Junior Jason Gregoire (NYI) enjoyed another stellar season with North Dakota this year and was a key component in the Fighting Sioux’s successful run to the Frozen Four. He appeared in 35 games this season, posting 43 points (25 goals, 18 assists).
Hockey’s Future spoke with Gregoire following North Dakota’s loss to Michigan in the second semi-final game on Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.
Hockey’s Future: Despite this bitter ending to the season, what do you feel have been some of the highlights of the season?
Jason Gregoire: I think there were a lot of them, but college hockey is funny thing because if you don’t win the national championship, it’s considered a bad season. As upset as I am right now, I’m also very proud of our team and what we did accomplish this season such as winning both the WCHA regular season and tournament. We set a lot of goals this year, accomplished a lot of them, but unfortunately came up short on the one we really wanted.
HF: What are some of the things from your great season this year that you’ll be able to take with you moving forward?
JG: I think confidence might be the biggest thing. Every guy in our locker room is a skilled player, so you just have to know your abilities and have the confidence to display them out on the ice because if you don’t, you won’t be making those plays.
HF: What are some of the areas that you’ve personally improved in that you feel has contributed to the success of the team this year?
JG: I think leadership was one of the biggest things, and taking that type of role. Our penalty kill was huge this year and I know that it’s come a long way for me. I think I’ve become more reliable too. It’s nice to have the coaches’ trust and knowing that you have it 100 percent. I think that’s been another thing that has come a long way.
HF: Will you be coming back to North Dakota next year or is there a chance that you’ll be signing with the Islanders?
JG: I haven’t given one second of thought to that. I’ve told everyone that has asked me that I would deal with it hopefully after a win. But unfortunately it’s coming after a loss. There are going to be some decisions to talk about and everyone who needs to be a part of the decision-making process will be involved, and that includes Coach Hakstol. It’ll all be done in the correct way.
HF: In your three years at North Dakota up to this point, what are some of the greatest things that Coach Hakstol has taught you that have made you not only a better player but a better individual as well?
JG: The confidence that he carries within himself has trickled down to me and into my game. Obviously the more opportunities that he gives you, the more confidence you get. And I think that’s been the biggest thing for me. There are a lot of skilled guys on this team that unfortunately might not get those opportunities, but I feel very fortunate that Coach Hakstol has that trust in me. I think that’s brought me a long way over the last three years.