Medicine Hat, AB — The Medicine Hat Tigers recently caught up with 2018 first round bantam draft pick, Cole Sillinger, to talk hockey.
Sillinger reported to the Tigers Main Traning Camp this year and played in four of the team’s five exhibition games scoring four goals.
The 15-year-old Regina product is currently playing for the Regina Pats Canadians Midget AAA in the SMHL. Sillinger has 8 points (2G, 6A) in 4 games played so far this season.
1. What do you have to work on to be prepared to play in the WHL next year?
Obviously making the jump from midget to the WHL level won’t be easy and every area of my game will need to improve for me to have success, but one thing that stands out for me is my overall speed. My transitions and acceleration is something I have really worked on but it’s just getting that top speed faster and maintaining it.
2. You got to spend some time Medicine Hat during the pre-season, what kind of impression did the city make on you?
Medicine Hat is a great city with a great atmosphere around hockey. Even though we never played a game in the Canalta Centre, I really enjoyed the fan base. Everyone is very nice and treated me with loads of respect.
3. Speaking of the pre-season, how was it getting a taste of your first WHL action?
I had so much fun, everyone that’s part of the Tigers organization was extremely good to me. It was also a benchmark for myself, see where I’m at and see what I need to improve on to be able to compete with the older guys. One thing I took from it, was that there are no days off, it’s very hard work and a couple days can put you behind.
4. How did it feel when you scored your first goal during the preseason?
I felt pretty relieved and excited at the same time. Even though it was pre-season it felt like a pretty important goal for our team and myself. The goal was on the power play, and I was just really fortunate to be put in that situation and I just capitalized on the chance.
5. What are you hoping to accomplish this season with your team, the Regina Pats Canadian Midget AAAs?
The Regina Pat Canadians are beyond a great organization and always have had a great team. We have set the bargain high and focused on one thing at a time, but the goals are to compete and win the Macs Cup, have a strong playoff run and win our league, and then from there go on and have a chance to win the Telus Cup. By doing that, the personal goals will go along with it.
6. How would you describe your style of play?
I’m a player with good offensive instincts, someone who is a hardnose player that is tough to play against, and someone who likes to bring a physical presence. I like to use my speed and strength to get into open area’s to create scoring chances as well as playing a tough defensive zone to keep pucks out of my net.
7. Do you model your game after anyone? If so, who?
I try to model my game after Taylor Hall because he is very explosive and has great scoring touch around the net. He is a difference maker every time he steps on the ice, and has great leadership. These are aspects that are very important in hockey and ones that can benefit in my game.
8. What is your favourite on-ice drill and why?
I don’t really have a favourite drill but I like overspeed drills because you get to work on your foot speed and acceleration while handling the puck at top speed. Also, there isn’t a lot of standing around, everyone has to be engaged and focused for these types of drills to work.
9. Who is your favourite NHL team and why?
Edmonton Oilers because they are a Canadian team and I’ve liked them ever since I was little.
10. What is your favourite activity or hobby away from hockey?
I like to spend some time at the lake with my friends and family. It’s a time where I can just relax and enjoy the weather while doing some water sports.