Opportunity has knocked this season, and sophomore Erich Jaeger has answered.
After playing in 14 games as a freshman, the 6-foot-2 forward has played in 16 already this season and has doubled his point total of a year ago with six. He’s also become more consistent in the face-off circle, a needed skill given how injuries have decimated the center position for the Falcons this season.
He took time recently to fire away at some questions from The Flight Path.
Did you have any family members who served in the military? What was it that appealed to you about the Academy?
Originally it was the hockey. I never really had any close family in it. I think my grandparents were in the military, but it wasn’t to the point that was the reason. … I’m really glad I ended up choosing this school because of the structure, everything involved with the school, the core values. It’s a good way to live life.
How do you balance all these different elements?
At first it is tough, but it’s kind of nice for me. I know if I had more time to myself, I probably wouldn’t use it very wisely. So the fact we have limited time it gives me a more focused, driven life.
Your role has increased quite a bit this season. How have things gone for you?
I’ve had a really good opportunity this season. I guess it’s trying to get better every game, look at the veterans, like the juniors and seniors on the team. It’s hard to fill the roles. The people that have been injured are really, really important key players and it’s really difficult to fill their roles. Looking to the leadership, we’re working hard in practice every day. I have to keep striving to get better.
Are you particular about any of your gear?
I’m not superstitious. The more particular about my gear I am, the more superstitious I’ll become. I feel like the more superstitious I become it gets in my head even more. If I have a great game, I’ll try to remember something I’ve done, but I’m not get dressed a certain way or anything. Obviously I don’t like people to mess with my stuff, but I don’t look at that stuff too much.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
The best, that’s really broad. … One of my old coaches used to say the best way to find purpose in life is to find purpose in everyone else. If you’re having a hard time, or feel like you’re not fitting in, try to be there for everyone else. It will benefit you in the long run.
Do you have a favorite road trip?
I’m an Idaho kid, so I’d never been to the East Coast until this year. Every place we go is completely eye-opening for me. I’d say Providence was really cool. The atmosphere (during the NCAA Tournament) was really unbelievable.
What is the breakfast of champions?
Well, the breakfast of champions and my favorite breakfast are totally different things. I would say, my favorite breakfast is eggs benedict by far. … Breakfast of champions, get it in you, get it early. I’d say scrambled eggs with an extra slice of ham.
Did you have a favorite player or team growing up?
My dad’s from Minnesota, so I king of align myself with Minnesota. … I’ve always been a Stevie Yzerman fan, even though he’s not playing any more. That was my favorite player growing up.
Is there a comedian on the team we should know about?
One specific guy? What’s interesting is when it gets closer to game time how everyone reacts differently. Jordan Himley’s preparation is not goofing around but it’s more about have fun. He tries to get everyone relaxed. A lot of people get super serious, but Himmer’s all over the place.
If I went to your home town in Idaho, what is one thing that I should check out?
The resort. There’s a huge resort in Coeur d’Alene, it’s a tourist town, and it’s right in the middle of town with a golf course behind it. If you’re into golfing go there. It’s right on the lake.
Do you have favorite holiday memory?
We’d always go to my grandma’s house in Minnesota. We always celebrate on Christmas Eve. We go on a ride through town to look at Christmas lights, and while we’re on the drive Santa Claus comes to the house and drops off all the presents. … I’ve got a little sister who just turned 6 and you see the kids go out and come back in. We have a big family (Erich has six siblings) so we fill the whole living room up with presents. Every year we say we’re going to cut back, but we never do. That drive waiting for Santa Claus to drop off presents is the big one.
Last question, and it’s a little bit of a tricky one. If coach Frank was a super hero, which one would he be?
Are you trying to get me in trouble?
No, that’s not the intention at all.
If Frank was a super hero, which one would he be? I’ve got to think. I’m thinking about all of the super heroes. … I’d say he’d be like someone who’s open. He can’t have a secretive personality. … This is harder than I expected.
This is a thinking man’s blog, just so you know.
I don’t want to say some average answer like Superman. … Maybe like Wolverine. He’s vicious when he wants to be. But it’s not like he has to be that. He’s an unbelievably nice guy, but when it comes down to that, he’s willing to fight. He’s strong about what he believes in. He’s not a quiet guy. He’s honest with you. I think that’s pretty similar to Wolverine.
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Copyright First Line Editorial 2017