2004 Prospects: Q&A with Mike Funk

By Jason Ahrens





Hockeysfuture had an opportunity to spend a few minutes with Mike Funk<br />of the Portland Winterhawks after the 2004 CHL Prospect

Mike Funk is a 6’3” 180-pound defenseman
who was ranked 25th among North American skaters in the midterm
rankings recently released by Central Scouting. This is his second year in the
WHL with Portland and he posted one goal and 15 assists in his rookie campaign.
He has one goal and 17 assists with a few months to go in the season.

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With numbers like that one would assume that he is a
defensive defenseman. While it is true that he plays a strong game in his own
zone using his considerable size and good skating, he does have some
considerable skill with the puck. He makes a good first pass and handles the
puck nicely as he demonstrated in the skills contest when he posted the tenth
best time in the puck-handling event in the skills competition at the CHL Top
Prospects game and that was the best time by a defenseman.

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He uses his long reach and a nice head fake to deke forwards
on the forecheck and then puts a good pass on one of his forwards stick. Over
time, he will get better at jumping into the rush and being the fourth guy or
be part of the second wave of attackers that coaches like to talk about. When
he starts doing that more he will start putting up some good offensive numbers
with his talent and hockey sense.

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Hockey’s Future had an opportunity to spend a few minutes
with Funk after the 2004 CHL Prospect Game. Funk played on Team Orr,
which won the game 6-2 and he was paired with Mark Fistric (ranked 27th
by Central Scouting) of the Vancouver Giants.

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Hockey’s Future: Describe your game to a reader that isn’t
familiar with you.

Mike Funk: I think I’m pretty well rounded, I don’t put the
puck in the net too much but I make the right pass and I play pretty good
defense.

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HF: Did you feel much pressure playing in front of the big
crowd and all of the scouts?

MF: You feel a little bit of pressure but you just go out
there and you have some early jitters and you just play through it and you get
used to it, so no, not too much pressure.

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HF: Describe who you play like.

MF: Chris Pronger.

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HF: What is the best attribute that you have?

MF: The way I see the ice.

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HF: What do you have to work on the most to get the NHL?

MF: My strength.

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HF: Describe your route to the WHL growing up and playing
minor hockey.

MF: I didn’t play AAA hockey until I was in Bantam, and I
played both years at that level, before that it was B one and I went straight
from Bantam to the Portland Winterhawks and it’s my second year out there.

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HF: So the classic late bloomer.

MF: Yeah.

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HF: So there is hope out there for the guys who don’t make
AAA right away in Novice or Atom.

MF: That’s right.

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