Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Mark Rycroft Chat

Kelly Flannigan: I watched you play junior & it is good to see that you are doing so well. My question is, how did the jump from junior to university differ from the one from university to the ahl? Everyone back in Penticton is proud of you. Keep up the good work!!!

Mark Rycroft: The biggest difference is style of game. Juniors to college you go to less games -- approximately 40 games. So you adapt to a much more intense game in college. From college to American league you jump up to 80 games and the biggest challenge is to stay mentally sharp for those 80 games. You gotta be smarter to play professional hockey than you do college hockey. You have to think faster.

Tami from Worcester,MA: i go to every game and i see you score everytime how does it feel to have thousands of people cheer for you?

Mark Rycroft: I'll tell you what one of the biggest rushes for me is to score a goal. The fact there are thousands there just adds to the rush. It only feels good to score if we win.

Paul: How old were you when you began playing hockey?

Mark Rycroft: I began skating at approximately four years old in Brooks, Alberta.

KingIceCat123: Hi mark, congrats to you and the team this week. You certainly helped them out of the mini slump. What have you concentrated on mostly in the past few weeks? -Your fans behind the glass in 123! (David & Erik) PS Thanks for the autograph last night!

Mark Rycroft: Two things actually -- The first would be wall-play in my own end and the second would be getting my show away as quick as possible.

Brian R.: Who's the toughest player you ever had to keep from going to the net?

Mark Rycroft: Matt Pettinger who plays for Portland. He's a pretty big dude and I battled against him in practice at Denver and it was no easy task stopping him.

ICEMAN: You have a very bright future, Mark. Is there a pro who you looked up to growing up?

Mark Rycroft: Strange as it may seem, I always admired Keith Tkachuk as a player. Even when he was with Winnipeg. It's just because he played tough and scored goals.

Billy B.: What do you think of the Blues deal to get Keith Tkachuk? Is the deal likely to make your trip to The Show any quicker?

Mark Rycroft: I think the Blues made a great deal. It definitely bolstered our chances to win a Stanley Cup.

IceCats Fan: Hi Mark..Just wanted to say Congrad's on being named the player of the week...Worcester fans love ya...GOOOO 'Cats... :)

Kitty: How did you arrive at the University of Denver?

Mark Rycroft: George Gwozdecky, Steve Miller and Rico Blasi recruited me there. I had a few schools that were interested in me but Denver offered a great opportunity because they have a great program there and it was just where I felt I fit in best. Denver seemed to show the most interest of all the schools.

David J & Erik S: Do you do anything outside of practice, to get prepped for the games..anything different from the others?

Mark Rycroft: I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before the games -- heavy on the peanut butter.

Kelly: what degree did you receive from university & was that really important to you?

Mark Rycroft: A degree is very important to me. I will be finishing it off in the next two summers. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity the St. Louis Blues offered me. I am studying real estate construction management. Denver has an excellent construction program and business school.

Brian R.: What do you like to do when your not playing any hockey?

Mark Rycroft: I like to play guitar and I like to watch movies. I also like to read People magazine.

Amerks Fan: Have any players taken you "under their wing" (so to speak) in helping you adjust to the league? Or is it a group of guys looking out for themselves in the hopes of getting the call up to the bigs.

Mark Rycroft: A big influence for me at the start of the year was Chris Murray but he is injured right now - he hurt his wrist. He helped me out a lot in adjusting mentally to the game. Another guy who Pascal Rheaume, he always has interesting words to say to me.

Kelly: is it hard being away from home?

Mark Rycroft: Not anymore. I left home to play juniors when I was 17.

Kelly: is there any significance to the # you wear?

Mark Rycroft: No ther isn't. I wore 21 for the past five years of my career but unfortunately it was taken when I got here. My dad wear number 19 when he played for the Calgary Centennials back in the day. He also wore number 21 but I think I will stick with number 19.

Richard, Providence: You mentioned the St. Louis Blues earlier. Do you keep an eye on what goes on with the parent club, or do you concentrate more on what is going on on your team?

Mark Rycroft: I just focus on the AHL when I am here. 'Cause I have to excel in Worcester before I ever get a chance in St. Louis. But everybody kind of knows what is going on -- they all keep an ear to the floor.

Kelly: where do you spend your off season & what do you do while you are there?

Mark Rycroft: I spend my off season in Denver training and going to school. I miss my old teammates a bit.

Derek Lawton from Penticton: Mark do you remember "helmets and gloves"?

Mark Rycroft: Yes. I used to kick Kris Omland's butt. Your lucky I never got to you.

mitch & vic ...: hi mark congrads from an old hockey coach and family friend we are all very proud of you keep up the good work ..... vic aubie and family

Mark Rycroft: Thanks for the compliment. I hope things are going well.

Mark Rycroft: I'd like to say hi to Penticton and all of my friends back there especially the Lawtons. Hi to my buddies in Calgary and anybodies who's listening at the University of Denver. We'll just keep working hard here in Worcester and make a run in the playoffs. Thanks to everybody who wrote in.

Moderator: SLAM! Sports would like to thank Mark Rycroft for taking the time out of his schedule to speak with us. We wish him good luck the rest of the way. Please keep an eye on for the next chat.