Hockey’s Future recently caught up with Adam Henrich of the Brampton Battalion after the team’s practice last Saturday. Henrich, an 18-year-old left winger from Thornhill, Ontario, is ranked 12th among North American skaters in the CSS’s mid-season prospect rankings. Henrich, with 21 goals and 26 assists in 46 games, is having a breakout second season in the Ontario Hockey League and is headed to Saskatoon for this week’s CHL Top Prospects Game. Here’s what he had to say.
HF: First of all, Adam, a big win last night, going into a pretty crazy barn (London) and getting two points against a team you’ll be fighting with for a playoff spot. What’s the feeling in the dressing room now, when the team getting on a roll late in the season, especially with a few key players out of the lineup?
AH: Well, you know, we’ve got about four injuries, and all four guys are really important parts of our team, so these two last games were a big four points. We went into London last night, London’s a really good team and we got the win. We needed that; it was a four-point game and we’ve moved ahead of them now. It was a big win, hopefully we can continue that streak, everyone will keep going and do whatever we have to do to get the two points every game.
HF: So you’re playing in the CHL Top Prospects Game this week, a game where you’ll no doubt be watched by a lot of scouts and GM’s. What’s going through your mind about playing in that game?
AH: Well yeah – that’s coming close, and you always get a little nervous before big games like that, but I’ve had to keep it in the back of mind until it comes. Now, it’s here, there’s only one more game before that game, and I’m just so excited for it, I can’t wait for it. It’s been a dream of mine for a while – my brother played in that game four years ago, and it’s a real honour to be a part of it. I’m just hoping that everything will work out, and that I’ll play well in it.
HF: Feeling any pressure?
AH: Yeah – you always feel a little pressure, but you just try to not think about the scouts, don’t think too much about anything. Just go out and play your game, work hard, and hopefully everything’ll work out fine.
HF: You mentioned your brother, and that’s one advantage that you do have, that he played in the game also. What types of things has he told you about handling all the attention leading up to the draft and leading up to the game?
AH: He’s just said to go out and play your game, just do whatever you can to play well. Not to worry about the scouts – that the draft will soon come and not to worry about that. Worry about helping your team win – not any of that other stuff.
HF: Looking at yourself a little bit; what’s the main difference between Adam Henrich as a rookie and Adam Henrich in his second year?
AH: There’s a huge difference. In the summer I went and I improved my skating. When I went out in the summer I knew what I had to do to come better prepared for my second season, and I just went out and did it. So far it’s worked out well for me. Point-wise I’m happy, but I could probably bury some more of my chances. I’m happy with how much ice time I’ve got, and Stan (Butler)’s given me a lot of advice that’s helped me become a lot more confident. So I’m happy with what I’ve done, we’ve just got to get this team into the playoffs and then everything’ll be good.
HF: Your play this season has benefited quite a bit from the amount of ice time you’ve received and playing on the first line, and your play this season has warranted that. But you’ve also clicked with a pretty good centre in Kurt MacSweyn. How have you been helped by playing with a guy like MacSweyn, whose been around for four years and through a lot of ups and downs with this team?
AH: Kurt’s a great guy, a great team leader, and one of the best linemates I’ve ever had. Him and my other linemate Chris Clayton (also ranked by CSS) are just two great guys and two great players. They do everything – they play defensively, offensively, so I can just go out there and play my game. Kurt’s an all-around great player, and so is Chris. They help me out a lot, especially Kurt, who’s been here for four years and knows a lot about this league.
HF: Any added signficance placed on the draft when you consider it’s being held in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre?
AH: It’s always kind of cool when things are in Toronto, with it being my hometown and everything. But I don’t really worry about where the draft is – I just hope that everything goes well, because my family and friends will be there. But it really doesn’t matter where it is. Last year would have been nice, in Florida, but Toronto’s still good – it’s my hometown, so I’m really excited about it.
HF: In talking with guys like (Jay) Harrison and (Jay) McClement, guys who went through the whole process last year, what were their feelings on draft day? What advice have they given you about handling the anticipation of hearing your name called?
AH: Well, we really haven’t talked about it that much. I asked them how it was, and they said that they’d gotten a little nervous about three days before. Scouts would come talk to them all the time, and they had to be ready for that. What they said is just to go there and be ready for absolutely anything – don’t be worried, don’t expect anything. On draft day, just sit down and wait and hopefully everything will work out your way. Just play for the season, work hard, and hopefully everything will work out the way you want it to.
HF: What types of things have Stan Butler and the rest of the coaching staff encouraged you to work on to be able to succeed at the next level?
AH: My defensive play could be a bit better, they tell me that. I’ve been working on that a lot and it’s been getting better and I’ll continue that. Also, my quick feet and my jump. When I get going, I’m fine, but I need to work on my quick feet to able to keep up with the fast little guys in the league. That’s about it that they’ve told me. What I do is go into the weight room, ride the bike, and work on those quick feet drills in practice. Hopefully that’ll come.
HF: Adam, thanks for your time, good luck to you and the team the rest of the way, and good luck to yourself in June.
AH: Thanks, thanks a lot.