice.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Who to this point in your life, would say is your biggest influence to get you to this point of an NCAA Division I commitment?
Jeremy Smith: Without hesitation my dad. If there was ever a time I needed advice or guidance, he was always the first person I’d ask. He is one of the hardest working people in my life, and I try to learn from him as much as I can.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Do you plan to come to Quinnipiac early to work with the strength and conditioning coach and get around the team to acclimate yourself to the environment?
Jeremy Smith: It is something that coach Pecknold brought up during my official visit. Currently, I’m scheduled to attend the Bio Steel summer training program in Toronto, but after speaking with my trainer, we both agreed that coming to Quinnipiac early would be very beneficial and something that I would really like to do. I’m just figuring out which dates would work best.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us what type of person that the Quinnipiac community will get in Jeremy Smith on and off the ice?
Jeremy Smith: On the ice you will get someone who is looking to work hard day in and day out to become the best player I can. I’m very eager to meet everyone on the team and work together to continue the tradition of being one of the top hockey programs in the country. Off the ice you will get someone who is looking to branch out and meet new people on and off the team and someone who will be a positive influence in the classroom and the community.
BobcatsHockeyBlog: What does Jeremy Smith like to do when he is not playing hockey?
Jeremy Smith: I really enjoy being outdoors. About two hours north of Toronto my family has a cottage where I’m always wake-boarding and water-skiing. I also enjoy getting involved in the community and meeting new people.
You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.