By Andrew Eide
Seattle’s 2012 first round draft pick Mathew Barzal attended last night’s thrilling 3-2 overtime win against Kelowna. Barzal has yet to sign with the club as he continues to weigh his options and for the T-Birds they could not have picked a better atmospere for him to visit. They had their loudest crowd of the season and the team on the ice turned in one of their best performances.
Barzal is considered one of hockey’s top prospects and would be a huge win for the T-Birds if they can get him in the fold. For Junior hockey this process is a recruitment as there are no contracts to offer like you would do in the pros. They need to show the young Burnaby, B.C. native that the WHL and Seattle will be the best place for him to develop.
He has recently finished his midget season, that saw him lead the BCMML in scoring and was kind enough to spend a few minutes chatting between periods last night.
Andrew Eide: Your season just ended, how did you feel your year went?
Mathew Barzal: I felt this year went well and I thought towards the end my team came together, we worked well and points wise I thought I did well, that’s not all I look at but in that aspect I thought I did well this year.
AE: Being the number one pick has generated a lot of speculation, was that a distraction to you at all?
MB: No, it’s in the past now so I was just focusing on playing hockey this year and helping my team win a playoff series, obviously we got knocked out pretty early, but it was a pretty good season.
AE: You were here for training camp and then for practice a month ago or so, how did you feel about that experience?
MB: The training camp was good, I enjoyed it, the guys were all really good, the competition was quick and fast, better than what I’m used to back home. It was a challenge obviously but I really enjoyed it.
AE: How did you feel your game fit in or matched up?
MB: I think it was a good experience, I think I could play next season but obviously I need to work hard this summer and we’ll see where things go at the start of next season. I don’t know where I’ll be playing but if it’s here I hope to make the team and contribute.
AE: Have you set a timetable on making a decision?
MB: Obviuosly sooner than later, I think before the summer, before the draft. Probably around that time I’ll have a firm decision.
AE: What kind of factors will go into that decision?
MB: I talk to my advisor a lot, me and my family really wanted to give both routes as much time as we needed, I think we have and before the draft we’ll have a decision.
AE: Growing up in Burnaby I’m assuming you’ve seen a lot of WHL games? How do you feel about the league?
MB: Yeah, I went to a lot of (Vancouver) Giants games. I’m pretty familiar with the league, it’s high paced and hard hitting, if that’s where I go I’m looking forward to it.