As Hockey East fans, players, and coaches alike continue to wait for news regarding what the 2020-21 season will look like, we connected with Northeastern freshman forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine to answer some questions about his NHL Draft experience, his transition to college, and other topics. This interview is the second in our player profile series, coming after our one-on-one interview with Sam Colangelo.
NU Hockey Blog: Gunnar, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and congratulations on being drafted by Nashville! Tell us what your experience around the Draft was like- what kind of contact did you have with teams, and what was it like hearing your name called to be selected?
Gunnarwolfe Fontaine: I talked to probably 10ish teams leading up to the draft a couple times each, but I only talked to Nashville once before the draft, so I was very surprised when I saw my name up there. Hearing my name called was one of the best moments of my life, and being able to celebrate that with my family and friends there, and especially having two of my teammates in Neil and Sam there who have been my friends and teammates for the last 4 years, was awesome. Plus, with Sam going in the second round earlier in the day it was just a very special day.
NUHB: Have you been a fan of or watched much of Nashville in the past? The hockey culture they’ve developed there regularly seems to be among the favorites in the NHL.
GF: I have not watched that much of Nashville. I just remember them being in the Stanley Cup a couple of years ago and watching how crazy their fans were and the atmosphere of the rink looked amazing.
NUHB: How has your transition to Northeastern been? How have you adjusted as a player and as a student given the restrictions and precautions the school has put into place for COVID-19?
GF: My transition to Northeastern has been amazing. The upperclassmen are so helpful making sure we are comfortable and know what is going on, and as a student we have so many resources we can use so it is hard not to be on top of things. During this awkward year though it has been weird due to COVID, so I am still adapting to it. Practicing with masks on is still very weird.
NUHB: How would you describe yourself as a player, and what players have you modeled your game after?
GF: I am on offensive minded forward who has a good shot and I try to use my speed to my advantage. I model my game after a couple players like Mike Hoffman, Brad Marchand, and Jonathon Marchessault.
NUHB: You’re coming in a little older than most freshmen, with two very successful seasons in the USHL for Chicago under your belt. How do you think the time spent in the USHL will help you adjust to Hockey East and collegiate play?
GF: I think my time out in Chicago let me develop a lot as a hockey player and really made my game grow to a 200-foot game, but obviously Hockey East is a different animal. Every game is a close one and there are no easy nights, so I think there will still be an adjustment period for me still but hopefully I can adjust quickly with the help from the last 2 years.
NUHB: What appealed to you about Northeastern and what were the driving factors in your commitment to the Huskies?
GF: I think the biggest thing that appealed to me was the amazing coaching staff we have here and what they are able to do with guys here. Also, the track record of Northeastern the past couple years has been outstanding, and it does not seem like we are going to slow down with how much talent we have on this team. Plus having my sister here on the Women’s team made it an easier decision as well because it makes it so much easier for me to see my family with both of us here. (Editor’s note: Skylar Fontaine is a rising senior defenseman for the women’s hockey team, and was named an All-American after last season)
NUHB: Finally, what are your personal goals for the upcoming year? What are you most looking forward to as you start your college career?
GF: My personal goal this year is to establish myself as a player on this team and earn the respect from the upperclassmen and coaches so I can be a key contributor to the team in whatever way they need me. I am just looking forward to putting on the Northeastern jersey for the first time right before our first game.
Thanks to Gunnar for answering our questions and as always to Northeastern Men’s Hockey SID Sky Kerstein for setting this up. Stay tuned to the website for more content from us as the season (hopefully!) draws closer, including more player profiles in the near-future!