While the Huskies are in the middle of a league championship race in the WCHA, future Husky forward Chris Gerrie's Penticton Vees have locked up the regular-season title in the BCHL (British Columbia Hockey League) with seven games to go and have their sights set on the postseason. After spending two years in the AJHL (Alberta Junior Hockey League) with the Olds Grizzlies, Chris made the move to Penticton for his final year in Junior A before starting at Michigan Tech next fall. Eighth on the team in points with thirteen goals and twenty-one assists for thirty-four points, his offensive touch has helped the Vees to their league-leading 44-6-0-1 record.
Former Husky Assistant Coach Billy Muckalt had the following to say about Chris:
|Birth Date:||May 7th, 1996|
|Hometown:||Red Deer, Alberta|
You're playing for Penticton right now, how's the season going so far?
The season is going great. I was very fortunate to join such a class and well known organization that Penticton is. From trainers to coaching staff, to the players, everything is very professional.
You were in the AJHL the year before, how was the transition for you?
It was definitely nerve-wracking not knowing any of the teams or any players in the league, or on your team for that matter, but it was good. There was definitely a speed difference and the depth teams was really good. After getting a few games under my belt, I think I really settled in! Overall a good transition; a lot easier when your have a real tight-knit team like we do.
Speaking of tight-knit teams, are you looking to seeing some of the same guys on the other side in the next few years? And seeing some guys that you play against now in the sweater at Tech?
Yeah, for sure. It's nice to see a lot of my teammates commit to universities around the NCAA. I think it will be fun to play them. We're all very competitive so I'm sure it will be a cool experience. I saw Gavin is committed to go next year, so you definitely keep a eye on him every time you play him.
You were drafted by Green Bay here in the USHL, was there any talk about coming to play with them before heading to Tech?
That was definitely an option for me. I had to explore my options and see what was best for me. Ultimately, I wanted to come to Penticton and try to win a national championship.
Let's talk about Tech for a bit. How did you hear about it?
I talked to Bill Muckalt at my first showcase in the AJHL and he kind of filled me in with how they ran things at Tech, and basically guided me through the whole process. I was very impressed with everything Tech had to offer and how well-run the organization was.
How was the rest of the recruiting process for you after that? Any visits down to Houghton?
It was awesome. They really brought me in and introduced me to everyone in the organization. I have a great relationship with Coach Mel and the rest of the staff. I got an opportunity to fly down last year; it was a great weekend. Like I said, everything was very well-run and it made for a great experience.
If you were down during a game, how'd you find the atmosphere at the MacInnes?
Yes, I got a chance to see a game. It was a surreal experience for me. All the guys were very welcoming. The fans were awesome. I couldn't believe how good of a hockey town it is. I had a flight from Chicago to Houghton and there were people with Husky jerseys on so I kinda realized how big of a hockey town it really was.. Everything about the game fascinated me and excites me for next year!
Any other schools that you were considering or had offers from?
I talked to a few schools after my first showcase in the AJHL. I had a couple that I was considering. Tech was the school I wanted a offer from coming out of the first showcase and when that offer came about it wasn't very hard deciding on what school I wanted to go to.
How you would describe your playing style? Are we going to see you sniping goals or grinding in the corner?
I think I would describe myself as an offensive player. I'm more of a pass-first player but I can also score. I think as my junior career continues, I've become more of a 2-way forward that can be reliable on the PK as well. Being hard on the walls in the defensive zone is something I want to get better at. I'm a big believer in "defense creates offense," so there always work to be done in that end of the ice.
Tech is known for its academics and the outdoors around campus. Do you have a major in mind and what are some of your hobbies off the ice?
I'm looking into sports science just because of the options it allows me to do. As far as hobbies go, golfing is definitely my favorite hobby to do. Obviously you can't do that in season, so probably Netflix (laughs).
Telus Cup Success
When asked what random fact he'd like Husky fans to know, Gerrie said it was "That I won national championship in midget in 2012." The Telus Cup is held every April to decide the best team at the midget level in Canada. As a member of the Red Deer Chiefs in 2012, Gerrie had an excellent tournament scoring 6 goals with 3 assists, and was named Player of the Game in the 5-1 semi-final victory over the Saskatoon Contacts with 4 points.
The tournament is loaded with talent and 2012-2013 was no exception. It featured two current NHL draft picks: Julien Nantel, drafted in 2014 by Colorado, and Tate Olsen, drafted by Vancouver in 2015. Now eligible and likely to be drafted in the first round is Julien Gauthier, currently at Val-d'Or Foreurs of the QMJHL. Gerrie will also see an old teammate in the WCHA as Alaska's Ryker Leer was also a member of the Red Deer team.
Quick movement on the 5 on 3 followed by a one-timer to the back of the net.
Double OT game winning goal with another one-timer.
Other Recruiting News
And according to Twitter today, Stillwater, MN forward Jackson Cates has announced his commitment to MTU. The announcement was first spotted by @ChrisDilks and was confirmed by Cates' own account. Cates was the leading scorer and team MVP last year, and is only trailing his younger brother this year in points with 19 goals and 31 assists for 50 points, which averages out to 2.17 points per game.
Chris joins forward Alex Smith and defenseman Colin Swoyer in committing to the Huskies in 2016.