TSR Interview with Mark Scheifele

TSR Features, TSR Interviews | 16 Nov 2010

I recently had the opportunity to exchange a Q & A with 17 year old Center of the . After coming over from Saginaw in an off-season trade, Scheifele has quickly established himself as an effective OHL player and is starting to garner some draft attention with his strong play.


TSR: Going back a couple years to your last year of Minor Hockey; what was it like playing on a Kitchener squad that didn’t quite get some of the exposure that some of the other 93’ Minor Midget squads got?

MS: It was tough to hear that our team doesn’t get much exposure. But, I just had to think that if I work my hardest to be the best player that I can be, and be the best player I can be in order to help my team, then maybe I can get noticed and help my entire team get noticed.

TSR: You were picked up in the 7th round by the Saginaw Spirit, what were your thoughts heading into the Priority Selection and were you satisfied with where you landed?

MS: My thoughts heading in to the draft was nervousness but also excitement. I was told that I could have went earlier, but I was just happy that I was given a chance to show what type of player I can be at the next level. When I saw it was Saginaw, I really didn’t know too much about that organization or team, so it was a total surprise that first year.

TSR: Last season you played for your hometown Jr. B club, the Kitchener Dutchmen, and eventually went on to lead your team in scoring with 55 points in 51 games played. Were you surprised at all to see how much success you had and what do you attribute your almost seamless transition to junior hockey towards?

MS: I wasn’t surprised, but I also was a little shocked with the stats that I ended up with. I knew I would be given the chance to prove myself, because the team was rebuilding, but when I got here I knew I just had to work my hardest on my game and play my best to help the team out as much as I can. The transition wasn’t as easy, it did take a lot of adjusting and it took some big hits to get me used to it. It also took a lot of hard work in the summer just to get stronger, faster and bigger.

TSR: It was also a big year for you last year as you went on to verbally commit to Cornell to play collegiate hockey in the NCAA. What was the catalyst behind your decision and what did you feel was advantageous about taking that route south of the border?

MS: It was just the education part of an ivy league school, and also a good hockey program which I thought were advantageous.

TSR: Obviously you elected to take the OHL route after being dealt from Saginaw to Barrie. Did you ever consider playing for the Spirit or what was it about the opportunity in Barrie that led you down the OHL path?

MS: I always had it in my mind that I was going the NCAA route, and then when Barrie acquired me and after meeting the coaches it started to get me to think what was the best opportunity for my hockey career. Also knowing that Barrie was rebuilding, I though that by working hard I could have a great chance in Barrie.

TSR: Moving into a new league, what type of expectations were you setting for yourself this season and what did you do to prepare yourself for the rigours of the OHL schedule?

MS: The expectations I set for myself was just to work my hardest and help my team out as much as possible. Some things I did to help prepare was in the gym 5 times a week doing weights, plyometrics, and cardiovascular exercises, and just getting in to really good shape to help me be ready to compete at the highest level every night.

TSR: Head Coach Dale Hawerchuk has given you a lot of opportunity this season playing Top 6 minutes and seeing time on the top powerplay unit as a 17 year old rookie. For those who don’t know a lot about your game, what are some of the components of your game that have helped you to be one of the front runners in rookie scoring this season?

MS: Components of my game are just a lot of work ethic to help me get better. Also just being patient and smart when I have the puck, and also when I don’t have the puck. I try to be a well-rounded player and help my team out on the defensive end which will create turnovers and create opportunities on the offensive end.

TSR: You’re starting to generate a lot of talk about being a riser for the NHL Entry Draft next June. How much thought do you put into that goal and what are you looking to improve on as the OHL season starts to roll into the winter grind?

MS: Well I try to just work my hardest and improve on my game and help my team out to make the team the best it can be. By doing that and focusing on that I think it will help me become the best player I can be. I am trying to improve on little things like face-offs, my shot, agility and also continuing to make my speed and strength an asset, as I look to be the best possible player.

Thanks for taking the time to do this with us Mark. Good luck to you and the Colts the rest of the way and best of luck next June!

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