CATCHING UP WITH...MORGAN KLIMCHUK

Oct 17, 2012 - 08:42 MDT
Written By: Watts, Jesse

The Regina Pats made great strides last season, posting a 37-27-6-2 record for a fourth-place finish in the East Division while making the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

A major factor in the Pats’ success last season was the play of many of their younger players, such as Morgan Klimchuk, who stepped in and made immediate contributions.

Klimchuk, a Calgary, AB, product, was the Pats’ first-round pick, fifth overall, from the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.  The 17-year-old enjoyed a terrific season as a rookie last year, netting 18 goals and 36 points while establishing himself as a key cog in the Pats’ offense.

Having just begun his second season in the WHL, Klimchuk expects to play a bigger role in the Pats’ plans for the 2012-13 campaign.  As a top prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft, Klimchuk also expects to have plenty of eyes on him throughout the season.

A crafty forward with elite-level hockey sense and the ability to play in all situations, Klimchuk is determined to build on his personal success and his team’s success last year to help keep the Pats on an upward trajectory.

CATCHING UP WITH…MORGAN KLIMCHUK

On the 2012-13 edition of the Pats…
“It’s looking pretty good.  We are a pretty young team, so we do have some learning to do, but we are starting to come together here.  Everyone is starting to buy into what we are trying to do, and we are going in the right direction, so that’s a positive.  We’ve got a great group of guys in here, and I think we have the ability to do something special.”

On building on last year’s success…
“It’s about keeping the same culture, I think.  It’s about everyone bringing their best every day, and if we are not winning and we aren’t performing to our best ability, we don’t want that to be acceptable.  One of the things we really tried to instill last year was a change in the culture in that nothing is acceptable but their best.  We have to make sure everyone is focused on bringing their best and continue giving everything they have.”

On playing a bigger role this season…
“I’m just hoping to contribute in any way I can.  Whether it’s playing on special teams or five-on-five, I’ll be a go-to guy in any situation they need me to.  I want to make sure I can maintain my play while keeping the other guys accountable as well.  I’m looking to step into a bigger offensive role this year, which is something I’m going to take great pride in doing.”

On what he learned from his rookie season…
“You’re a little more experience, and you’re used to the routine of practicing and playing lots of games.  I think you look forward to it more so once you’re used to it.  Every year, you get a bit more experienced and wiser, so you build off that.  Coming into a 72-game schedule in your first year, a lot of guys aren’t used to that after coming out of Midget leagues.  You have to learn to get used to the schedule and learn to handle it mentally.”

On the Pats’ youth…
“You know, I think all our younger guys have done a great job, so far, and have helped out.  You’re not going to get big minutes from most of them, but when they are out there, they are playing their roles and contributing in any way they can.”

On being NHL Draft-eligible…
“You do focus on it a little bit because you know there are people watching you.  But, at the same time, you have to focus more on the game and doing what you can for the team.  I know I have to play well, but it’s more out of helping the team win rather than trying to make an impression.”