Seth Helgeson has five points and 28 penalty minutes this year.
GopherSports.com: You are the most veteran defensemen on the team this year. How is this year different for you compared to previous years?
Seth Helgeson: Things are certainly different with coach Guentzel, but I have tried this year to take on more of a leadership role on the blueline. If I need to say something to the rest of the defensemen, I will. I have also been trying to lead by example more this year. I have only been here for two years, but that is more than anybody else. This year has been a little bit different, but so far I think we have been doing pretty well.
GS: You mentioned coach Guentzel. What does he bring to the team?
SH: He brings an intense attitude and gets guys to play hard. He holds players accountable and harps on the simple things that maybe we did not always do last year. It seems like we are blocking more shots this year and are getting more sticks in shooting and passing lanes trying to disrupt pucks. We are also playing more physical and battling in front of the net. On the offensive side, we are jumping into the play and using our feet to our advantage to make a good hockey play.
GS: You brought up playing physical and that is something you are known for. What would you say is your role on the team?
SH: I like to play an aggressive, physical style of play and I will stick up for my teammates when I need to. It is a role I have played since my freshman year and have stuck with it. I think that is something that needs to be done. Everyone on our team has a role and mine is playing physical.
GS: You have delivered some big hits in your career. Do you hear the crowd reaction when you hit somebody?
SH: It obviously gets the crowd into it, but I am kind of in the moment and do not really hear anything. I think a big hit can do two things. It can send a message to the other team and it can get the guys on our team into the game a little bit more and get some of the momentum on our side.
GS: You have spent a fair amount of time in the penalty box during your career. Do you have a good penalty box story you can share with us?
SH: We played Alaska Anchorage my freshman year at home and each team had five guys in the penalty box. However, I was not one of them. We were playing three-on-three hockey and I was out on the ice, which would usually never happen. An Anchorage player crosschecked Mike Carman off the draw and then skated the full length of the ice to hit Carman again even though he did not have the puck. I went after him and then we both went to the penalty box, so there were six players on each team in there. We exchanged some words from the box. It was pretty tight in there and I was standing the whole time.
GS: You have scored four goals in 83 career games, but have two goals in your last five games. What do you attribute your recent offensive outburst to?
SH: I think it has to be the power of the mustache that a lot of the guys on the team grew for Movember. It has given me a little confidence. It has been going well for me recently. I think I have been in the right place at the right time.
GS: Are you keeping the mustache?
SH: I don't know. We will have to see.
GS: What do you like to do off the ice?
SH: We do not have a lot of free time during the season. But in the summer or when I do go home, I like to fish in the river. We have a boat, so that makes it nice. Jake Parenteau and I did some fishing in August back home and caught between 20 and 30 smallmouth bass. I also like to golf a lot and hang out with my friends.
GS: How busy are you during the season? Take us through a typical day.
SH: We have morning workouts, which are either at 6:30 a.m. or 7:30 a.m. I will go to one of those and then go home and eat breakfast and head to class. After that I will go home and eat lunch quickly and then head to Mariucci Arena for practice. We practice for around two hours and then have a meal after practice. I am getting home from the rink after 5 p.m. and have to study and do homework. You also have to get to bed at a decent time because you cannot be tired for practice.
GS: What is the best thing about being a Gopher hockey player?
SH: For me, it is nice to be able to play in front of your family. My parents can come to every home game and can make it to a lot of road games as well. If they cannot make it then they can watch on TV. My aunt and uncle and grandmother watch a lot of our games on television as well. To me, it is important that my family is able to watch me play.