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Jakob Chychrun - NHL Draft Prospect

By: Matthew Pearlman

 

Jakob Chychrun is projected to be one of the top picks in the 2016 NHL draft. I caught up with the amazingly talented prospect.

Matthew: How did you get started in hockey?

Jakob: I got started in hockey because of my father. My dad played many years in the NHL. He won the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh in 1992 alongside Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. If it weren’t for my dad, I’m not sure I would’ve ever put on the skates growing up in Florida. He introduced me to the game and I fell in love right away.

Matthew: What has been the highlight of your career?

Jakob: I would say the highlight of my career would be representing my country and playing for Team Canada at the national level as an underage player. It was a huge honor and privilege for me, and it was a very cool time for me and my family.

Matthew: Who are some of your heroes?

Jakob: My hockey heroes are my father and my grandpa. My dad truly taught me everything I know about the game. He coached me, and all the teams I played for in Florida, the right way. All the messages he drilled into our young heads on the ice translated into the real world as well, and have all helped me tremendously. My grandpa on the other hand is currently 77 and is still playing hockey once a week. In the summertime, my Dido (grandpa), Dad and myself all play a pickup men’s league game. It’s very cool and inspiring to have the three generations on the ice together. My grandpa is strong as a bull still and I hope to be just like him at that age.

Matthew: What current hockey players do you play most like?

Jakob: I love to watch both Drew Doughty and Kris Letang play a lot. I think I play similar to both of them. Both have great offensive instincts and are very talented with the puck. They always want the puck on their stick but also take pride in the defensive zone, and have a chip on their shoulder. They’re not afraid of the battles along the walls or in the corners and are very tough to play against.

Matthew: What can NHL fans expect to see from you?

Jakob: I think fans can expect a very hard worker on the ice and a great person and citizen off the ice. I’ve always taken pride in being an all around good human being and always will do my best at that. On the ice, I like to focus on all the little things that help me be successful, and I like to pick my opportunities to jump in the play. I never shy away from having the puck on my stick. I love playing in every situation imaginable.

Matthew: What are your goals for 2015-2016?

Jakob: My goals for 2015-2016 are to take it day-by-day and focusing on what I can do each day for the team to be successful. We should have a strong roster and we just need to work hard every day to translate it into wins during the regular season and hopefully playoffs. It is also a big goal of mine to represent my country again sometime in the near future, as an injury prevented me from the last time around. I will also focus on finishing off my high school career as strongly as possible heading into my last year.

Matthew: What do you like to do when you're not playing hockey?

Jakob: I love the beaches in Florida. I do lots of fishing and play lots of golf. I try to see all my friends and family when I am home. That’s very important to me.

Matthew: What is your favorite part about being a hockey player?

Jakob: The relationships you build in hockey last a lifetime. That’s something that’s very cool. It’s crazy how small the hockey world really is. Everything about this sport fascinates me. It’s the first thing I think about waking up in the morning and the last thing I think about at night.

Matthew: What is the best part of your game?

Jakob: I think the best part of my hockey game is my work ethic and my drive to always improve and better myself. You can have all the talent in the world but if you’re not willing to put in the work, it can only get you so far. I think that’s what separates me from others. I never let anyone outwork me.