Nov. 17, 2009
Patrick Gaul is a sophomore center on Notre Dame’s hockey team from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to coming to Notre Dame he spent two seasons with the US National Team Developmental Program. He has three sisters and one brother who played collegiate hockey at Dartmouth. Patrick recently sat down with UND.com to tell us a little more about himself.
1. Why did you decide to attend Notre Dame?
I’ve actually had this talk with my dad several times. It was the best school that offered scholarships for hockey.
2. What are your personal goals for the upcoming season?
I want to improve myself as a player and establish a role that contributes to our team’s success.
3. Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I always take a hot/cold shower before our games and make a cross with my stick as I walk out the door.
4. Who did you look up to for inspiration when you were growing up?
My dad and my brother. I’ve worn #6 since I was eight or nine because that’s what my brother wore.
5. What has been your favorite venue to play in?
I played in Kazan, Russia for the World Under-18s in front of about 13,000 screaming Russians; I’d never done anything like that. It was a completely different hockey atmosphere — like if you turned the puck over in the neutral zone, anytime they got anywhere near the blue line the place just erupted, regardless of whether they had a scoring chance or not.
6. What is the most difficult part of balancing academics with athletics?
That’s a hard question because, while it may be hard when you travel, with the support staff Notre Dame offers, you get a lot of help, and they make it a lot easier.
7. What do you do to relax after a game?
I like to play some video games and just hang out with the other guys in my dorm.
8. What other sports did you play growing up?
Pretty much everything but football; I started hockey and baseball when I was five, soccer when I was eight or nine, played basketball in seventh or eighth grade, and then lacrosse in seventh, eighth, and ninth grade. I never got to football because my dad was a hockey coach.
9. What are you studying here?
I’m enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business and interested in studying finance.
10. Do you have a favorite professor or class so far?
I took Ed Helms’ accounting class. Accounting is not the most exciting class, but he makes it entertaining.
11. What do you hope to accomplish after graduation?
I’d like to take hockey as far as I can. I love the game so much it’s not something I can give up easily, and even if it’s not at the highest level, it’s something I would like to try to play after graduation. If not I’ll get a job in the real world.
12. What hockey player or players do you most admire?
Obviously with my size I like to go after the little guys. I like Brian Gionta (of the Montreal Canadiens) and Martin St. Louis (of the Tampa Bay Lightning). Being from Pittsburgh I’m not really a Penguins fan but I like Maxime Talbot. He’s a gritty, third or fourth line guy.
13. How did it help you having an older brother who played collegiate hockey?
He is a good outlet, someone to talk to if things aren’t going my way or if I need advice. When I was little I used to travel up to all of his games so I could get a feel for what it was like. Seeing that got me focused on what it would take to get to that level.
14. What activities besides hockey do you enjoy?
I play a fair amount of video games, from Nintendo 64 to XBox. I watch a lot of movies, and I do a fair amount of napping in between.
15. How did playing for USA Hockey help prepare you for a college career?
I played for the USNTDP, and the “DP” at the end of it stands for “developmental program.” They really do that there; you work out all the time, you box, and you really get the full package. Also, you get to play older kids, like 19- and 20-year olds when you’re 16, and college kids when you’re 17-18. My body really matured there physically. The international part is also really helpful; you play so many different teams with different styles, so you learn a lost of systems that help you out down the road.
16. What was your favorite memory from freshman year?
I think finals week, as odd as that might sound. We had the whole week off so we could get our studying in, and we had a lot of late nights watching movies and just hanging out with the guys.
17. What are your goals of the team for the upcoming year?
I think our team has a lot to prove. We have a lot of talent but we have yet to display it. We’ve been a little inconsistent and we’re trying to smooth that out. The sky’s the limit for our team. We’re trying to make it back to the NCAA tournament and go from there.
18. As a sophomore, what advice would you give to freshmen on the hockey team?
Be ready to go at any time. There are guys on the team who get minimal chances for playing time, and I was in this situation last year. As miserable as it may get only being able to watch guys play, just remember it’s a game and you’re our there to have fun. Keep that in mind and it definitely helps you along the way.
19. What professional sports teams do you root for?
My parents are both from Philly, so all the Philadelphia sports team. I grew up rooting for the Phillies. I like the Eagles and the Flyers, and I’m not really a big pro basketball fan, but I’ll watch the Sixers if they’re on. I also root for the Cavaliers because I like LeBron James and my roommate is from Cleveland.
20. Do you have any nicknames?
People just attach different things to the end of “Gaul”. I hear Gauler, Gaulzy, Gaulsky. A lot of “Paddy” too that gets thrown around.
21. What is your favorite television show and movie?
I watch a lot of “Family Guy”, which would probably be my favorite. I enjoy “Entourage”, too. For movies, I’d say “Zoolander”, very quotable, and also “Shawshank Redemption” for sure.
22. What is your favorite spot on campus?
Every Sunday my parents are in town, and Sunday mornings we’ll go down to the Grotto and feed the ducks at the lake, so that’s probably my favorite spot on campus.
— ND —