It is that time of the year as the UCLA Hockey team gets ready to begin their 2018-19 campaign. Go Joe Bruin talks to team president and captain Peter Katz about the new season.
The UCLA Hockey 2018-19 season begins this Friday and Go Joe Bruin wants to get you up to speed with one of the coolest club sports to don the blue and gold.
We once again talked to the team’s president and captain Peter Katz about what to expect from this season. For a more in-depth look, click on the link above to read our interview with Katz from this past summer.
Go Joe Bruin: We had discussed UCLA Hockey this past summer (which you can read about in the link above), so why don’t you give a brief preview of the team heading into the 2018-19 season.
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UCLA Ice Hockey: This off season featured a lot of changes for the team. We had a lot of seniors graduate and lost our head coach as well. However, we’re really excited for the year as we have 15 rookies coming in, many of whom are poised to make a big impact on the ice for us right away. We have also brought back Greg Simmons as the Head Coach this year who has previously held various roles with the team for many years to provide some stability behind the bench. Our first game is a big rivalry game this Friday against Cal so we’ll have a tough test right away, but a couple wins this weekend would be a great way to jumpstart the year.
GJB: Who are some of the Bruins that fans should keep an eye on this season and how is the goalie situation?
UIH: The best teams are built from their own net out which is why we have a lot of confidence that we can make a deep playoff run this season. Our starting goalie returns from last season, Matt Bohdan, who will also be an assistant captain this year. He’s as solid as they come in net and gives us a great chance to win any game this year. Freshman goalie Max Muller joined the team this offseason and he will definitely be seeing game action as well for us.
Assistant captain PJ Smigliani will help anchor our defense alongside sophomore Richard Zhou and Freshman Billy Zegras which gives us a physical blue line that will keep opposing forwards frustrated all game long.
Offensively, we’re returning our leading scorer from last year Theo Haboucha and added quite a few new weapons including Junior transfer Griffin McCarty who has been playing juniors the past few seasons.
GJB: UCLA will take on USC at Staples Center on Thursday, October 18 after an LA Kings game. Tell us about that event and what it means to play on the same ice as champions.
UIH: First game of the Crosstown Cup is at Staples Center this year which is always an awesome experience. It’s awesome to watch guys like Kopitar and Quick and this year Barzal since they’re playing the Islanders, and then be able to try to emulate them right after. Fans can still buy tickets to the event which gives them access to both the Kings and UCLA games through this link; fevo.me/CrossTownIceUCLA.
GJB: What is the outlook for UCLA Hockey this season and which teams will give the Bruins the most trouble?
UIH: The PAC-8 is going to be tough top to bottom this year but with all the talent we’ve added this summer, we’re all pretty excited about our chances to make it deep in the playoffs. November 2nd the team travels to Arizona State who won the conference last year so that will be a big weekend for us.
GJB: Why should UCLA fans come out to see the Bruins this season?
UIH: Every year the conference seems to get stronger. The level of hockey being played is so much higher now it’s really been an exciting change to be a part of. If I had to highlight a few games this year, our rivalry series this weekend against Cal and our Crosstown Cup games against USC will be some great hockey to watch. All our home games are at Pickwick Ice in Burbank, with the exception of next week at the Staples Center, and we hope to see everyone there.