(This interview is excerpted from NY Hockey Journal)
|Four Year Skating Saint Gavin Bayreuther|
Gavin Bayreuther was a dynamic force in North Country Hockey the last four years, helping return Saint Lawrence University into an ECAC Hockey contender during his tenure in Canton as an offensively gifted blueliner. In the spring of 2016 coach Greg Carvel bolted SLU for U.Mass, yet Bayreuth chose to postpone his pro career with the Dallas Stars in order to graduate with his class at Saint Lawrence. NYHJ’s Tim Rappleye caught up with Gavin at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan,
NYHJ: Why did you stay at St. Lawrence for a fourth year? Was it because you wanted to play for new coach Mark Morris?
G.B. We didn’t know coach Morris would be the coach until really that last week or two at school, it was kind of a mystery. The older guys had to step up and be leaders that spring. It was a really good experience, a leadership opportunity, I learned a lot. The school gave me so much during those three years, why not stay, why not get that education? Education is so important, and my family, especially my parents who are teachers at Cardigan Mountain School, it’s always really important. When coach Morris came in, it worked out really well, and I was happy to stay.
NYHJ: Coach Morris has a huge pro hockey resume. Did he talk to you about the next level?
G.B. He immediately handled the program like a professional. He coached us like pro’s, he demanded a lot from us, little things like he expected every pass to be on the tape and all that stuff as he would in the NHL and the AHL, he really stepped my game up.
NYHJ: ECAC has a reputation as a tough checking league. How has the transition been to pro hockey?
G.B. Obviously, it’s a big step. College hockey is college hockey, it’s really good hockey but when you try to take that step up into the pro ranks, you got to learn a lot, you got to keep it simple at the start. At times in college I would do too much with the puck, it may have or not have worked in college, but at the next level it didn’t. Coach Morris was really good, he helped simplify my game, rounded out my game.
NYHJ: You’re wearing the “C” for the Stars. It’s a very cool look. How did that all come about?
G.B. It was a really good opportunity, and I’m very grateful for it.
NYHJ: When did they let you know?
G.B. Really when I walked in. I’m one of the older guys here, I played 15 games with Texas in the AHL at the end of the year, so I was able to put my foot in the door, and I learned a lot from the older guys. I kind of just came in here, came to the development camp early in the summer and just tried to be a good leader, and just led by example. I worked my tail off and I think it paid off, and I was fortunate to wear the “C.”
NYHJ: Are you shooting texts to Carvy, or Morris while you’re out here?
G.B. I don’t talk to Carvy any more, I talk to Mo once in a while. I talk to (Mike) Hurlbut, the assistant coach, a good amount, (Matt) Deschamps, the other assistant. They did so much for me. They gave me a gracious four years.
NYHJ: And you did the same…
G.B. …yes, so I’m very grateful for that.
NYHJ: I see another Skating Saint on the roster, Eric Sweetman, did you use your influence to bring him out?
G.B. I definitely put in a good word. He was my road roommate for four years, he’s one of my best buddies. He’s always one of those defensemen who doesn’t stick out a ton, but it’s because he’s always doing the right thing, always making the smart play. Now that he has his opportunity here, I think it’s going to work out for him.
NYHJ: How’s the comfort level here. Decision making has to be a lost faster, no?
G.B. Oh yeah. You definitely have less time with the puck, and you’re playing with other pros, so it’s definitely a step up. You might have been able to hold onto the puck a little longer in college, now you gotta really be careful and make the right play, every time. That’s something I’m still learning, and I’ll probably be learning forever.