Michigan Tech is coming off a 3 point weekend in which they recapture the MacInnes Cup for the first time since 2001. This is a trophy that goes the winner of the MTU weekend called Winter Carnival. It is the first time that any member of the team has been able to lift the prize. Colin Murphy was named the MVP of the weekend series, but it could have easily been given to a few others, Cam Ellsworth and Jimmy Kerr (JK) come to mind. It was Kerr’s Saturday performance that swayed my thoughts to sitting down and asking the freshman a few questions. I would like to say thank you to Jimmy Kerr and wish him and the rest of the Huskies good luck this weekend against rival Northern Michigan. Hopefully we can see MTU lift the Ramada Cup as well.
(MCH): First off, congratulations on winning the MacInnes Cup. It is nice to see us finally have that trophy again. It was a good weekend for the team, and for you. I also see that you were named WCHA rookie of the week, Congratulations. Could you tell by the upperclassmen attitudes how much winning this past weekend meant? After the win, did you get to fully enjoy your first Winter Carnival?
(JK): Thanks for all the congratulations. This weekend was very important, and that importance wasshown greatly by the upperclassmen. I don't believe anyone has ever won a winter carnival since they've been here. The celebration on the ice after the win showed how excited the upperclassmen were, especially the seniors. There was a lot of emphasis put on this weekend not only by upperclassmen but by the coaching staff as well. After the huge win we hada banquet for some of the sports teams. Which went very well, allowing parents and friends to enjoy the carnival too. I'm sure most people had a great time. After the banquet there were many other celebrations going on around town that we took part in.
(MCH): You have already seen half of the rivalry series with Northern Michigan, as a freshman does it mean as much to you as it does to the upperclassmen?
(JK): The rivalry between us and NMU is huge. It was one of the first things I was told about this year. It is one of the most exciting times of the year so far for me. Just the way the games are played and how much the crowds and the pep bands are in to it. I think for the upperclassmen they feel the same way, it's very important to do well against NMU. The intensity of the games speak for themselves.
(MCH): What are the aspects of the game that you will be working most on for the upcoming series with NMU?
(JK): The aspects were working on is playing on the bigger ice surface. Defensive zones are a key we are working on. But also using the big ice to our advantage. Were a very fast team and the bigger ice allows us to use it and be very effective.
(MCH): You had a nice career with the Olds Grizzly’s, putting up 57 points in your last season there. As a Husky, you now have 8 points. What is the biggest difference in the AJHL and the NCAA?
(JK): The biggest difference for me between the AJHL and NCAA is the speed of the game. Everything happens that much faster, passing, shooting, etc. The NCAA is obviously a lot more skilled. Everyone in the league is really skilled either defensively or offensively. Making points that much harder to come by. Other things I have noticed is playing only weekends, I feelit makes games that much more important. You only play two games a weekend, so getting in the line up is a fight every week. Every game people are trying to prove they belong.
(MCH): It appears to me that you have been improving in each series from the beginning of the year. Now your line has been getting more and more productive. What were the things that you, John Hartman, and Mike Botanvanja have been working on most over the last few months?
(JK): My production as well as my line mates has been a lot better this second half. We just go out there play our game, which is being physical, chipping in offensively when we can and being solid defensively. We all play similar styles of play so that helps with the chemistry on the ice, ingames and practice. The coaching staff puts us in that position every night and have tons of faith in us on the ice.
(MCH): Looking at the current upperclassmen, do you feel that your style of play is similar to any teammates?
(JK): Well, I wish I could say that my play is similar to Colin's (Murphy), but it's not. My style if compared to anyone, would be my line mates Mike (Botanvanja) and John (Hartman). Were all just hard working, physical players.
(MCH): I have become a big Jimmy Kerr fan, and think that you will have a great career here. One thing that I notice is your breakaway speed, do you feel that some teams underestimate it?
(JK): Nice to hear that you’re a big fan. As for breakaway speed, I don't think anyone underestimates it. I'm just in the right places sometimes. One day I'll put those breakaways to good use.
(MCH): What are the areas that you are looking to improve on your game throughout your career here?
(JK): I'm looking to improve offensively, to be a bigger part of my team’s offensive. Also working on being more defensive in my own end, mostly getting the puck out of our end. Plus trying to be a more creative hockey player.
(MCH): Now that the season is nearly over, what can you see for a realistic ending for the team this year?
(JK): Realistically for our team I believe we will make it to the final five, and battle right to the end.
(MCH): Is there anything that you wish to add?
(JK): Nothing to add except thank you for taking the time and doing this interview with me.