Monday, May 12, 2008

10 Questions with Chase Drake

Today we were fortunate enough to talk with recent Wisconsin commit Chase Drake from Mosinee. Chase led his high school team to the state tournament before bowing out to eventual runner up Madison Edgewood. Chase is a defenseman and is scheduled to arrive at Wisconsin in 2010. He will be playing the next 2 seasons with Green Bay in the USHL. We can't thank Chase enough for taking the time out of his day to do this interview with us.

You got to play your last high school hockey game at the State Tournament. Can you explain the feeling of how it felt to not only to play at state, but how it felt to get there with the kids you grew up with?

CD: Playing at state was definitely amazing especially since I did get to grow up with all my teammates. It was just an unreal experience as we hit the ice and there was a sea of purple there looking over you and cheering for you. I actually had goose bumps just from our crowd energy so it was great. Unfortunately it didn't turn out the way we wanted it to but we were all happy with being able to end our season in Madison.

You played the last 10 games of the USHL season with Green Bay so they obviously hold your rights for next season. Can you explain why you chose Green Bay instead of waiting for the upcoming USHL draft?

CD: I chose Green Bay actually so I would still be able to end my high school days right here in Mosinee. I thought I owed it to my school to stay and finish out my senior year of baseball and be able to graduate with all my friends. I could have went to Indiana where they had a great season but I felt staying at home would let me do these things I wanted and it has, plus I'm only 90 minutes from home and I have family in Green Bay so it was an easy transfer over for the last 10 games.

Team Wisconsin was very successful this fall. How did the high school elite league prepare you for the upcoming season and how was it to play with players like Jeff Costello (committed to Notre Dame), Seth Soley (committed to Michigan Tech), Ted Behrend (committed to Colorado College), and Nate Condon (committed to Minnesota)?

CD: Our Team Wisconsin team was great. I had a great experience playing that team and it really helped me come into the high school season at my highest performing peak which was nice for me because I didn't have to work as hard at my fundamentals so I could concentrate more on little things that I was doing wrong, which I thought helped me throughout the year. But playing with those guys were great. We all had great team chemistry and we came together and played great against some of the best teams and players in the nation which made it exciting every weekend.

Did you have an opportunity to leave and play hockey somewhere else besides your high school this past season and if you did can you explain your decision to stay at Mosinee?

CD: Before high school I actually went down to tryout with the Madison Capitols. I ended up making the team but I decided to stay in Mosinee because this year I thought we had all the tools to go down to Madison and do some damage. It was a decision that I am very glad that I made now because of the experience I got out of my last high school season and it was nice to be able to end it with all my friends and family watching.

You’ve committed to the University of Wisconsin. Can you explain how long you’ve been in contact with them and what your final decision was based on?

CD: I started having contact with Wisconsin during my senior year of high school hockey. They were at a lot of our Team Wisconsin games but I really never talked with them until one day I got a call from Coach Patrick and we talked for a while and it just became a regular thing every Monday night where I would call him and we would talk about the week. It has always been a dream of mine to play for the Badgers, I guess you could say they are my dream school so once I left from my visit I knew that this was where I wanted to go no matter what. The campus is amazing and the sports aren’t too bad either!

Who were the other schools that you were in contact with and was there ever a time where you almost committed to another school?

CD: I was actually involved with a lot of contact from other schools. My first contact was Colorado College, and then schools started calling. I received interest from Miami-Ohio, Notre Dame, Princeton, Yale, Cornell, St. Cloud St., Mankato St., Michigan St, and Bowling Green. I almost committed with Colorado College. They wanted me to walk on next year and they flew out to watch me play in a game and I thought it was a great thing until they wanted me to decide before Christmas and I wasn't ready to because I wanted to see if Wisconsin had a genuine interest and it turns out they did.

Can you explain to us your style of play and some strengths and maybe a few things you want to work on while your playing for the Gamblers?

CD: Some of my strengths are my puck handling ability, my vision on the ice, my shot, and my mobility on the ice. I try to be a smart player on the ice and I try to help out my team whenever possible. On the downside, I'm a little undersized (weight wise), so that’s a big thing I'm looking forward to work on in Green Bay. Another thing is one on one situations in the D-zone since we run a man to man D-zone. I also need to work a little more on my gap control because at times I respect players too much (especially in the USHL) and I tend to give them more room which is the worst thing a D can do since their job is to take away time and space.

Your ranked #136 on the NHL Central Scouting rankings. When did you first realize that being drafted was a reality and do you have a favorite NHL team that you would like to go to?

CD: I first realized it when I was playing in the Elite League and Dean Grillo came up to me and started talking to me about family advisors and that’s when I knew something could happen this year for me in the draft. My favorite NHL team is Pittsburgh, I love Crosby. But I guess I wouldn't complain at all if any of the other 29 teams decided to draft me!

The Wisconsin high school hockey landscape is changing these days. In the past few seasons we’ve seen guys like Derrick LaPoint (North Dakota), Travis Erstad (Wisconsin), and the guys mentioned above (Costello, Soley, Behrend, and Condon) all commit to colleges while still in high school. Do think that the talent of Wisconsin high school hockey is improving or its just a fluke?

CD: Wisconsin high school hockey has become a legit thing now. More and more talented players are playing in the summer looking to broaden their skills more which I think really helps out you development during the high school season. High school hockey in Wisconsin is becoming a more popular thing as more schools are creating teams, but don't get me wrong I think Minnesota still has the upper hand on us but give Wisconsin high school hockey another couple of years and I think you will not see much difference between skill levels of players.

You’re a QB on the football team (in fact had a 92 yard TD run this season, pretty impressive), and you play baseball along with your hockey duties. Can you explain why you felt it was necessary to play 3 sports in high school and how you handled it along with school and the pressures of being an every day high school kid?

CD: Being from a small town of just 4000 people, and having 781 kids in the high school is why most kids play 2 or 3 sports. We don't have the numbers to specialize in sports like other schools do, but we have great athletes who are diverse in their talents which is a good thing. I guess I just love to compete and win which is why I play 3 sports. I really don't know what I would do with my free time if I wasn't playing sports because all my friends are in sports and there isn't much to do here in Mosinee either. The pressure from playing 3 sports believe it or not isn't all that bad though. Now being a senior I'm used to having the team rally around me and it just has become a natural instinct I guess. The major thing though when playing 3 sports is definitely time management. This is a thing that I have learned to accept since I was a freshmen since you basically gone every day of the week, you really need to know when to sit down and do your homework rather than hanging out with your friends. But the weekends I have a lot of free time so that’s when I get to hang out with my friends and family a lot so its pretty relaxing.

Again we can’t thank Chase enough for sitting down with us today and filling us Badger fans in on what we’re going to be getting in a couple of seasons. We wish you the best of luck this season with Green Bay.