NCAA Frozen Four
Measures Up North Dakota's Jordan Parise
|Jordan Parise and
the Fighting Sioux beat Wisconsin two weeks ago at
the WCHA Final Five. (Photo by Larry Radloff)
North Dakota junior Jordan Parise enters the
2006 Frozen Four as the NCAA’s active leader in tournament
goaltending victories with six. His most recent triumph
also gave the Faribault, Minn., native sole possession of
second place on UND’s all-time victories list with
55. His .922 career save percentage is the best ever for
a member of the Fighting Sioux.
Numbers certainly tell a part of Parise’s
story, but they don’t tell all. The well-traveled
son of a former NHL standout has battled doubters, adversity
and himself to get where he is now: on the verge of a national
Inside College Hockey: Even though
the North Dakota-Boston College rivalry has a pretty extensive
history, your Fighting Sioux squad hasn’t faced the
Eagles this year. What do you know about this Boston College
JP: Boston College is a very
skilled team and very well coached. They have done very
well in their league this year and for the past several
years. They have always been a threat. For us, I believe
that if we take care of the physical part of the game we
should do well. If not, it could be a long night. We have
put all of our focus into this upcoming game and if we keep
things simple, as we’ve done in our best performances,
then we should have a chance.
INCH: You guys are playing so
well right now. What will be the battle cry in practice
as you prepare for the Frozen Four and attempt to elevate
your game even further?
JP: Our team has been playing
well but there is still room for improvement. For the last
few weekends, we have been getting production from several
different players. Even though it doesn’t necessarily
show up on the score sheet, everyone now plays a specific
role. If we can get contributions from a variety of people,
like we have been, I firmly believe that this team can finish
on a positive note.
INCH: Talk a bit about playing
for P.K. O'Handley and the Waterloo Black Hawks in 2002-03.
What impact did that experience have on your development?
Jordan Parise: I was all
set to go to play for Salmon Arm in the BCHL, so I was not
too concerned about the option of playing anywhere else.
I was working a summer hockey camp called
Hockey and Sons, where I met P.K., and he had said that
there was still one more spot left in his camp if I decided
that I wanted to attend. I figured that I had nothing to
lose and I felt that it would give me an opportunity to
get some ice time in a competitive situation before I went
to Salmon Arm for the season.
I ended up having a very good camp in which,
after being the 12th goalie in camp, afterward, I was rated
as the No. 1 goalie at the tryout. P.K. suggested that I
would potentially have a spot with the Black Hawks if I
decided to stay. After weighing the options, I felt that
it may, in fact, be a better situation (than Salmon Arm)
considering I’d be closer to home and it was in the
USHL, which was considered a better league.
After several months of personality issues
between P.K. and I, we finally sat down and sorted it out
so that we would be on the same page and I could do what
he desired of me and he do the same. I realized that he
actually wanted me to succeed more than I did. I had never
been in a situation where the coach cared so much for his
players -- at least I thought I had never been in the situation.
Tom Ward, my coach at Shattuck, was very similar in that
sense but, at the time, I may have thought I was better
than I actually was and I didn’t see his intentions.
P.K. forced me to commit myself. He instilled a sense in
me that I should never be satisfied with myself and that
there is always room for improvement. He also taught me
what it meant to battle, to never give up, no matter what
the circumstances. I still talk with P.K. to this day and
truly believe that he was the one that gave me hope in what
I could potentially be.
There are two other people that had similar
roles in my life, one being Ian Clark, my goalie coach.
He helped me understand a very precise style of goaltending
and mixed that precision with the ability to battle. He
proved to me that this could be the best solution for success.
The other is Kevin Constantine, my coach in Pittsburgh.
He gave me hope and when things were at the worst for me
in my career, he showed me that I could actually be something
great. He took a gamble and gave me a chance to make something
of the confusion that I felt in my life. These three people
are the sole reason that I am at where I am.
Most people would say their dad was the one,
but I think [in our case] that his genes were passed on
to his two children and it took outsiders to show us what
we were actually capable of.
INCH: You and Wisconsin’s
Joe Pavelski were teammates in Waterloo. If you were to
meet the Badgers, who would have the advantage – you
JP: I don’t think that
either of us would have an advantage. He has developed into
an unbelievable force in this league and I have developed
into an entirely different person and goaltender, therefore,
advantage will go to neither of us.
INCH: What was the best piece
of goaltending advice you ever received?
JP: The best piece of goaltending
advice I have ever received, which I believe also pertains
to life, is “never quit.”
INCH: What was the immediate reaction
of you and your teammates when Minnesota lost to Holy Cross?
JP: When we were in the locker
room before the game against Michigan, we were delayed about
45 minutes and even though we wanted to focus on the game
that was at stake, we were desperate to find out what was
going on in the game with Holy Cross and Minnesota because
all we could hear from our locker room was cheering after
any close play. When we found out that Holy Cross had won
we were thrilled. With all due respect to Holy Cross, I
think that any team in the country would say that they would
never want to play against Minnesota. We also understood
that Holy Cross beating Minnesota was not a fluke. With
the scoring power that Minnesota has, Holy Cross proved
to everyone that hard work beats skill when skill doesn't
INCH: Talk a bit about the current
state of your game and how your teammates are playing in
front of you.
JP: Our team has gone on
an upslope and we just keep getting better. Personally,
I just try to keep up with the guys. They’ve been
playing extremely well. I’ve had to elevate my game
in order to keep up with theirs. I work extremely hard and
these guys push me to work extremely hard. This is a real
special group. We have the ability to motivate each other