Ahead of the return of Hockey East play, we connected with 2020-21 Northeastern captain Zach Solow for an email interview looking ahead to the season. The senior from Florida has been a staple in the Huskies’ lineup for his first three seasons, and has been a fixture in some of the all-time classic moments in Northeastern history.
NU Hockey Blog: Hello Zach, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Obviously this offseason has been longer and crazier than any of your previous ones in college, could you tell us how the extended time off has gone for you, personally?
Zach Solow: Having the extended time off was certainly different but it felt like it flew by now that I’m thinking back. I was in a good routine this summer and having the extra time off allowed me to focus more on the mental side of the game as well.
NUHB: You were voted to be Captain of the Northeastern team for this season. First off, congratulations on that esteemed honor, and absolutely it is well-deserved. Anyone who has watched you play for three years can see how much you love this school and this program; can you tell us what it means to you to be named Captain by your peers?
ZS: Thank you I appreciate it.. It means a lot to me. These guys are awesome people as well as great players. I’ve learned so much from the guys before me and the guys here now. I’m going to give this team everything I have and they know that.
NUHB: As a follow-up, what have the responsibilities associated with the captaincy been like in preparing the team for this season?
ZS: It has taught me to take everything day by day. Focus on what today brings and what you have to do now. We are a younger team and need to get these guys acclimated to the system so taking one practice at a time and what our focus is that day has been the idea.
NUHB: What has it been like working with the other members of the 2020-21 leadership group to get the team mentally and physically prepared?
ZS: It has been great. All of these captains are very smart and give great perspective on what the group needs. They lead by example everyday and their work ethic is passed along.
NUHB: The Hockey East schedule was just released with 20 conference games and 6 non-conference games against Hockey East opponents. What are the emotions like heading into your final collegiate season, and what’s your outlook for the Huskies this year?
ZS: The emotions are really high. You can feel the season is right here already and guys are feeding off that. This team is highly talented and highly determined. Our goals have not changed, we are defending our Beanpot and Hockey East championships while still chasing a national championship. This program is on the rise and I am eager to be a part of it this season.
NUHB: Northeastern and other Hockey East schools made the decision to not permit fans into Matthews Arena for at least the duration of 2020. What kind of an impact could that have on the players during the game across the conference, both for home games and away?
ZS: I think it will feel a bit different during warmups when you are a little more engaged with the fans but I don’t think it will have too much impact on the game. Of course I wish we could have fans but that is not the case. Both teams have been itching to get back to playing for months so you are going to see a really intense game.
NUHB: You’ve been a part of some incredible Husky hockey memories. Looking back over three years, do you have one or two that stick out to you as your favorites?
ZS: This is a tough one.. My favorite memory would have to be that 2018 beanpot when we ended the streak. Playing in front of all those loyal fans who hadn’t seen a beanpot championship in 30 years made it even more special. Don’t get me wrong they were all great but that one sticks out most.
NUHB: And finally, what are your goals for the upcoming season, both personally and for the team?
ZS: My personal goal is to win a national championship. Being at Northeastern over the last 3 years we have accomplished everything besides that. Hockey East, Beanpot, now it’s time to get our hands on the ultimate prize. I have gotten a taste of the tournament twice with nothing to show for it. I am confident this team will be playing at the end of the year.
As for the team, we know we have the target on our back. Defending Hockey East champions, 3 consecutive beanpot championships and 2 tournament appearances… other teams know what we have done and want to beat us.
Thanks to Zach 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 our opponent previews as the Huskies get ready to open the season against UMass-Lowell this weekend!