Saturday, March 8, 2008

Player Spotlight: C.J. Lee

Power Rankings are down the page a little, so scroll down if you want to check those out.

Next up: Michael Dorr of the Des Moines Buccaneers.

Name: C.J. Lee
Current Team: Green Bay Gamblers
Position: Forward
Hometown: Staten Island, New York
Date of Birth: April 28, 1989
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 175 lbs.
Stats: 13 goals, 11 assists
Previous Team: New Jersey Rockets
College: RPI (2009)

Ryan: What is your favorite and least favorite arena (outside of your own) to play in and why?

C.J. Lee: My favorite arena would have to be Waterloo because the atmosphere is great and the ice sheet is Olympic size. My least favorite rink would probably have to be Ohio. The times we played there we really didnt have a place to keep our gear and the games were scheduled really late at night.

Ryan: What were your thoughts and feelings when you found out coach Mazzoleni was fired?

CL: When Coach Mazzoleni's contract was terminated it was very shocking because we were about to leave on the road and it came out of nowhere. All I can say is that I respected Coach Mazzoleni as a coach and even more as a person and admired him for his positive and "never say die" attitude.

Ryan: Describe your USHL experience so far.

CL: Its been great so far. From the caliber of players, to the rinks, to how everything is done in this league is so professional. At first the transition was pretty tough but once I gained some confidence and was given a couple of opportunities I really picked my game up to the next level.

Ryan: What is the best part about playing for the Gamblers?

CL: The best part about playing for the Gamblers would have to be how close of a team we have. Although things haven't been going our way this season, we always stick together and play our hardest every game. Also the city isn't too bad with Lambeau Field and the Packers.

Ryan: What made RPI the right school for you?

CL: RPI was the right fit for me both academically and athletically. Ever since I was young I wanted to study engineering and RPI has one of the top programs. As for hockey, the coaching staff is great and I feel they are a team that is getting better and better every year.

Thanks to C.J. for taking some time to answer these.


Anonymous said...

Not sure if you've been keeping track of the Fargo Force, Ryan. I just thought id leave you with this article and current commitments.

Force finds young talent

Mike McFeely,
Published Friday, January 18, 2008

You can quibble about the Urban Plains Center hockey arena and the mish-mash mess of a process its supporters are taking to get it built, but you cannot quibble about this: It is going to be filled with talent when it opens in the fall.
The Fargo Force, the United States Hockey League team that will act as the arena’s lead tenant, has signed five players who’ve already committed to Western Collegiate Hockey Association programs. Included is Garrett Clarke, the 15-year-old phenom defenseman who earlier this week verbally committed to North Dakota. He’s the youngest player ever to commit to UND.

Other WCHA-bound players headed for Fargo are Nate Schmidt, a defenseman from St. Cloud Cathedral (committed to Minnesota); Nate Condon, a forward from Wausau, Wis., (Minnesota); Josh Birkholz, a forward from the Blake School in Minneapolis (Minnesota); and Bryce Ravndalen, a forward from Warroad, Minn. (St. Cloud State).

Force coach and general manager Dean Blais has 10 players on his roster and will add two more before the USHL’s entry draft in May, when the Force will select eight players. Blais said he’ll add three or four more players from tryouts over the summer. He’ll carry 23 players once the USHL season begins in October.

The headliner so far is Clarke, a high school sophomore who’s playing for the Russell Stover traveling team in Kansas City. Originally from New Brunswick, Canada, Clarke is an offensive-minded defenseman who had scholarship offers from 13 colleges. He chose UND over Wisconsin after visiting Grand Forks last weekend.

Blais said Clarke will play two seasons for the Force before joining the Sioux in the fall of 2010.
“It’s kind of a natural thing for him to go from Fargo to UND,” Blais said. “I’ve seen him play quite a bit and (UND coach) Dave Hakstol really liked him, too. It should be a good fit.”

Blais, of course, is the former Sioux coach who built his legend winning national championships in Grand Forks before giving the NHL a shot. With those connections, the obvious question is whether the Force will become a feeder team for UND. The USHL team in Lincoln, Neb., for years served as a seasoning stop for UND.

“That sometimes happens whether it is intentional or not,” Blais said. “Our players ended up in Lincoln a lot because (former UND player) Steve Johnson was there. So I would think maybe that could happen. But the USHL is a draft system where players are available to everyone, so if a kid is available in the draft we don’t have an advantage getting a UND kid more than anybody else.”

As for the UP Center, which has been in the headlines mostly because of financing problems, Blais said he’s happy construction is going well.

“From my standpoint, I’m happy with the arena being ahead of schedule. All 12 beams are up and so we’re on time for our first game to be played there in October,” Blais said.

When the puck is dropped, there’ll be no doubting the talent assembled under the UP Center’s controversial roof.

Fargo Force players

Player Pos. Current Team

Josh Birkholz F Blake (Minn.) HS

Garrett Clarke D Russell Stover

Austin Coldwell D Bismarck Bobcats (NAHL)

Nate Condon F Wausau (Wis.) HS

Calvin Dehann D Kemptwick CJHL

Nate Schmidt D St. Cloud Cathedral HS

Jordan George F Topeka Roadrunners

Matt Hemingway G Alexandria (Minn.) HS

Bryce Ravndalen F Warroad (Minn.) HS

Cameron Stowers F Russell Stover

Anonymous said...

Lee is a 2009 RPI recruit, not 2008.

Ryan said...