Minnesota Wild prospect Kyle Wilson completes a four-year career at Colgate University that was capped by a stellar senior season, in which he led the team with 41 points (23 goals, 18 assists) and earned a spot on the ECACHL All-Conference Second Team. Most recently, he was named the recipient of the Steve Riggs Memorial Award, which recognizes gentlemanly play and a high standard of ability.
Hockey’s Future spoke with Wilson after the Skills Challenge that he participated in on Friday night during the Frozen Four weekend.
HF: First off, how are you enjoying the experience of being here in Milwaukee participating in the Skills Challenge?
KW: It’s great. The whole experience has been great. The Nike/Bauer people have been treating us so well. It’s been great.
HF: Well the East Team won, so that has to feel pretty good.
KW: Yeah, we’re the first Skills Challenge winners (laughing). It feels good.
HF: What’s the greatest thing that you take from this experience?
KW: Playing with such great guys. They’re all great guys on and off the ice.
HF: You just finished up a great year at Colgate. What are you going to take away from the experience of having played at Colgate?
KW: A lot wasn’t expected of us this year. We really had a great team and we had a great goaltender in Mark Dekanich step up and replace (Steve) Silverthorn’s spot and really showed that we could really be on top of that league (ECACHL). We were the regular season co-champions. I think over my four-year career, we really took some big steps in winning the regular season twice and going to the NCAAs and I hope that I’ve helped push the program to the national level. Being a part of that was great. That’s probably what I’ll take the most.
HF: This year you emerged as one of the top players in the nation. What was it about this season that made you so much better than in previous years?
KW: Well it was a developmental process. I had a lot to learn coming here and had a lot of things to work on in my game. The coaches had made that clear that I had a lot of things that I had to work on to be able to get to that level. It took me four years and by the fourth year, they made me assistant captain and put a lot of focus on me to play in various pressure situations like penalty kill and power play and being on the ice more of the time. I think that and having to work on and off the ice and being one of the team’s leaders really made me focus on that and take it seriously. Also, this was going to be my last year. You’ve got to leave your (collegiate) career in style.
HF: You went on an absolute scoring tear this year. Did you suddenly decide that you wanted to go out and score a ton of goals this year or what?
KW: I was told to shoot the puck more. I was known around the league as being more of a pass first, shoot later sort of guy. So now I get the puck to the net as well as take it to the net. I had a couple of great wingers that liked taking the puck to the net as well. When you crash the net and get the puck there a lot of great things will happen.
HF: If I’m not mistaken you played a bit with Jon Smyth this year, right?
KW: No, I just played one game with him. We joke about that a lot. He’s my stallmate and we were next to one another for four years and we almost never played together, not even on the power play (laughing). I actually played with Mark Fulton and Ryan Smyth. I guess being able to play with Jon just wasn’t destined to happen, but it’s worked out ok.
HF: With your collegiate career now over, what are you going to remember most about playing Raiders hockey?
KW: Oh definitely the guys, my teammates. You go there and you’re immediately thrown into a family basically. It’s not like any other freshman where you come in and just make friends. Here you have a family right off the bat. You basically spend four years with them and do everything with them. I’ve grown accustomed to that and have made good friends that I’ll have for the rest of my life. Not being able to have that every day to spend with them is the thing that I’ll miss the most.
HF: With your collegiate career wrapped up, any chance that we’re all going to be seeing you in a Wild jersey anytime soon?
KW: Hopefully. If I had it my way, I’d be there right away. It’s still open for when they wrap up their season. I’ll be talking with them and maybe see how things go. If all goes well then I’ll be going to camp and trying to earn my spot.
HF: Have they been keeping tabs on you at Colgate this year?
KW: They’ve been checking up and have come out to see some games. I think they were impressed with what they saw at least I hope so. They said that they were definitely interested in having me coming out to camp to try and earn a spot on the team. I guess that’s all you can hope for and we’ll see how it goes.
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