As the 2012-13 season approaches, we'll chat with each of Gopher Hockey's nine freshmen starting this week with forward Ryan Reilly.
The son of Gopher Hockey alum Mike Reilly (1979-81) and one of three Reilly brothers on the Minnesota roster this season, Ryan Reilly joins the Gophers after helping the Penticton Vees (BCHL) to the Royal Bank Cup in 2012 as the top team in Canadian Junior A. Reilly's brothers Mike and Connor (Connor and Ryan are twins while Mike is just under two years younger) also skated for the Vees last season and helped the team to BCHL and CJHL titles before taking home the Royal Bank Cup.
Starting his prep career at Holy Angels in 2009-10, Ryan Reilly tallied 56 points (21 goals, 35 assists) in 25 games before joining the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) the following season. Last season with Penticton, he set career marks across the board with 73 points, 32 goals and 41 assists in the Vees' championship season.
We caught up with Ryan earlier this week at Mariucci Arena.
You'll wear #9 with the Gophers this season. Is there a story behind that?
I actually wore it in high school at Holy Angels and wanted to wear it last year with Penicton, but I wore #8 instead. #9's always been a number that I really liked, so I asked Gres (Gopher Hockey equipment manager Lee Greseth) if it was available and luckily it was.
Do you have any pregame rituals?
I normally put my left skate on before my right skate. I also like to tape my stick as soon as I get to the rink -- I'll get my undergear on and then tape it up. Those are basically the only two. I like to play soccer before games also, but I'm not very good. I'll play for maybe five minutes.
Growing up in Chanhassen, Minn., what does it mean to you to be a Gopher?
It means a lot. I've been waiting two years for this experience. I'm really excited to finally be a Gopher and to be part of such a rich tradition here. It's going to be a lot of fun.
How are the first few weeks of freshman year going?
I'm really looking forward to getting the season started here in a couple weeks. We've got our first practice pretty early this Saturday, and I'm excited to get on the ice with the guys. It's always a good time.
What's one thing that people don't know about you?
Probably that I really like to read books. I like to read science fiction and a lot of economic books. The one I just read was called "Boomerang."
Last one, what's it like playing on the same team as your brothers?
I'm really looking forward to it. It was obviously a great year playing with them last season in Penticton, and we're all excited for this year too. It's really special being able to play with them. I don't think many people get that opportunity in their lifetime. All of us being freshman together...it's going to be a great experience.