Rugged sophomore defenseman Andrew MacWilliam (TOR) was part of North Dakota’s excellent defensive corps this season. He posted just eight points (all assists) in 37 games this season and became an intimidating presence on the Fighting Sioux blue line.
Hockey’s Future spoke with MacWilliam following North Dakota’s 0-2 loss to Michigan in the second semi-final game on Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.
Hockey’s Future: Despite a very disappointing ending to the season, what is one positive, if anything, that you can take from this season?
Andrew MacWilliam: We obviously had a great season, but we didn’t achieve our ultimate goal and it definitely hurts. This has been the best group of guys that I’ve ever played with. So I think that’s the positive.
HF: You’ve been playing much of the year alongside Chay Genoway. What has it been like playing with him and what has he been able to do for you that have helped you grow as both a player and an individual?
AM: Chay is not only a great player but he’s also an unbelievable guy too. I think the biggest thing that I learned from him is just how he conducted himself off the ice and the leadership that he provided for us. He and I are obviously not the same type of player, but his hard work and never-give-up attitude is something that I’ll never forget and will remember for the rest of my life.
HF: You and Chay just seem to complement each other so well with your contrasting styles too.
AM: Yeah, he’s obviously the more offensive guy that can jump up into the plays and I’m the guy that can take those rushes coming back, so it has worked real well for us. At the beginning of the season, it was a bit awkward, but we grew and developed (chemistry) together. We also developed some character and camaraderie together too. So I thought we were a good pairing.
HF: What have been some areas that you personally feel that you’ve grown in the most this season?
AM: I think one of the areas has been in my confidence with the puck. That’s been something that I’ve been working on for the last few years. I think as this year went along, I got better.
HF: What will be some of the things that you’ll be working on in the coming months to prepare for next season?
AM: I think I’m going to take a couple of weeks off and then get back into it. I’m going to be building up my body and just try to keep myself in shape. Hopefully this time next season, I won’t have this awful feeling that I have right now.
HF: Are you planning to attend the Leafs Prospects Camp this summer?
AM: Yes, but it’s not really on my mind right now.
HF: Can you describe yourself and what you’ll bring to the Leafs organization in the future?
AM: I’m just a steady, stay-at-home defenseman that likes to play physical and is solid in his own end. I’ll do the little things too such as blocking shots. It’s something that I pride myself on and have done my whole (playing) career.