The first few years that college hockey players play professionally have a tendency to be either feast or famine. Some players like Jonathan Toews, Joe Pavelski, Zach Parise, Blake Wheeler and Dany Heatley adjust their games quickly to pro level, while others like Kyle Turris, Kevin Porter, Ryan Duncan and T. J. Hensick struggle adapting their games to the faster professional pace.
Current Nashville Predators goaltender Mark Dekanich is a player that has had lot of success in his young professional career. Dekanich’s success came after he excelled playing four years of Division 1 college hockey at Colgate University. The 2005-2006 season was the Raiders’ best of the past decade, as Dekanich, then a sophomore, backstopped Colgate to ECAC regular season championship.
Recently Dekanich chatted with me about the differences between playing college hockey and professional hockey:
Which is more difficult, playing college hockey or professional hockey?
Dekanich: “In college we had a lot more to do. We practiced everyday just like we do now, but after practiced we had to go home and read for class, write papers, prepare for tests and do other things like that. It is actually less work as a professional. When were done at the rink, we’re done for the day, so after that I have to go home and try find something for myself to do to pass the rest of the day away.”
What are some some of things you learned from your college experience that paid off during your time as a professional?
Dekanich: “There were a lot of things I had to learn like living on my own. That helped prepare me for things like cooking for myself now that I play pro.”
To read more from my interview with Dekanich, check out my feature on the netminder on MilwaukeeAdmirals.com.
So Roundtable, this year’s Admirals feature several ex-college players, such as Blake Geoffrion, Ryan Flynn, Chris Mueller, Scott Ford, Grant Lewis, Mike Barlett, Mark Van Guilder and Ryan Thang.
Which players have adjusted their games the best to the professional level, which are still a work in progress, and which are too early to tell?