Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Interview with BU's Sahir Gill

We'd like to thank Sahir for taking the time to sit down with us and answer our questions.  A great interview, and a great guy.

If you haven't read our interview with BU's Garrett Noonan, you can do so here.

What was your favorite NHL team growing up?
SG - Calgary Flames, actually.

Even being from British Columbia?
SG - Yeah, I hate Vancouver. Tough to root for [the Flames], but I always liked them.

What’s it like where you grew up? It’s pretty far north right? We googled it and its right near a grizzly bear park, which we thought was funny.  
SG - We’re famous for the Kermode bear, which is a white black bear, like albino black.  I mean, Northern B.C. is like 16 hours north of Vancouver so there’s not much to do there besides play hockey on the ponds or lakes.

Big cultural difference from Canada to Boston/USA?
SG - Yeah, especially in Boston.  I’m from a town of like 9,000 people so it’s a little different.  I’m more of a country kid, and there’s a lot going on here, people are always in a hurry and don’t have as much time.

Favorite moment as a hockey player thus far in your career?
SG - I won two national championships with Vernon, so those two for sure.

Speaking of - what was it like winning back to back RBC cups with Vernon?
SG - That first year we didn’t really expect it, it was a lot different the second year.  We kind of rolled through each series in the first year, just kind of wondering what was gonna happen.  Eventually we got to the tournament there and won it. Best time of my life there.  The second year we had more of a target on our backs, expected to win.  Two different teams, a lot of similar players but it was unreal.

Did you have a “Welcome to College Hockey” moment?
SG - Yeah, probably that first Icebreaker tournament we had, not much of a crowd but a big venue.  Being out there [in college], it was a lot different, not really as comfortable.  In juniors you kind of get more comfortable being in the same spot.  Playing against guys like Connolly that are a lot older, you know you play teams like Holy Cross and Merrimack that have a lot of kids that are 25.  But yeah probably playing in that first Icebreaker tournament was my welcome to college hockey moment.

Do you give Connolly a hard time for being older?
SG - No, I mean he knows.  It’s not that it’s a sensitive subject but you don’t want to rag on him too much.  Being the captain he can tell you to shut up pretty quickly.

You spent half a season with the Chicago Steel in the USHL in between time with the Vernon Vipers in the BCHL – can you compare the two leagues/the style of play/talk about your time in both places?
SG - USHL was not different but a lot younger, a lot of younger kids in that league.  BCHL was more up and down the ice than the USHL.  And travel in the USHL was longer, traveling at least 4 hours for each game.  And in the BCHL, unless you’re going out of conference, most of the stuff is pretty close.  A lot bigger crowds in the USHL for the most part.  But I like the BCHL better.

There are a number of Vernon alums in Hockey East – Braden Pimm (Northeastern), Mike Collins (Merrimack), Kyle Bigos (Merrimack), etc. What’s it like competing against those guys after having been teammates in juniors?
SG - It’s fun, especially with Biggie (Bigos) because everyone sees him as one of the dirtiest players in Hockey East but he’s pretty gentle off the ice.  Him and Collins are both hilarious kids and we talk a lot in warm-ups before the games.  All those guys are really good players and it’s nice to see a familiar face, especially for me because I’m not from around here. 

So no bad blood between any of you guys?
SG - Maybe with Biggie a little bit, he gets a little ruthless out there.  He competes hard and anything goes with him on the ice.  So you know when he’s out there and you wanna give him a little lick if you can.

So you spent a year with Noonan in Vernon and now you’re in year 2 with him here - How do you feel about 5 years of your life being around him?
SG - He’s my best friend and he’s a riot.  Not really off-the-walls but he’s got something to say all the time and he’s usually pretty funny when he does.  But he’s a great guy and him and his family have been really good to me as far as taking care of me being out here.  I met him when I first got to Vernon and he’s maybe a little quieter there than he is here but he’s a great guy and I’m looking forward to our next few years here.

How did you and Noonan come up with your center ice handshake? When did it start?
SG - We wanted to do the bang-bang dance that Stastny and Duchene do (video here) but last year coach wasn’t too happy down the stretch so we didn’t have the balls to pull that one off.  So this year, we stole it off Subban and Price (video here).  We’re just trying to get something going and we’ve been lucky to win a few games.  It’s fun, we look for each other after a win and try and do it.

It’s funny because we’ve noticed it up in the stands and tried to figure out what it was.
SG - We never really know if people see it.  We try and do it right in the middle of the ice but we never really know.

Not to cross any boundaries here, but do you actually have a girlfriend? MacGregor is claiming you do on twitter.
SG - It’s not official. MacGregor’s an idiot, he’s trying to tell anyone he can that I have a girlfriend. 

We were kind of confused because he had Noonan and Nieto backing him up.
SG - It was honestly a hectic day that day.  Every one was jumping on my back – Boston Hockey blog, all the boys were giving me a hard time. But nothing official.

Have you thought about your future as a hockey player, such as going the free agent route to the NHL?
SG - You see a lot of guys go as free agents so you never know.  I think this year is my last draft year so hopefully I’ll go this year but you can’t really jump ahead.  Especially this year, we’ve got a really good thing going right now so if the team does well, everybody looks good.  Hopefully I can benefit off of that and get a few looks.

I think I saw last year that you talked with a few teams before the draft.
SG - Yeah I had a few talks.  It came down to draft day and it was funny, me and Noons were watching the draft together and I was right there when he got the call.  So it was pretty cool to see him go.

Favorite off-ice activity/down time activity?
SG - A lot of shows, watch a lot of shows on the computer and TV.  Definitely Xbox too, I’m not too good at Call of Duty but NHL I think I’d put my title up with anyone.  I know Noons talks a lot of game but we go toe to toe pretty often.

Anything particular for shows?
SG - Yeah, How I Met your Mother is big, and the classics like Seinfeld and Friends.

Anything good on your recently played on your Ipod?
SG - I love Katy Perry, I’m not ashamed of that at all.  Noons is all about Lady Gaga but I love Katy Perry.  “Teenage Dream” is my favorite song. Just throwing that out there.

If you could play on a line with any other 2 forwards in the history of the game, who would you choose and why?
SG - I’m more of a passer, so maybe [Mario] Lemieux.  He seemed to put the puck in the net a fair bit.  And maybe [Wayne] Gretzky, hopefully he can get me a few goals.  I’m having a little trouble scoring right now.

Do you have any nicknames amongst the team? Who has the best nickname on the team?
SG - For me, it’s pretty simple. Just “Giller” or “Gillsy”.  MacGregor has “Truck” going on right now, he’s a big kid.  “MacGruber” too, I think I started that one.  I’d probably say those two.  Ronan’s got “BOD” going on right now – Best Offensive Defenseman – he’s been switching back and forth between offense and defense in practice a lot.

Alright, so we have a few questions from Twitter for you now. Do you have any pre/game post game rituals?
SG - Pregame, just a lot of time in the stands, hanging with the boys mostly.  Talking about the game, nothing too serious. Nothing that I have to do.  I nap before every game, and play a game of NHL too.  Post game, they make us stretch which I don’t really like to do.  But that’s it for post game.

Why BU? Why college hockey compared to Canadian major junior? Any other schools in the running?
SG - I came to BU when I was 14 with my midget team.  That was the first college campus I’d seen, or whatever you would call it here. So I liked it a lot, always pictured coming here if I could.  I wasn’t really intent on coming to college but my 16 year old year I decided I would stay eligible for college and got a few offers there so I decided to can major junior.  As far as other schools, BC was one of them.  So if anyone is out there reading this, I chose BU over BC.  Northeastern a little as well, and a couple schools out west too like North Dakota.

Were you tempted to stay on the west coast at all?
SG - I wasn’t really concerned with location, I didn’t really care about that. Nothings really too close to home for me. I just liked BU, knew they had a good program here, seemed to be a good place to go.

Who’s the team clown?
SG - Escobedo for sure.  Noons for our class for sure.  But Scoobs, there’s always something going on with him.

Does he ever mess with Coach Parker or is that off limits?
SG - Yeah you’ve got the New York – Boston thing going on there.  Scoobs will throw on the accent and start rapping in Coach’s face or something.  He’s always pretty funny.  Especially in baseball season they are always going at it.  Coach is pretty smart with the chirps too, he comes back pretty good.  It’s fun to watch.

Who’s the best trash talker or chirper on the team? Best chirp you’ve heard at BU?
SG - Escobedo’s pretty funny, he’s got a lot to say a lot of the time.  As far as chirps, nothing really stands out right now.  Megan’s pretty funny in the game sometimes. If he gets mad at someone, he’ll get pretty loud.  He was on [Tommy] Cross (from BC) last time, because Cross was saying he wanted to go home (since they were up 6-1) or something.  So Cross was sitting on the bench for a long time and Megs was like “You gonna go out there? Gonna see any time?” And he kept pointing at his wrist out on the ice and Cross was looking at him like “What are you talking about?” He had no idea.  I thought it was pretty funny.

This is another one we asked Noonan - who thinks he has swag but actually doesn’t? He said Millan.
SG - I could see Millan.  He thinks he’s the best guy in the world sometimes.  He’s from Edmonton, those Alberta kids over there – you guys wouldn’t know it – but they think they’re great.  I think Rodrigues has a pretty terrible style too.  He’s always wearing Hollister and stuff, he’s stuck in middle school.

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