In this 2007-08 premier edition of Rays On The Record, the Stingrays’ Joe Shetrom chats with defenseman Andrew Andricopoulos. Andricopoulos, 20, is in his first season as a professional after spending the last four years with the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, where he won a Memorial Cup Championship in 2006. In this first of a two-part interview, the Beverley,
native talks about joining the Stingrays, adjusting to the pro game, and playing for Patrick Roy.
JS: What’s your assessment on the first half of the 2007-08 season, as well as the progress of your first pro season?
AA: I think we started off pretty well, and then we had a slump where we lost six games in a row. But then we picked it up and won twelve in a row. We have a lot of talent, I think. We’ve got a lot of rookies, mixed with a great group of veteran guys. I think we can surprise a lot of people, that’s for sure.
JS: Are you enjoying your time here in the Lowcountry?
AA: Absolutely, I love it. I didn’t know what to expect when I was released from
– I love it, and my family loves it. There are a lot of fun things to do, and it’s a really nice place.
JS: You signed with the Texas Wildcatters last summer. How did that come about?
AA: That came about from my agent. I think it was around June or July that I signed with them. Actually, I think I was the first or second to sign with that team too, so that’s why I was a little surprised when I was released from over there. I guess it was a blessing, because this place is more for me than
, for sure. I love the city, and the guys are great.
JS: When you were released from the Wildcatters, and picked up off waivers by
, what factored into your decision to come here?
AA: Well, it’s a lot closer to home. I also knew the weather would be really nice here, and that was one thing I was looking forward to. I played in
for four years, and I was just sick of seeing ten feet of snow and the sub-zero temperatures every day. So those were probably the biggest factors.
JS: What has it been like adjusting to being so far away from your family and home in
AA: I’m used to it. I went to private school when I turned 14 – I did my freshman and sophomore year in private school – so I’ve been living away from home for almost seven years now, so I’m fairly used to it now. Other than that I really don’t notice.
JS: Has it been lonely since your roommate, Tom Maxwell, moved up to the Hershey Bears earlier this season?
AA: He was living here for probably just two weeks when he was called up. It gets a little boring sometimes, but there are other guys in the apartment complex so we try to have fun. I enrolled in online classes, so it gives me time to work on that and focus.
JS: You made a great professional debut, scoring a late 3rd period goal against the Johnstown Chiefs in late October that assured the Stingrays at least one point in the standings. How did the goal come about?
AA: The puck just came out in the right spot at the right time. I just took a slapshot and it went in. Couldn’t ask for anything better than that. It sent the game into overtime, and we got a point in that game.
JS: You’ve played forward on a handful of occasions this season. When was the last time you played up front?
AA: My last season for
my coach, for some reason, wanted to put me up front for two games, so I played two games last season at forward. Before that it’s probably been ten years or so. I’ve been a defenseman basically my whole life. It’s definitely a readjustment period.
JS: Did you come into this season with any particular goals in mind?
AA: Honestly, just to have some fun. Really, I just wanted to have fun this year. The past four years in
I learned a lot, met a lot of great people. But it was just a tough situation for me being up there. It might not sound professional, but my goal this year is just to have fun, do the best I can do and try to help my hockey team win some games.
JS: As a rookie, what are some of the jobs/chores you’ve had?
AA: I have to pick up the pucks after practice, as well as with the other guys. Clean the bus after road trips. If we’re ever standing in line waiting for food, I have to know my role and get to the back of the line. Nothing too harsh. It’s pretty easy.
JS: You spent the last four years playing for the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts. What was it like playing for NHL Hall of Famer Patrick Roy?
AA: Obviously, he knows everything about the game. He taught me a lot; he taught me how to play defense. When I went up there I was a defenseman, but I have to admit I don’t think I played too much defense. I was more of an offensive guy. This year my point production has slowed down a little bit. But I guess it’s normal, coming into a new league. He’s very, very intense. It was difficult at times.
JS: Did you ever ask for his autograph?
AA: I think I did when I first got there. I know there are a few circulating in my house.
Note: Part 2 of Andricopoulos’s interview will appear Thursday.
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