We at Y-Ddraig would like to thank Cardiff Devils captain Jake Morissette for agreeing to answer some questions and would also like to thank Devils Director of Corporate Development, Neil Francis, for making this interview possible.
Below are the questions Y-Ddraig asked Jake Morissette and his answers:-
Question – You are currently into your fifth season with the Cardiff Devils and your second as captain. How honoured did you feel when you were asked to Captain the side in its 30th anniversary year?
Answer:- It really was just special to be a part of the 30th anniversary season to celebrate the Devils and their rich tradition in Cardiff with an amazing group of teammates, And because of that great tradition, the teammates and the people and the supporters around the club it definitely was an honour to be named Captain before last season.
Question – Last season was a fantastic one for the fans, celebrating 30 years and very nearly clinching a grand slam. How hard to take was the loss to the Sheffield Steelers in that magnificent play-off final?
Answer:- It was a tough loss to take, the guys gave everything they had in a very exciting game that unfortunately didn’t end the way we wanted, but I was really proud of hard the guys worked right to the end, that’s the way our team worked all year and was the reason we had a lot of success and were able to win a couple of trophies.
Question – You seemed to have a very tight team last season. Several players have moved on and I believe with the players that have come in, we have a more attacking threat than last season but feel we have lost some of our aggression. What do you feel are the key differences between the two sides and do you feel we are better equipped this season?
Answer:- We did have a very tight team last year and we do again this season. That’s what’s so special here. Every year, you lose some players and when they are replaced, no two players are the exactly the same, so there will always be differences from season to season. But one thing we have been fortunate to have here that has remained the same for a few years, is an extremely close team. This group is full of good Hockey players and excellent people that care for each other, and that makes you really want to do well for each other.
Question – Your Challenge Cup form at the beginning of this season has been a little indifferent. Do you feel you can still successfully defend the title at IAW? and do you feel you can match last year’s achievements?
Answer:- Although we didn’t have the start we would have liked in the Challenge Cup, we do feel if we play the way we’re capable of then we have a good chance to be in this competition until the end. The same goes for the Elite League title and the Play-off Championship, if we stick to our process throughout the season and play like we can, then we should put ourselves in a position to challenge for trophies in March and April.
Question – I have noticed that before you take to the ice, you line up behind Andrew Hotham, and you tap each others shins with your sticks. Is this a superstition and if so, do you have any other pre-match superstitions?
Answer:- This isn’t really a superstition, we just both get out there at around the same time and give each other a tap. I don’t really have any superstitions, but I do have somewhat of a routine I stick to, but nothing that I get superstitious about if I do (or don’t do) it.
Question – You are one of the players that played in the “Big Blue Tent”. How much of a difference has it made to the players to be able to play in such a great venue as Ice Arena Wales?
Answer:- It’s very nice for us to have IAW now. The atmosphere at the Big Blue Tent was pretty cool, but our fans are so good, and we still have a great atmosphere at the new rink. But one big difference for the players at the new rink is our dressing room. we spend a lot of time in there throughout the season and the organization and our equipment manager “Dease”, do an amazing job making it a great place for us to go to work every day.
Question – Other than IAW, which other Elite league venue do you enjoy playing at?
Answer:- Belfast is probably my favourite away rink we play at.
Question – Beating which current Elite league team gives you the greatest pleasure?
Answer:- Games against Sheffield are always hard-fought and emotional, so anytime we can beat them feels good.
Question – You’re 34 years of age now, how many more seasons can you see yourself playing at this level and could you ever see yourself playing at another Elite league side?
Answer:- I love this team, the city and the fans here so I can’t see myself playing anywhere else. As for how long I can play, I don’t know. I just take it one year at a time and when the season’s over, I take a look at where I’m at and how I feel and decide on the next season.
Question – You picked up quite a bad injury last season and the Devils kept us posted on your rehabilitation. How hard is it playing twice most weekends and then sometimes also playing a game in mid-week?
Answer:- It can be demanding to play as many games as we do, so that’s why it’s very important to take care of our bodies and eat properly so that we feel as good as we can. Also, our strength and conditioning coach, Dan Forbes, does a great job working with us to make sure we are at our best. He also did a lot of work individually with me when I was recovering from injury and throughout the summer to get me ready for this season and I can’t thank him enough.
Question – At the end of the season, how do you switch off and recover and how soon do you need to be back in training in preparation for the next season?
Answer:- Last year was a little different because I hadn’t played since January, but I usually take about 2-3 weeks off before I start preparing for the upcoming season.
Question – During your years with the Cardiff Devils, who has been the best player you have played alongside and who has been the toughest?
Answer:- That’s a good question, there have been so many good and tough players here. Joey Martin is consistently one of the best players in the league and the same goes for Andrew Hotham, but there are also guys like Mark Richardson who plays such a solid game and is so reliable. As far as the toughest, Josh Batch and Mark Louis aren’t afraid to mix it up.
Question – During your years with the Cardiff Devils, who has been the best player you have played against and who ahs been the toughest?
Answer:- Again there have been so many good and tough players in the league since I’ve been here, but anyone I would name is probably in the league now and I don’t want to name them.
Question – Was there any player when you were growing up that you modelled your style of play on?
Answer:- I didn’t model my style after any particular player, but I watched a lot of NHL hockey and would try to add things to my game from different players that I thought would work for me. However, my favourite player was always Trevor Linden.
Question – What has been your greatest achievement to date in Ice Hockey?
Answer:- Being on a championship team is what we play for, so I would have to say the trophies that we have won in Cardiff.
Question – Is there a significance to your number 47?
Answer:- A junior teammate and I used to joke about the number 47 and when I first came to Cardiff my first 3 or 4 requests were denied so I asked for number 47.
Question – As you have been in Cardiff for a number of years now, do you have any favourite places you like to visit or favourite restaurants or bars etc…?
Answer:- The Deck, New York Deli and Hamptons are a few spots that have good food and allow dogs or have an outside area that allows them, so my wife and I like to take our pup there whenever we get a chance.
Question – And finally, what would you see as a successful season for the Cardiff Devils this year?
Answer:- We are aiming to win trophies again this year. It’s exciting that things have changed in the last 5 years and we are now at a point where we only consider winning trophies as a successful season.
Many thanks again to Jake Morissette and Neil Francis for making this interview possible and from all of us at Y-Ddraig may we wish you good luck for the rest of the season and hope that the season ends with more trophies for the Cardiff Devils.
Feature Picture Credit to Helen Brabon, and many thanks to Helen for allowing us to use the photo. Helen’s website is Helenbrabonphotography.co.uk