Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ECHL All-Star Adrian Veideman Talks About DU

(above) DU alum Adrian Veideman will play in the ECHL All-Star game tonight. It will be televised on Comcast Sports Southeast at 8:30 MST

Q & A with Adrian Veideman

D.J. Powers of Hockey's caught up with former Pioneer Adrian Veideman at the ECHL All-Star game in Stockton, California. She has written articles for LetsGoDU in the past including the outstanding series about the 1960's era DU hockey alums that compete in the Snoopy Old Timers Hockey Tournament in California every summer. We can't thank D.J. enough, and make sure to check out Hockey Future's Website for the best coverage of tomorrow's NHL stars.

Special to Let’s Go DU
By DJ Powers

The former University of Denver Pioneer is off to a strong start to his pro career as a member of the ECHL’s Augusta Lynx. In 35 appearances this season, Veideman has posted 23 points (four goals, 19 assists). He recently was called up by the Portland Pirates and during his brief stint helped guide the Pirates to their fourth straight win.

I caught up with Adrian Veideman after the Skills Competition portion of the ECHL All-Game festivities on Tuesday in Stockton to chat about both the pros and his days at the University of Denver.

Q: So how does it feel to be here at the ECHL All-Star Game?

AV: It’s definitely an honor to be here. I’m just happy to be representing the Augusta Lynx and the ECHL at this awesome event.

Q: You scored a goal in the rapid fire competition against Daniel Manzato from the Las Vegas Wranglers. Take me through how it happened.

AV: It’s definitely a new thing for me. I’d never done anything like that before. (Laughs) It’s definitely a fun experience out there. It was kind of cool just to be out there with another guy (Tomas Kudelka of the Elmira Jackals) that I don’t even know, but we’re teammates for now and tomorrow. I just closed my eyes, took a shot and it went into the net.

Q: You recently had a stint with the Portland Pirates (AHL). What was the experience like there for you?

AV: It’s a great experience as a hockey player to get the call to go to the next level. The players at the next level are definitely bigger, stronger and faster. It’s one of the best leagues in the world. I’m just happy to get the opportunity to be up there and show them what I have to offer.

Q: When you played up in Portland, you actually had one of your former Denver teammates, Matt Laatsch, as one of your coaches. So what was that like for you?

AV: Well Matt and I are great friends and we’ve always been great friends from our Denver days. It’s great seeing him progressing his coaching career up in Portland. Our relationship up there is strictly professional, obviously. He helps me tremendously. In the summertime we hang out quite a bit. It’s definitely a neat experience to play for somebody that you’ve played with and just knowing where he came from.

Q: With Portland being the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, have you had any contact with them and have they been watching you to perhaps offer you a contract or maybe Portland offering you a contract?

AV: I’m currently under contract with Portland. I went to Anaheim’s rookie camp this summer, so they know what I offer and hopefully the future is strong.

Q: Hopefully we’ll be seeing you back up in Portland again in the near future.

AV: Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back up there and they’ll give me the call soon. But they wanted me here and I wanted to represent the Augusta Lynx for having a strong first half of the season.

Q: What are some of the specific areas, skill-wise, have you been working on since playing with Augusta?

AV: Just coming from the confidence factor. In college, I wasn’t the go-to guy. Now that I’m a professional, I’m looked to being a leader and be a go-to guy on the ice. It’s just maintaining my confidence out there as well as to continue to progress my skills.

Q: One of the things that I noticed that you did when you played at the University of Denver, was that you had played at both the forward and defense positions. In the ECHL media guide, they list you as a defenseman. Have you played up front at all this season with either Augusta or Portland?

AV: It’s interesting that you’d ask that question because usually two or three times in a game (with Augusta), I’ll go for a shift at forward, depending on how we’re doing. Up in Portland, I played a game at forward. Being a versatile player is definitely something that I think teams like. I’ll continue to maintain both aspects of the game.

Q: Do you have a preference of which position that you like playing better?

AV: Right now, I think I’m more comfortable playing back on defense. I’m still a young defenseman and I’ve only been playing defense for two years. It’s definitely something that I need to keep working at as well as maintaining my forward skills.

Q: Obviously, you came from a great program at the University of Denver. What were some of the adjustments that you had to make going from the college game to the pro game?

AV: I think the biggest adjustment that anyone has to make from the college game to the pro game is just the lifestyle within the rink. You don’t have to go to school. You don’t have to worry about studying, preparing for tests or things like that. With the pro game, you definitely play more games and you have to be mentally more ready. As far as college, it was a great experience and the pro game is too.

Q: If there were one or two things that Coach Gwozdecky has taught you that really prepared you for the pro game, what would they be and why?

AV: I think the main thing that Coach Gwozdecky has taught me was to be a leader in all aspects, not just on the ice, but off the ice as well. He has taught me to just always be helping people and to make sure that you’re seen in the community as a guy that is good on and off the ice.

Q: With your pro schedule the way it is, I realize that it’s difficult, but do you keep up with the Pioneers?

AV: I think I keep track of the Pioneers more than I do myself sometimes. Those are my roots and they gave me great opportunities there, so I’ll definitely be a Pioneer for life.

Q: What do you feel are some of the greatest memories that you have of your time with the Denver Pioneers, would say winning the national championships?

AV: Well, those are always the best and obvious memories. I think the most profound personal memory that I have of Denver is getting my degree. They gave me that opportunity and it’s something that nobody can take away from me as well the rings that I got for the national championships. Along, with those good memories, there were some bad memories. The last couple of years we fell short. Those are things that make you a stronger person and a stronger hockey player.

Q: With the Pioneers doing so well this season, that has to feel pretty good to you.

AV: It does feel great. The guys that I’ve played with the last couple of years that haven’t had as much success in their college careers as I have, it’s good to see them having some success and it makes me feel good that maybe there was something along the way that I did to help them progress and become better players and better persons.

Q: Do you miss it?

AV: Of course, I miss it. College was a very unique experience and I think every hockey player should have to go through that. Just the schooling aspect and getting that degree is something that I think everybody needs to go through. It’s definitely true.

Q: Finally, something that is very unique to Denver Pioneers hockey that I have to ask you. In your career, how many oranges and how many lemons did you win?

AV: ooh. I’m pretty sure that I only had three or four max in the orange department, but lemon-wise, I had a stint in my sophomore year where I had it for four weeks straight, but that was only because we had a bye week in there. It’s kind of neat that you would ask that question. So I definitely had more lemons than oranges.
by D.J. Powers of Hockey's

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