Player spotlight: Ian O’Connor

This article can be found published in the April issue of Center Ice Hockey Magazine and on their website.
Reading Royals Ian O’Conner (Candice Monhollan)

Reading Royals Ian O’Conner (Candice Monhollan)

Ian O’Connor is in his first full season of pro hockey after spending four years at Providence College, where he tallied 26 goals and 36 assists in 135 games.

O’Connor, who hails from Londonderry, N.H., played in six games with the Reading Royals last year in March on an amateur tryout agreement before being released. He started the 2011-12 season with the Stockton Thunder, where he appeared in 49 games before rejoining the Royals in a trade that sent defenseman Rob Kwiet out west.

The 24 year old is best remembered by Royals fans during his short stint last season by his fight with Yannick Tifu in which he bested the six-year veteran.

Center Ice talked with the forward after a 4-3 overtime win against the Wheeling Nailers in March.

Center Ice: Why did you choose to go to Providence College?
Ian O’Connor: “I always wanted to play Hockey East. That was my goal growing up. My father played at Boston College and, obviously it’s a hockey school now, but it wasn’t back then. Growing up for me and both my brothers, that was our goal. We always wanted to follow in his footsteps and go to a New England school.”

Center Ice: Is it tough adjusting to your first pro season?
O’Connor: “Yes, actually. It’s a challenge for sure. The game preparation is the biggest challenge: trying to get yourself up every night and keep yourself physically ready to go. My legs feel really good right now. My body feels pretty good, but just the grind of hydrating every day and constantly stretching and warming-up and getting ready to go and fire yourself up every night. That is a challenge.”

Center Ice: What was it like going from the east coast out to Stockton, Calif.?
O’Connor: “I really like Stockton. It was a good place. We had a lot of good guys. I really liked the fans and everything out there. When you get out there, it feels just like home. Settle in and just play the game. I had a really good time out there and I’m excited to come back to the east coast and be a little closer to home and play in front of the Reading fans again.”

Center Ice: What does it feel like being back in Reading again?
O’Connor: “I was excited. It’s always a little weird when you get traded – a little bittersweet. But to come back here, that’s where the sweetness comes in. I was comfortable here last year in the brief stint I had getting to know the coaches and some of the guys that are still here. I was happy to be back. If I had to get traded, I’m glad it was to Reading.”

Center Ice: Did you know Yannick Tifu was here when you were traded?
O’Connor: “I watched the wire, so I knew he came in the middle of the season. I’ve had a bunch of questions about that, but he’s been a good guy. He was one of the first guys to come up and shake my hand when I got here and introduced himself. The past is the past and now we’re battling for the same thing.”

Center Ice: What do you think you need to do to reach the next level?
O’Connor: “I don’t think I should to do anything that isn’t in my game. My game is based pretty much around my skating. I try to skate hard and fast and use my speed to create offensive opportunities, play hard in the D-zone, forecheck well, and that’s what I really try to do. I was able to get a call-up earlier this year in Worcester. It was a good experience – good to get a couple games in there. I hope if I continue to play strong the rest of this season and next season, I’ll have another chance.”

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Categories: ECHL, Features, Ice Hockey, Sports

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