JR REPORTER GOES 1-ON-1 WITH POULIOT
By Michael McHugh
Aeros.com Junior Reporter
Aeros 20-year-old rookie sensation Benoit Pouliot has had himself quite a first two months of the 2006-07 season. He is currently second on the team in scoring, with 12 goals and four assists for 16 points. The 6-foot-3, 188-pound Pouliot (pronounced BEHN-wah POO-lee-ott) was the OHL Rookie of the Year in 2005, and posted 65 points (35-30=65) and 141 penalty minutes in 51 games for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League in 2005-06. He led the club in goals and was second in scoring.
The Alfred, Ontario-native was originally selected by Minnesota with the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
Aeros coach Rob Daum believes Pouliot's size and skating ability are his greatest strengths, and he plays a big role on this year’s team.
"He’s a very good offensive player and a good one on one player,” said Daum. “He’s big and strong. He’s fast with good offensive skills, but his defensive game has been improving steadily. That’s what young players have to work on, especially ones that are good offensively. He’s also made a very rapid adjustment to the American Hockey League which is a lot different than juniors. He’s played very well for us."
What’s it like to be one of the leading rookies in the league?
So far, so good I guess. It’s a goal for me to help the team out, and up there in the rookies but as long as we win that’s all that counts.
You said your biggest fear is sharks. Do you feel safe now in Houston? How do you come across sharks in Ontario?
I never saw a shark in my life but I’ve seen them on TV and really don’t like them at all. I wouldn’t go in the ocean and surf or stuff like that. I’m too scared of that. That’s my worst fear obviously.
When did you start playing?
I started playing when I was three. My dad put me in hockey, and I didn’t quit. I played baseball most of the time, more than hockey, but in Canada hockey is the most natural sport and I kept going with hockey, and so far it’s been good for me and hopefully I can keep going all the way.
How big of a baseball fan are you?
Huge. Growing up it was a big part of my life and it's too bad I had to stop playing. I watch it on TV all the time. My team is Toronto, obviously, and it’s the only Canadian team, and they’re great in baseball and I watch them every year.
Do you have a favorite baseball player?
Probably Ken Griffey, Jr. He was my favorite player of all time.
What is your greatest strength as a player?
Maybe my skating. That was problem in the past actually. I’ve been working on it the past couple of years, and now I would say it’s my biggest strength in hockey.
If you weren’t a hockey player, what job would you have?
A baseball player, but besides that, I’d go to school and be a cop.
Who do you consider to be the best player in hockey today?
Jaromir Jagr. He’s always been one of the top ones since ‘91-92. He’s still up there and for sure is one of the best players in the NHL right now.
Who do you hope to learn the most from being on the Aeros?
It’s hard to say. We don’t have that many older players. Last year was an older team. This year is a younger team. Just looking at the defense playing everyday, or practicing everyday, you try to do better and be as good as them. That’s what you’ve got to bring every day and have to keep going like that.
What kind of music do you like?
I like rap. Then anything else. It doesn’t matter to me.
What are your hobbies?
Watch TV all the time, lay by the pool or play some X-box and hang out with friends.
If there were one thing in the world that you could change what would it be?
Probably my dad passing away. That was my biggest disappointment when he passed away and I wish he were here right now, but I ‘m sure he still sees me playing hockey.
If you could be anyone today, who would you want to be and what would you want to do?
Probably a rock star or celebrity living in LA, but I wouldn’t trade that for hockey.
Best advice anyone ever gave you?
Never quit. That was my biggest problems way back when I wasn’t focused. My dad kept telling me, "Let’s see where it takes you" and if I make the OHL we’ll see where it goes after that. So far, so good.
If you were stranded on an island and you could have anyone with you besides family, who would you want?
Jessica Simpson or a couple of girls like that. I wouldn’t mind that.
The last good movie I saw was…
Borat. Great movie. I gotta’ go see that again.
The one thing that bugs me is…
People eating my food. That is the worst thing. I order food and people pick at it and I hate that. As long as I’m not done, you can’t take it. When I’m done, I’d give it away for sure.
Something about me few people know is…
Probably being French. Most of the people know I’m French because of my French name and back home it’s all French.