Medicine Hat Tigers’ forward Ryan Hollweg was recently selected to the USA WJC team. Here are his thoughts on the upcoming tournament as well as some interesting things you may not have known about.
Hockey’s Future: Take me back to draft day. Where were you when you heard you were drafted by the Rangers, and what was your reaction?
Ryan Hollweg: I was asleep actually. I got a call from my agent around 8 in the morning, he gave me the news then. I was so excited to be drafted by the Rangers because there is so much history involved in the club and it is great to be a part of it.
Hockey’s Future: Were you disappointed being selected in the 8th round? Was there a certain area in the draft that you expected to be selected in?
Ryan Hollweg: Yes I was dissapointed that I was drafted in the 8th round. I thought I might of gone a bit higher than that. I was thinking around the 4th round but better late than never.
Hockey’s Future: Talk about your game a little bit. What do you bring to the table?
Ryan Hollweg I am a 2 way player. I crash and bang and bury the puck when I have an opportunity and I am a pretty good playmaker.
Hockey’s Future: What would you consider your strengths and weaknesses?
Ryan Hollweg: I am an all around player that can be used in any situation. I have to work on controlling my emotions. I am pretty intense and sometimes it gets me in trouble.
Hockey’s Future: You had an excellent rookie tournament for the Rangers in Kitchener, Ontario in early September. What was the experience like and what do you think you learned from it, if anything?
Ryan Hollweg: It was a great experience. Your first pro camp is always so exciting, you don’t really know what to expect but I had a great time. I learned that there are a lot of players in the Rangers organization and that if I ever want to have a chance to play then I have to out work all of my competitors.
Hockey’s Future: How about training camp? What was that like while you were there?
Ryan Hollweg: Well besides all of the things that happened on Sep. 11, it was great. It was awesome being in the same room as guys like Lindros, Messier, Fleury, etc. The speed was unreal and it was a great experience.
Hockey’s Future: When the Rangers sent you back to Medicine Hat, did they tell you anything specifically that you needed to improve on?
Ryan Hollweg: They told me that I have to work on my cardio a bit, so now I hop on the bike after every practice.
Hockey’s Future: Do you follow the Rangers often? If so, what is your opinion of how the team is playing this season?
Ryan Hollweg: They are playing awesome this year. To me it looks like they are keeping things simple and playing with lots of intensity.
Hockey’s Future: Here in New York, many of the fans who follow the World Junior Championships are very proud to have two players represent the Rangers on Team USA in you and Bryce Lampman. What are your goals for the upcoming tournament?
Ryan Hollweg: My goals are to represent my country to the best of my ability and of course bring home the gold medal.
Hockey’s Future: Rangers assistant General Manager Don Maloney said you played very impressive during Team USA’s evaluation camp in August. Do you think that is when you became a serious contender for a spot on the WJC roster, or do you feel it was your excellent play so far this season, or both?
Ryan Hollweg: I think it was both. I thought I had a very strong camp in August and turned some heads and got the team to notice me. And I think by the way that I have been playing also helped me out. I mean there is nothing special about how I play I just go out and give 110% every time I step on the ice and I get positive results from that.
Hockey’s Future: This being your third season in Medicine Hat, how have you improved each year as you have gotten older? It’s easy to see that you have put up more offensive numbers each year, but is there anything else you have improved on that the average junior hockey follower may not know about?
Ryan Hollweg: Well I have definitely improved on playing my role better. When I first came to the league I wasn’t to sure what my role was, I mean obviously to score but over the years I have learned to be the complete player or at least play like that. To score, set up my linemates and hammer people.
Hockey’s Future: Describe what it is like playing with Jay Bouwmeester, who is considered the top prospect for this year’s 2002 NHL Draft. What is he like, how do you guys get along, and do you enjoy playing with him?
Ryan Hollweg: Jay is a great guy and a great team guy. He is an awesome defencemen and it is great being able to play with someone of his skill. Jay and I get along very well. There is no one on the team that doesn’t get along with him. He is the most humble guy you will ever meet. He just wants to be one of the guys and nothing more.
Hockey’s Future: Other than winning a gold medal at the WJC and winning the Memorial Cup championship, is there any other goals that you have set your eyes on for the remainder of the season?
Ryan Hollweg: My goals for the remainder of the season are to just focus on the things that have gotten me where I am right now and to improve every time I step on the ice.
Family Members: Helen (mom), Victor (dad), Bryce (brother, 17 yrs old)
Greatest advice ever received: Never stop working hard. Work ethic is the best quality you can have.
Who is your favorite NHL player: Joe Sakic
Player that you try to play like: Brendan Shanahan
Favorite thing to do in free time: Hang out with my teammates
Favorite Food: Teriyaki Chicken
Favorite Movie: Road Trip
Best Friend on the team: I like all the guys on my team
Stick Used: Bauer Vapor shafts
Career goals: To play in the NHL
Advice for younger players: Whatever you do, never quit. You can’t let anyone out work you because the second you do, you lose your job