In this week’s installment of 10 Questions With…, goaltender Chris Hemhauser (Glastonbury, CT) sits down to discuss what’s up next for him in his hockey career. An All-State selection at Glastonbury High School in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, he helped the Tomahawks to a combined 31-11-3 record during that period.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Coming into last season, you were in the unenviable position of trying to fill the skates of two-time All-State goaltender (and 2009 Hartford Courant boy’s hockey player of the year) Mike Ford. What helped you prepare to take over as the starting goaltender for Glastonbury?
CHRIS HEMHAUSER: The backup position is very unenviable and it is often taken for granted, but I learned most when I watched the game from the bench. The 47 games and 7 minutes (and yes I counted every minute) gave me the hunger and drive that pushed me to become a better player. I wanted to be better than Mike even if I wouldn’t get credited with ice time. Not only did “riding the pine” make me work hard, but it forced me to learn the game. I knew every play a forward or defensemen could and should make. I would ride my teammates after their shift and tell them the right decision to make with or without the puck, I considered myself a big part in both our 2008 and 2009 state championship runs. I also knew what to look for in other teams with the different perspective. Going into the 2009-2010 season I knew what to expect.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Despite losing some serious scoring up-front with the graduation of the Zlatkus twins (Adam & Alex) after last season, Glastonbury still finished with a strong 14-4-2 record in the 2010-2011 regular season. What do you think contributed to the success of the team this year?
CHRIS HEMHAUSER: The 2009-2010 season left a sour taste in the mouths of everyone on the team that year after losing first round to North Haven at home, who we had previously beaten 7-1. That game was an embarrassment and after many restless nights, phone calls and visits to Coach Barse; we found our problem was lack of team unity. Many changes were made before the 2010-2011 season. No longer would we rely on our “big guns” such as the Zlatkuses to get the pretty goals. Yes they look great but it was easy to defend two players, even at their caliber. The entire senior class had a meeting and it was decided that we would ditch our “white collar” Glastonbury roots and play gritty “blue collar” southern style hockey. I believe the most important change made in the last off-season was the involvement of everyone in the team effort. No longer were upperclassmen separated in their own locker room (we have to use two at Trinity), instead every week we were assigned different locker room arrangements (i.e. senior, freshman; junior, sophomore; offense, defense; etc.). Our team unity allowed all of us to have fun playing the game with and for each other, and at the end of the day, that is all that mattered.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: What are your biggest strengths as a goaltender?
CHRIS HEMHAUSER: Leadership. I am one to take the reigns on any situation. At times I’ll push a teammate or tell them what they did wrong. I have no problem sharing my insight with my teammates. It helps me to help think about the team before my individual position, as over-thinking in the net is a mistake I often make. Secondly is vision. As a goaltender, the majority of the game is spent watching and not necessarily involved in the play. A shot takes less then a second to leave a stick and reach me, so therefore I am only involved in the outcome of the game for less then 30 seconds of its entirety. The majority of time is spent predicting and playing the odds in net. Seeing the options to be able to make the necessary split second decisions is what I take pride in.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Who were some of the top players you faced this year at Glastonbury?
Ethan Holdaway and Drew Mozzer (Glastonbury) – I faced these two everyday in practice and they always kept me on edge.
Sean Wilkinson (Ridgefield) – Small but great hands.
Matt Merola (Notre Dame-West Haven) – Hat trick on me in first game.
Jim Burt (Hamden) – Always had an eye on him during our preseason game.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: You’re slated to attend Worcester Academy (Worcester, MA) next season. Describe for other players/parents/coaches how you decided that was the right school for you?
CHRIS HEMHAUSER: First and foremost was education. I took a look at schools with my guidance counselor that would be a good fit for me. I planned on going to college early in my senior year and I was accepted by many mid to lower ranking Division 3 schools and some good club hockey schools. I planned on attending one of them but after being approached and accepted into Bridgton Academy, I broadened my options to a post-graduate year. Coach Barse came to me after receiving word that Worcester was looking for a post-grad goalie, and told me I should look into it. The education would help me improve my GPA and I proceeded to talk with the coach and look at the school. The education was more then up to par. Hockey wise, I was told that it would be a building year for the team and that I would be guaranteed the starting spot and a lot of rubber. The coaches at Worcester have many connections to schools that I am planning on applying to for the 2012 year and we would be playing out of the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Mass., which is a recruiting hub because so many teams play there. Worcester made a very generous offer and the decision was a no brainer.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: What professional (or college) goaltender do you pattern your style after?
CHRIS HEMHAUSER: I have been told I am similar to (Hamden, CT native and current Los Angeles Kings goaltender) Jonathan Quick and I can see where that comes from. I approach the game with a hybrid style, but am known to be a goalie to steal away goals on second, third, and fourth chances with some old school moves. I try not to pattern my style after anyone so that I am comfortable and unique in net.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Who has had the biggest influence on your hockey career to date and why?
CHRIS HEMHAUSER: Without a doubt my father, Tim Hemhauser is the reason I am where I am today. The sacrifices he has made for me to play this sport over the last 14 years of my life are something I am grateful for everyday and I only hope that I can someday have the same character and selflessness that he has. No matter what I do he always supports me and I couldn’t have asked for a better father and role model.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: What do you think is the hardest part about being a netminder?
CHRIS HEMHAUSER: Pressure. The entire game can rest on one save, or goal against. Momentum is a big part of hockey and goaltenders have the most control over it. Stopping the puck is easy, the only factor is the circumstance in which it is being stopped. The number of circumstances in which a goalie can stop the puck separate the good from the bad.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: What advice do you have for other young goaltenders coming up that want to take their game to the next level?
CHRIS HEMHAUSER: Enjoy the game. Too often is the focus of hockey placed on winning and losing. Goalie is a unique position and I have felt happy with my play through wins and losses. If you put in your all and have fun, there’s not much else for you to do. The lucky bounces of that little black puck will more often than not determine the outcome of a game. Also, get involved. I have learned most about myself and the game by volunteering and mentoring younger goalies. Being a good role model through the game of hockey can only help others, and it keeps you around the game which is never bad.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CHRIS HEMHAUSER: If by some miracle all the stars line up, making a career out of hockey. More then likely however, holding a job in business or engineering, having a family, and coaching.
Thanks, Chris. Best of luck to you next year.
|THE HEMHAUSER FILE|
TEAM: Glastonbury Tomahawks
STATS: 2.39 GAA, 442 saves, 2 SO