UND rookies adjusting to life on campus
GRAND FORKS — Jonny Tychonick was watching his junior team, the Penticton Vees, on his laptop in his dorm room.
His roommate, Jasper Weatherby, asked him to change it to the Wenatchee Wild game — Weatherby’s junior squad and a British Columbia Hockey League rival of Penticton’s.
“He’s like, ‘Whatever, I’ll try to find a different laptop to watch,’ “ Tychonick said, laughing.
Welcome to college life.
University of North Dakota’s rookies have had a little more than a month on campus to adjust to a new lifestyle, a higher level of hockey and even new roommates who disagree about which junior teams to watch on the computer.
With the first exhibition game looming Saturday night against the University of Manitoba (7:07 p.m., Ralph Engelstad Arena), the rookies met the local media for the first time Monday during the team’s annual media day.
“It’s been awesome,” said Weatherby, a 6-foot-3 centerman from Ashland, Ore. “Meeting the guys and the coaches, the facilities are unbelievable, going around town and feeling UND hockey. . . everywhere you go, there’s a sea of green. It’s been so awesome.”
Tychonick, a defenseman from Calgary, added: “It’s unbelievable. It’s been a life-changing experience for me to come to university in the States, for sure. I’m loving it. I’m loving the rink, I’m loving the guys, I’m loving the atmosphere. It’s unbelievable.”
Both players may get thrown into the fire right away.
Weatherby, who played all 88 games last season at the center position, is a candidate to hold that role for UND.
“You definitely know there’s a jump,” Weatherby said. “You can feel it. Guys are faster. Guys are smarter. Things are happening at a high tempo and fast. The more you’re out there, the more you practice, the more comfortable you feel. I feel like I can definitely play at this level.”
Tychonick is battling for a spot on a veteran defensive corps.
“Internal competition is the best for us,” he said. “It drives us to play. It’s important to have. We don’t want to be spoon-fed anything. We want it to be earned. I’m going in with an open mind. I just want to get better. I want to do as well as I can in the classroom and I want to do as well as I can on the ice.”
Weatherby said the rookies know about the high expectations at UND already.
“The expectation at UND is always the same,” he said. “It’s to compete for a championship. With the guys in that room, and how we’ve been practicing and how we’ve been working out, I think that’s the expectation with our group.”
And although Weatherby and Tychonick are bringing different junior team loyalties to campus, Tychonick wants one thing to stay the same.
“Last year, he put up a lot of points. . . put up a lot of goals,” Tychonick said. “Hopefully, he puts that up with me on his side now.”