A Sit-Down Interview: Before the NHL Draft
Jaret Anderson-Dolan, an Edge Student since grade 6 is ranked 31st by International Scouting Services ahead of the 2017 NHL Draft. He took the time to answer a few questions before the Draft.
What is your most vivid first Hockey Memory?
Skating on my backyard rink. My parents would always make a backyard rink in the winter. My first Hockey memory would just be skating in the backyard with my brother and my two moms.
Do you have a favourite quote?
“Pressure is a privilege.” I think that all the players and athletes that have dealt with pressure believe that it is earned. You wouldn’t be at a high level where there is pressure if you didn’t earn it. I think taking that pressure and seeing it as a privilege changes it to a positive.
In regards to representing Team Canada and other events on a large stage, do you like the pressure?
I think good players play best under pressure. If you’re going to play at a high level, you’re almost always going to be under pressure. It is always there and you have to learn how to play with it. I haven’t even experienced the amount of pressure at the next level. I think all high-end athletes need to enjoy pressure.
What other athletes do you like to watch & follow?
I am a huge Sidney Crosby fan. I think it’s like that for a lot of Canadian kids. Since he came into the NHL, I have watched how hard he works, how he plays, and what kind of leader he is. I have always been watching him and I haven’t really watched anyone else as intensely as I have watched Crosby. I like reading about Mohammed Ali and Michael Jordan as well. I like seeing other athletes and how successful they were in their sport.
Who do you pattern your game off of?
I think everyone kind of looks at (Sidney) Crosby and wants to play like him. But, obviously we have different styles. One guy I kind of look at is John Tavares – he’s a two-way forward and pretty gifted offensively and I think I have some offensive abilities as well. I also take a lot of pride in playing the on defensive side of the game. From a leadership standpoint (John) Tavares is a great leader and I look up to him.
What does your pre-game routine look like?
I have a super strict pre-game routine; it would take a while to explain in detail but, it starts the night before with going to bed early. Staying relaxed throughout the day and trying not to think about the game. When I start thinking about the game, it gets in my head and I start getting nervous. Where as, if I am at the rink early and start stretching, riding the bike, foam rolling, playing sewer ball and soccer, it helps me to not think too much. I don’t think much about the game until right before; that’s when I really turn it on.
What is on your iPod?
A little bit of everything! I am not into anything specific. I kind of go through different ones every day. A little bit of country, little bit of dance.
How do you balance school and hockey?
It does take a lot of extra effort playing in the WHL (Western Hockey League). You’re on the road a lot. You’re missing a lot of class but you have to find time because education is so important. Some days you have to go see a tutor if you want to keep your marks up. With the (Spokane) Chiefs, they hold us to pretty high standards; so it is about doing the little things like going in early before class to talk to a teacher or going in after school/practice to get some tutoring as well.
How was balancing school and hockey at Edge?
It was great, all of the teachers here are very supportive, they understand what we as student-athletes are going through and what we need, many of them were actually student-athletes themselves. The understanding and flexibility of all the teachers really helped me in the classroom.
Talk about your support system:
It’s been great! My parents are super supportive and they also hold me to pretty high standards. They are always there when I need them. Same goes for my coaches, I have a pretty good support system as there well. Not only coaches but trainers too. Ross (McCain; Manager of the Duckett Performance Centre) and guys like that that I don’t see throughout the year, I can always give them a text if I need any advice.
Do you lean on guys like Ross throughout the year?
Yes, a ton! He prepares a program so I can stay in shape throughout the year. I have worked with Ross for a long time and he is a close friend, so I check in to see how he is doing.
Do you have any advice for Bantam players who were missed in the WHL Draft?
Well I think there are a lot of good examples, like Jake Bean. The guy wasn’t Drafted in the Bantam Draft then he goes first round (in the 2016 NHL Draft). Even though the feeling is terrible, not getting your name called, Jake Bean isn’t the only one. There are a lot of examples of guys that don’t get drafted, so I think you just have to put it behind you, work hard, and use it as motivation to prove everybody wrong. It sounds like a cliché but it’s true. It’s really the only thing you can do.
Can you speak to a time where you had to overcome some adversity?
Yea I actually had some this year. At the beginning of the year, I got cut from Team Canada (U-18 Iva Hlinka Tournament). This was a team that I expected to make as I hold myself to pretty high standards. It would have meant a lot to me but unfortunately, I didn’t make it. It was tough – it was the beginning of my Draft year and it’s a big tournament for me personally. To play for Team Canada is always an honour as well. I just had to keep moving forward and, the guys that make those decisions, I wanted to prove them wrong. I wanted to have a good year because, at the end of day, it is a short tournament. I was super disappointed, but at the same time I think it helped me a lot to grow as a person and gave me some motivation for the year.
How was your experience playing at Edge?
It was unbelievable. I always tell people, it was the best thing I could have done for my development and my career. The focus on development helped me so much. There is always ice time and there were always people in the gym. I really appreciated the support of all the teachers and other staff too; they are very concerned to ensure all students’ needs are taken care of.
Do you have a favourite memory at Edge?
For sure. It was winning the San Jose Tournament my first year Bantam. That was the number one. Also, winning the Phoenix Tournament was another. When you win championships like that, it’s obviously special. We had a great group of guys so it’s definitely one of my favourite memories.
What was the biggest challenge transitioning from Elite 15’s to the WHL?
The WHL is a completely different animal. Everybody is much bigger and stronger – if you are a 16 year old, you can be going up against 20 year old men. You need to be ready to play that physical game. Just the speed and how much time you have. In Midget, it may seem like you have a lot of time but once you make that step to junior you have no time and you need to make plays quickly. You have to read the game pretty well. So, I think the speed and the strength would be the biggest jump.
What about the travel schedule? Did the CSSHL help you prepare at all in that aspect?
Yes, absolutely. We did a lot of bus trips, which is similar to the WHL – we aren’t allowed to fly anywhere so bus all of the time. It’s definitely a grind. There is no doubt that playing in the CSSHL helped me.
How do you deal with the pressure and expectations of the upcoming NHL draft?
I don’t know. I think the pressure is always there. I put pressure on myself; scouts are at every game, and friends and family as well. You just have to put it in the back of your mind. It’s hard to do but you need to simplify and play the game. You can’t think about it. For example, I think at the beginning of the year, I was thinking about it a little too much and I wasn’t playing very good hockey. As soon as I put that behind me and focused on playing the right way and started doing the right things; that’s when I started to find my game and it turned around.