Left wing Landon Bathe was a free agent
invitee to the Pacific Division Second Annual Rookie Tournament held in Anaheim,
September 9-13, 2004. He had an impressive showing and would go on to be one of only two
tryout players for Phoenix who were awarded with a contract (the other was Olivier Latendresse).
The Scarborough, Maine native came up through the USHL and spent most of the
2003-04 season with the ECHL Toledo Storm.
Hockey’s Future spoke to Bathe during the Utah Grizzlies training camp in
Boise, Idaho about his stellar play at the rookie tournament, his signing with Phoenix, Utah’s training camp and the future that awaits him.
HF: Who was responsible for getting you in contact with Phoenix and into the Rookie Tournament with the Coyotes last month in
LB: My dad contacted a friend of his in Detroit. In turn, his friend contacted Phoenix on my behalf. He told the club all about me. I was just fortunate to attend the camp considering all the quality players they already had going.
HF: Coming into the tournament, how important was it to have some pro exposure and how did contribute to your overall performance?
LB: Before coming to the camp, I have also attended a couple of NHL camps the last few years. I knew what to expect going into this year. I just wanted to give my best effort by working hard and hoping the best possible scenario would come out of it.
HF: After the Rookie Tournament, you signed a contract with the Coyotes. How did that all come about and how was it to ink a deal with Phoenix?
LB: After the tournament we had one on one player meetings with the coaches [Pat Conacher and Gord Dineen] and Laurence Gilman [Utah Grizzlies GM and Phoenix Coyotes Assistant GM]. They went over my performance in the tournament and they were really pleased. I was happy to make such an impression and to sign with them.
HF: You went undrafted. Obviously every player dreams of getting drafted by an NHL club. How important is it for other non-drafted players to see you sign a pro contract and make it this far?
LB: It is tough to make it for anyone, especially going undrafted because they [NHL
clubs] aren’t that familiar with you. It means the world to me because I went undrafted, I worked my way from the bottom up and basically came from nowhere to making it this year. It is a great feeling and it shows that all the persistence and hard work pays off.
HF: How has this year’s camp been going for you so far?
LB: It is going pretty good. I thought I would get tired easily from skating two times a day. I actually feel really good, so I will just see what happens in the upcoming games and give it my best.
HF: Looking back at your prior pro experience and how it relates to this summer, is there anything you have learned over the last month or so with the Coyotes?
LB: On the ice, it is a higher level of play so the guys play a bit faster, they are equally talented and the all passes
are really good. For me, I’ve just learned that I have to be very consistent and do all the simple things to the best of my ability all the time.
HF: Last month in the tournament, you showed a very diverse style of play. You were able to be effective offensively, scoring two points in four games. You also showed to be a very aggressive force, racking up 26 penalty minutes and even mixing it up a couple of times. How would you best describe you game?
LB: I think I have an overall blend of talent and skill. I really just like to go out there, play my hardest and give it my all every shift, every night. If an opponent wants to challenge me, then I’ll drop the gloves. It is no big deal, it’s just a part of the game.
HF: After spending the majority of the 2003-04 in the ECHL with Toledo and even getting a couple games in the AHL with Milwaukee, do you feel you are ready to make an impact with Utah for the entire season?
LB: I think I can. I just want to get a full year in the AHL under my belt and see what happens. I really hope that this is my year to show that I can play at this level.
HF: What expectations or goals do you have for yourself heading into the 2004-05 season?
LB: My goal is to stay focused, play hard, do my best and hopefully stick with Utah for the entire season.
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