As the puck dropped on the 2014 NCAA Tournament, seven regulars in the Nashville Predators' lineup who developed at U.S. colleges spent time with the team's web site reflecting on their own NCAA experiences .
"I was able to really learn a lot about the game, develop, and at the same time, really growing up as a person,” St. Cloud State alum Matt Cullen said. “You’re out on your own, and you’re learning the life skills you need to keep advancing in this game."
Writer Alexis Witman included comments from several of the NCAA alums on the Predators' roster, a group that includes:
- Matt Cullen, St. Cloud State
- Patrick Eaves, Boston College
- Carter Hutton, UMass Lowell
- Eric Nystrom, Michigan
- Craig Smith, Wisconsin
- Viktor Stalberg, Vermont
- Colin Wilson, Boston University
Three of those players - Hutton, Stalberg and Wilson - played against each other in college, with Wilson winning the national championship in 2009. Wilson recalled that title:
“It means a lot,” Wilson said. “Even though it was at more of the amateur level, it is one of the highlights of my career. There’s a lot of camaraderie in the college hockey locker room, there’s no trades, this is your team, so when you win it, it’s a great feeling to come together with all the guys.
“It [the Frozen Four] is exhilarating, exciting and passionate, a lot of emotion,” Wilson said. “It’s a one- and-done tournament, and when I played I felt we had a good team, and yes, we should win it, but you never know, we almost didn’t. You never know what’s going to happen in one of those games.”
Read the full story at predators.nhl.com .