The Inferno Interview Patrick Asselin
Skilled forward Patrick Asselin was one of the first of the new faces signed for the Devils for this coming season. Winning 3 straight championships with SønderjyskE in the Danish league, Asselin took last year out but is raring to get back playing. With that spirit in mind we hassled him as soon as he landed in the country to chat with us.
The-Inferno - Firstly, welcome to the Devils! How have you found the reaction from the fans, especially on Twitter?
Patrick Asselin - Thanks, I'm very excited to be here! The reaction from the fans has been great, I couldn't believe the amount of new followers I had after it was announced. I don't spend too much time on Twitter, but it appears I might need to start.
The-Inferno - You mentioned that Brent Walton spoke to you about Cardiff before signing, what did he tell you that sold Cardiff?
Patrick Asselin - He basically said everything was great. There wasn't one specific thing he said that sold it, but once I started to do my research (thanks to him), I knew this was a city and organization my family would love to be a part of.
The-Inferno - How and when did you get involved with ice hockey? You've played as a forward on both the left and right wings; and also as a centre, does one come more naturally than the other?
Patrick Asselin - I started skating on the backyard rink when I was young, but didn't start organized hockey until I was 7. I have spent enough time playing each position that I'm comfortable playing all three, but like anything it can be an adjustment switching, so I'm probably most comfortable on the wing right now.
The-Inferno - Is there anyone on the current team that you've played with before, either in the pros or junior leagues?
Patrick Asselin - I played with Andrew Hotham back in Saginaw and thats about it. I have played against quite a few of the guys in the past though.
The-Inferno - Have you had a chance to look at the league and other teams rosters yet? Any potential rivalries growing already?
Patrick Asselin - I've had a couple quick looks to get familiar with the league and I have a few friends on other teams. I'm not too sure about the rivalries quite yet, but I'm sure I will figure those out pretty quick. Seems like Sheffield might be one?
The-Inferno - What's the best venue you've played in so far in your career? Have you been warned about the freezer that is Murrayfield up in Edinburgh yet?
Patrick Asselin - Haha I haven't actually heard about the freezer yet, but I'm not too concerned. I played in a few outdoor rinks when I was in Germany. The best rink I've played in so far might be up in Helsinki but the best atmosphere would probably be playing Hanover (outdoor rink) my first year in Germany during the playoffs on the road. We also had great rinks and fans in Denmark and Rosenheim, so I am excited to see how the fans in Cardiff compare!
The-Inferno - 3 championships in 3 years with SønderjyskE in Denmark is a great achievement. What is the proudest moment of your career so far?
Patrick Asselin - The first of those three championships would be the proudest. It was a game 7, 1-0, overtime win on the road. I had lost in the finals the 2 years prior to that and you always hear stories of guys never having won a championship as they get older. They are so difficult to win, and I didn't want that to be me.
The-Inferno - Can you give us an insight into what the fans can expect from yourself on and possibly off the ice? Have you set yourself any goals coming into the next season? Is it even possible to set goals coming into a new country and league where you haven't played before?
Patrick Asselin - Questions like these are always difficult to answer, and usually I have my wife read over and check my answers, but unfortunately she hasn't yet arrived, so it's just me! I think you can expect a good player and a good person and I hope the fans will enjoy watching me play as well interacting with me off the ice. It's always hard to set goals, especially after a year off and a move to a new league. The main goal for the year is to win the league title and I think that's a goal the team has in mind after coming so close last season. I have been good player in the past, so my only personal goal right now is to get back to that level as soon as possible after the long layoff.
The-Inferno - Previous players coming from European leagues have described the language barrier only becoming apparent off the ice. Has that been the same for you? Will it make much difference playing in an English speaking country again?
Patrick Asselin - I would agree with that. The language is never a problem even if the coach doesn't speak english, but it will make a difference being in an english speaking country. I have never had an issue with communication in different countries, even if it takes a while to sort it out, but there is a certain comfort to being in a place that speaks english.
The-Inferno - We've got a whole rake of warmup games this season! KHL (Medvescak Zagreb), Oberliga (Tilburg Trappers), Extraliga (HC Banska Bystrica) teams AND the Coventry Blaze from the EIHL. How does this compare to previous preseasons that you have played in?
Patrick Asselin - One thing I noticed. All the games are at home except the one! That would probably be the biggest difference from previous years. It's always nice spending time getting comfortable in your new surroundings. And 7 games will be great for me after taking the year off.
The-Inferno - How would you describe the standard of the Danish and German leagues compared to where you have played before? Are you looking forward to playing in a more North American style league?
Patrick Asselin - I think the Danish and German leagues would be similar in a lot of ways. I am looking forward to a more North American style of play and I think it will suit my game a little bit.
The-Inferno - As we write this you've arrived in Cardiff! Have you had a chance to have a look around much yet? Is there anything that you absolutely want to see/experience before the season starts?
Patrick Asselin - I have! It has been a little rainy so far, but hasn't stopped me from getting out a little bit. I walked to the mall and couldn't believe how big it was. I would have liked to spend more time exploring the area but it was a lot of walking for one day. I'll be going back soon though. I haven't actually looked too much for things I would love to see, but I will be doing that over the next few weeks. I pretty much want to see all the things.
The-Inferno - Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us. Is there anything you'd like to add or that we've missed?
Patrick Asselin - No problem, it was my pleasure. I think that's a good bit to start, but if anyone has any questions or wants to chat more, I'm happy to talk if you ever see me out and about or at the rink.
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