Q&A with Frank Rediker

By Jason Ahrens

Frank Rediker is a 6’1, 205-pound defenseman with the London Knights. The native of Sterling Heights, Michigan was selected by the Boston Bruins in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft in the fourth round. Rediker is in his fourth OHL season and is a top four defenseman with London.

Last season, Rediker was traded from the Windsor Spitfires to London. Having played only 25 games last season with injury, in 2004-05, Rediker has played in nine games and is +3. The increasingly defenseman plays the game with an edge and is hard to play against along the boards or in front of the net.

Hockey’s Future caught up with Rediker after a 3-2 victory in overtime against the Guelph Storm.

HF: London is off to a great start, one tie and 15 wins in your first 16 games, how do you think things are going for you guys this year?
FR: Well we are playing pretty well obviously. I think Guelph took it to us tonight, whenever we play them they come out and play us pretty hard. But that is what you are going to get when you are doing as well as we are you know. We have to expect this night in and night out, teams are not going to just hand it over to us and give us two points. It’s been going good so far, but we are just trying to get not too high, but it’s been going well.

HF: You have had two serious injuries in the last 15 months or so. Can you describe what you injured and how you are feeling now?
FR: In my underage year I dislocated my shoulder and I rehabbed it and came back and played. They said I needed surgery or I could rehab it and see how it went. I chose to rehab it and opt not to have surgery. My second year I played with it and it slipped out on me a few times and it wasn’t nearly a 100 percent. After my second season and after the draft I had it operated on and had my shoulder reconstructed, and I came back and played my first game in January of last year. I was off rehabbing it for six and seven months and it was my first injury, but I had a year and half to prepare for the layoff so I was expecting it.

I worked real hard and came back to play for Windsor and then I was moved to London and after 19 or 20 games with London I tore my ACL on my knee. It was against Guelph here, I think it was March 6th or something. That one really hit me because I had worked so hard to get back with my shoulder injury and the last thing I thought about was having another serious injury like that. For the first while I tried to rehab it and to come back and play with a brace for the playoffs but it wasn’t working too well so I had surgery in the middle of April. I guess I was down for a while but I think everything happens for a reason and I can’t really control everything. The hit I took on the knee was kind of fluky it wasn’t really a big hit at all. I put it behind me and I worked really hard again and every time I come back I come back stronger and I feel better and better. It’s just hard to keep the hockey skills up when you are not playing, things like controlling the puck and skating, when you are not playing game after game after game and you are just sitting there watching it, you start to lose the little things. But each game this year I’m feeling better, I think this is my seventh game back, I’m not at a 100 percent yet, but I’m getting there.

HF: You mentioned the trade. How hard was it to come from Windsor to London, two teams that have a long, historic, bitter rivalry? Was it hard coming into the dressing room with the history between the two teams?
FR: I knew it was going to happen, my agent contacted me the night before and asked me if I wanted to come. He said that careerwise it could be a good move with the possibility to win the Memorial Cup last year and we are hosting it this year. With the facility and with the Hunter brothers here, this is an organization that is run in an NHL style, so he said that it would be a good move for me, so I chose to make the move. It was hard leaving Windsor after being there for two and a half years, but I think it’s going to work out, you know we have an awesome team this year, we are hosting the Memorial Cup.

HF: You mentioned the draft as well. In your NHL draft experience, what was the hardest thing that you went through? I know that they put you through a whole range of physical tests and interviews, was there anything that caught you off guard?
FR: To be honest with you I didn’t have any trouble with the interviews or the physical tests. The hardest thing was mentally, sitting there all day on Saturday and not being picked. I was picked in the fourth round and I was expected to go a lot higher. I thought I would go in the top three rounds for sure. I think that was the toughest thing. There were a lot of physical tests, but I love training and working out so that wasn’t really a big deal.

HF: What is your current status with Boston, have you signed a deal with them?
FR: I’m not signed yet, I’ve only played 20 games since I was drafted. They are happy with what I’ve done when I’ve played, everything looks really good. I could possibly be playing World Juniors, I missed camp this summer with injuries, but they have been here watching, so that is a possibility. I guess the biggest issue is to see if I can stay healthy all year and play steady and hope that everything works out.

HF: For you to go to the next level, what do you have to work on the most?
FR: There are a number of things that I have to work on, but the No. 1 thing would be to not worry about the offensive part of the game. Playing defense, not jumping up so much, I’ve been doing it since it my younger years, but I keep at the back of my mind that at the next level, I’m fast enough to get back now and catch the guys, but at the next level I won’t be. I’m working on keeping it simple and safe and just play defense.

HF: As a Michigan boy, how tough was it to pick the OHL over the NCAA?
FR: My parents were real keen for me to go to school. I played Tier 2 at Compuware in Michigan when I was 15, and they were 95 percent sure that I was going to go to college. But I didn’t want to go play college I wanted to go to the OHL, I knew it was the fastest route to the NHL and I know that I can play there. Mainly the biggest thing was the schedule; you play 68 games in the OHL, which is similar to the NHL season. So that was my main reason.

HF: What is a typical week in the OHL, practice wise, game wise, for any readers not familiar with the league?
FR: We usually play two to three games on the weekend, we practice Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 2:30, we work out every morning except game days, we ride the bike that kind of stuff around 10:30. Depending on our road schedule and where we are taking the bus from, being here in London we don’t have too tough of a travel schedule, we get Monday off if we play OK.

HF: You have two of the best puck handlers in the league on your team in Corey Perry (ANA) and Rob Schremp (EDM). You’ve played against both of them, how tough are they to play against?
FR: I’ve played against Perry a lot since we are the same age and playing in Windsor we played London a lot. Not so much against Schremp. But against Perry when I was playing in Windsor I always wanted to hit him and stuff since we were in the same draft year I thought we were competing. You know they are amazing with the puck; the things they can do with it sometimes you just sit back and watch them. When I played Perry I just tried to stick him and hit him. I don’t remember playing against Schremp, we didn’t play Mississauga too often.

HF: What is your favorite OHL rink?
FR: It would probably be Erie. I like our rink of course, but outside of our rink it would be Erie. I’ve played in Erie in the playoffs, it was the wildest atmosphere that I’ve experienced or seen. The people were going nuts, rallying behind their team, throwing things on the ice and stuff like that. I like playing there and I’ve scored a few times there so it makes it kind of nice too.

HF: You’ve been in the league for four years so you have seen a lot of pranks. What was the worst prank ever pulled on you?
FR: You know I never really had anything too bad done to me, you know little things like ketchup on the shoes under the table when you are eating dinner, but the guys were usually pretty easy on me.

HF: What was the best fight that you were in?
FR: My underage year I fought a lot. I was healthy and I fought some overagers, guys like Mike Amodeo and Chris Berti, big guys like that. I didn’t win, but I didn’t lose either. I only fought twice last year and I haven’t fought this year after just getting back. I’m not a fighter, but if I have to go I will and I hold my own.

Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.