Question and Answer from the Media Scrum:
MARK SCHEIFELE: You know, in the draft there’s always picks that aren’t expected. Some people go later. So for me to go early is definitely a dream come true of mine. I’m just so happy right now.
Q. One year for you in the Ontario Hockey League, can you tell us a little bit about it?
MARK SCHEIFELE: I got traded to Barrie mid-August last year. I was still committed to going to Cornell. After listening to Dale in person and listening to his stories, I decided to sign with Barrie and play with them.
It was definitely a tough year not getting the wins we wanted. So it was tough team-wise, but personally I tried to work my hardest and give it my all every game and every practice. Keep on developing, and keep on learning from Dale.
Dale was a great person to learn from just because he knows the game so well, and he’s such a great person to learn from. So he definitely helped me a lot. I think my hard work and determination really helped me throughout the year.
Q. Are you ready to play in the NHL?
MARK SCHEIFELE: I think with a good summer, just getting stronger in my legs and getting stronger overall, I think I can be ready.
Q. Do you get a sense from them when you interviewed with them that they’d draft you?
MARK SCHEIFELE: Not a full sense. Like they asked how to pronounce my last name, but I thought it was because nobody knows how to pronounce my last name.
Q. How do you?
MARK SCHEIFELE: It’s Scheifele. So, yeah, I didn’t really get a huge indication. I didn’t think I was going to go 7, but to go 7 is really exciting.
Q. Heard any stories about Winnipeg?
MARK SCHEIFELE: I heard a few. I heard he always told me about the big Queen Elizabeth they used to have, and how it’s really cold. So he was actually kidding around. He said if you get drafted by Winnipeg, they’re going to bring a parka instead of a jersey.
But I hear it’s a great organization. He loved it there. I think he was there nine years and he was captain. He had a great time there. He said it was an unbelievable organization to play for, so I’m very excited.
More from the Q & A with the 7th pick after the jump.
Q. Strong representation by the fans cheering here in the arena?
MARK SCHEIFELE: It was definitely really cool to have that many fans here and hear them screaming. The one guy told me back at the arena in Winnipeg they were going bonkers. So it’s great to have a great fan base, especially here for Minnesota so far away. So it’s definitely great to see that.
Q. What can you do to get better to be an NHL player right away?
MARK SCHEIFELE: Definitely my strength is number one right now. I’ve been in the gym a lot since the combine. I’ve been in the gym since I got back from Germany. I think strength is my number one right now, and skating is also another thing I can improve on. But as I get stronger in my legs and my skating will come.
Just to keep working on every aspect of my game. Working on my shot as much as possible, and get it ready for the NHL level.
Q. Can you anticipate there is going to be a lot of pressure on you?
MARK SCHEIFELE: I definitely anticipate there is going to be a lot of pressure, but I like a little pressure on me. Like sometimes it makes me play a little better. I remember back in the old days if my coach would tell me there is a scout here to watch me, I’d pull off a big game.
So I think the pressure will kind of drive that inner motor inside me and push me just to work even harder and push me to play even better.
Q. If you look into the crystal ball, do you know what it would be like in your first game against the Montreal Canadiens?
MARK SCHEIFELE: I kind of see it. I can see it being really crazy. I can see it being definitely an exciting day for the franchise. I hope I can be there.
MARK SCHEIFELE: I think it was just keep on learning every day. Like I started off the year maybe a little timid, a little not sure where I was. But as the year went on I just wanted to work hard. I worked hard last summer to be able to be here right now.
I think just hard work throughout the year. I was doing video probably three times after every game with the coaches and doing it by myself. I think it was just working hard and working on my game and learning from Dale, learning from everyone was the main thing.
Q. How do you describe yourself?
MARK SCHEIFELE: I see myself as a hard working, 2-way, play-making center, but I can score. I think I have a good shot and I can play in all parts of the game. I didn’t play penalty kill this year, but I think I can play penalty kill and five-on-five at the end of the game. So I think I’m an all-around good player.
Q. How does it feel to be an answer to a trivia question?
MARK SCHEIFELE: I was an answer to a trivia question? That’s pretty cool. I haven’t really thought of that, but to think about it now that it could be, that’s unreal, actually.
Q. Were you surprised at all?
MARK SCHEIFELE: Yeah, that was an intriguing factor that Dale brought up to me in our meeting when I talked to him last year in August. He said, you won’t be able to play against these guys like these good of players like Hishon and Gudbransen and all these great players that have gone through here.
To see all the guys that have gone through like Jeff Skinner, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, to see what great players have been produced out of the OHL just made up my mind and kind of intrigued me going into the OHL. To know it’s such a great program there throughout all teams.
Q. What was your favorite team prior to today?
MARK SCHEIFELE: My favorite team was always Detroit, but now it’s definitely Winnipeg.
Q. Who was your favorite player?
MARK SCHEIFELE: It was always Steve Yzerman. He was always my favorite player. Trying to model my game after him and how he was just so hard working and how he played a good 2-way game.
Q. How does it feel that there are over a million people ready to watch you play hockey?
MARK SCHEIFELE: Oh, it’s just unreal to actually have that feeling and know that there are going to be this many people to watch you. It’s just a great feeling. It’s definitely going to be exciting to think about it more.
Q. When did you first play hockey?
MARK SCHEIFELE: It was probably when I was three years old. I was skating on a pond by my cottage. My dad took me and my brother out and taught us how to skate and how to play hockey.
Q. When did you know you wanted to play in the NHL?
MARK SCHEIFELE: Basically right when I was born. Right when I held a hockey stick and knew about the NHL I wanted to be there. I wanted to be a starter, obviously.