MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) --Joey Marooney, a Chaska, Minn. native, made his first Gopher Hockey appearance last weekend at Mariucci Arena in a 1-0 shutout win over Minnesota State.
The forward is coming off two seasons in the United States Hockey League with three different teams and was excited to get on the ice wearing the Maroon & Gold.
Marooney tallied 55 points in 116 career games in his two-year USHL span, which included time in Cedar Rapids, Sioux Falls, and then finally Green Bay, where he spent the entirety of his second season.
A graduate of Holy Family Catholic, the freshman is excited to have an impact in the Gopher Hockey program in the upcoming years.
Recently, GopherSports.com caught up with him to talk about his first appearance as a Gopher and what it means to play for the University of Minnesota.
GopherSports.com: To start off, when did you first start playing hockey and when did you realize you loved to play the game?
Joey Marooney: When I was around three or four years old my dad got me on skates. My older brother played too, so we were always competitive growing up, and played together quite a bit.
GS: Does your brother play college hockey as well?
JM: Yes, he is a senior at Alabama-Huntsville.
GS: You graduated high school in 2014 and then played two years in the United States Hockey League. What was your experience like playing in the USHL with a few different teams?
JM: It was a really fun league. It got me prepared for the University of Minnesota, and it was a great experience to play for a few teams. I started in Sioux Falls, then went to Cedar Rapids, and finally Green Bay. It was nice to settle down in Green Bay at the end of the first year and play there for the whole season the second year.
GS: You played with Brent Gates Jr. in Green Bay at the end of your first season. What is it like to be able to be back on the ice with him again this season?
JM: Brent is a great guy, and great teammate. It’s nice to have a solid player alongside you as well. It’s definitely awesome to be here at school with him having played with him in the past.
GS: You spent a good portion of your life living out east. How did you end up choosing the University of Minnesota?
JM: I knew I wanted to stay in-state once I moved here, so that was a big factor. The University of Minnesota is not only a great hockey program, but I also knew I would be able to get a great education here, which was definitely important for me.
GS: What was the transition like when you moved here before high school and soon started to look at hockey programs?
JM: I lived in Pennsylvania for most of my life, so I grew up watching schools out east. I moved here in 8th grade and realized how big hockey is in Minnesota, and it wasn’t long before I started to look at the Gopher Hockey program.
GS: You’ve been in the USHL for a few years, and didn’t have to worry about class at all. How has the adjustment been to being on campus for the first time as a student-athlete?
JM: It’s tough, especially being out of school for two years. It’s a little different than what I’m used to, but I’m definitely having fun and enjoying it all.
GS: It can be kind of overwhelming as a freshman to get used to the size of the campus here. What is your favorite thing about the U of M campus?
JM: Honestly the locker room here and being around Mariucci Arena is a blast. It’s a little escape from the school for a while so I enjoy that part of it. Being around the guys is always something I look forward to every day as well.
GS: Last weekend against Minnesota State, you were in the lineup for the first time this season. What was that experience like after working hard in practice for a while now?
JM: I was a little nervous before the game, but once I had my skates laced up I felt fine and was ready to go. It was fun to get out there in front of the Mariucci crowd and definitely a great feeling knowing the hard work has paid off. I’m obviously still going to continue to work hard in practice, but it was awesome to get out there for the first time.
GS: Do you have any personal goals this season?
JM: I want to continue to find a spot in the lineup, especially after last weekend. Overall, this is a team game, so creating opportunities for the team to be in the best position to win is the main goal.
Quick Hits: Joey Marooney
Favorite NHL Player: Patrick Kane
Play Other Sports: Golf
Favorite Food: Steak
Funniest Guy on the Team: Ryan Lindgren
Who Plays You in a Movie: Mark Wahlberg
Favorite Hockey Movie: Miracle
Favorite Hobby: Golf
Best Road trip: Mexico Senior Year
Best Sports Memory: Playoffs in USHL
Desert Island Partner: Curt Simonson
Smartest Guy on the Team: Darian Romanko
Favorite Thanksgiving Food: Turkey
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