Jan. 20, 2010
Junior defenseman Ian Cole looks to lead the Irish defense for the 2009-10 season. An Ann Arbor, Mich., native, Cole has played for the United States Junior National Team. In 2007, he was selected 18th overall in the National Hockey League Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues. This season, Cole has been steady on the blue line, recording three goals and 12 assists in 23 games. Cole sat down with UND.com to tell us more about himself.
Why did you decide to come to Notre Dame?
Notre Dame is one of the best academic schools out there. After Coach Jackson got hired, I talked to him and he was very persuasive.
What was it like being drafted?
It’s one of those things you dream about as a kid but don’t ever expect. Going in the first round, I got to stand on stage and it’s just how you imagined it. When they called my name I was sweating and shaking. It was an unreal time.
What are your goals for the season?
We are looking to be as successful as we can. We haven’t started as we hoped, but with how the last two years have turned out, anything less than a trip to the Frozen Four would be a disappointment.
What do you need to improve on?
I think consistency is a major thing, putting the same product on the ice every single game.
What is your major and why did you pick it?
I am a psychology major, and I picked it because I’m very interested in how people think and why they do certain things.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I wake up, come to the rink, eat a banana with peanut butter and take a cold shower.
Where is the coolest place you’ve traveled for hockey?
I’ve traveled to Europe – Sweden and Finland. As far as hockey atmosphere, Ottawa for the World Junior Championships was absolutely crazy. An arena with 20,000 people, sold-out; it was like the Stanley Cup Finals.
Who was your favorite hockey player growing up?
Being from the Detroit area, I loved all the Red Wings like Steve Yzerman. Nicklas Lidstrom, being a defenseman, was a huge influence on me, watching him play.
If you could change any rule in college hockey, what would it be and why?
I wouldn’t mind wearing a visor instead of a cage. Maybe there would be a lot less guys lying down in front of shots to block them. Also, changing the fighting rule, it would be fun to see what we could do in college.
What are some of your hobbies or activities outside of hockey?
I like to hang out in my quad and play video games. We have game night every once in a while. We play Catch Phrase and Taboo.
What advice do you give freshmen on the team?
The biggest thing would be to buy into what we are doing, our system and discipline and sacrificing for the team. I think it’s a culture shock for some guys coming in, not used to what we do here.
What has been the biggest game of your career?
It would have to be the national championship game against Boston College. The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but hopefully this year we will be back there in Detroit playing for the title. Hopefully this year will be the biggest game of my career here.
Who were you role models growing up?
My parents – my dad got me into the sport and they both sacrificed untold hours and money to make me able to play.
Who is your favorite professor and why?
Fr. Michael Heintz, who taught my intro theology course, was awesome. He was one of those priests who you could talk to and connect with. He was a big hockey fan, went to Boston College and Notre Dame. We get e-mails from him all the time, congratulating us on wins. He’s a great role model, a great guy, and someone I would aspire to be like as I get older. Anre Venter, who is a psychology professor, is an awesome guy too. He may be one of the funniest professors I have ever met, is easy to talk with, and knows the answer to any question you would ever ask him.
What is your favorite CCHA rink?
Second to the Joyce Center, I would say Yost (Arena) in Ann Arbor or Miami-Ohio’s rink. Miami’s student section is so fun, even though they are cheering against you, they make it funny the whole time. Being from Ann Arbor, I grew up going to Yost, and my family had season tickets. They have an unbelievable student section as well.
What is the most difficult part of being a student athlete?
The most difficult part is doing the work. After practice and dinner, by the time I get back to my room, I’m tired and really don’t want to do it, I just want to hang out and not do my homework.
What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome in your career?
I haven’t had too many obstacles to overcome, and I’m very fortunate for that. I think my first year on the U.S. National team, there wasn’t a lot of playing time and that was something you had to be tough about and not beat yourself up over it.
Why do you wear the number 28?
Growing up, my dad played in men’s league and he wore number 14. When I first started playing I wore 14, but when I got older, maybe 7 or 8, every team I got on already had someone with the number 14, so they weren’t going to give it to me because they had it first. 28 was usually a number no one ever had, and 14 times two, and hopefully I’m twice as good as my dad. I think I may have accomplished that.
If you play for the St. Louis Blues, what number would you pick?
I’ve had 28 for a long time, and I’m definitely a 28 guy. Unfortunately, last year they traded for someone that wears 28 so I may have to try to buy it from him.
Which is your favorite dining hall and why?
I am a South Dining Hall guy. I live in O’Neill, and it’s very close. They always have chicken breasts for me, I don’t have to ask them to make it like at North, and they have very good vegetables. They have cornbread an awful lot, and I’m a big cornbread fan, so that really gets me going.
— ND —