In this week’s installment of 10 Questions With…, Forward Jim Burt (Hamden, CT) sits down to discuss what’s up next for him in his hockey career. Burt finished his career at Hamden High School with 42 goals, 51 assists and a +53 rating. In addition, throughout his career at Hamden, he was only assessed with two minor penalties.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Hamden is one of the most storied programs in the history of Connecticut high school hockey. Coming off back-to-back Division 1 state titles in 2009 and 2010, how much pressure was there for a Green Dragon three-peat this season?
JIM BURT: Going into the season, there was a thin line between feeling no pressure and feeling a ton of pressure. People told us that we had already done it twice, and a third wasn’t really necessary, however we shrugged those people off. We definitely felt more pressure going into this past season than we did the year after the first title. One title is an accomplishment; two titles are amazing, and three means dynasty. Whatever way you look at it, there was definitely a good amount of pressure, whether from ourselves or the fans.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: The Hamden Community News recently named you as one of the five greatest players of all-time at Hamden. Looking back, what do you think was your greatest accomplishment as a hockey player for Hamden?
JIM BURT: That was an honor to see my name amongst some of the best players to ever wear the Hamden uniform. As a hockey player at Hamden, my greatest accomplishment was winning two state titles, hands down. We play the game to have fun and win. Whether you’re a 20-goal scorer or one shift guy, winning is the objective. Nothing beats winning.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: When asked, two of the top goaltenders in the state this past year (JP Withington, Chris Hemhauser) both mentioned your name as one of the best players they faced. What are your biggest strengths as a hockey player?
JIM BURT: It’s very nice to see those great goalies say what they did about me. I would have to say that my best strengths as a hockey player are my hockey sense, ability to play in any situation, and my nose for the net. I’d consider myself a strong skater, but I really pride myself on hockey sense.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Who were some of the top players you faced this year at Hamden?
JIM BURT: Some of the top players I faced this year at Hamden included:
John Galiani (Fairfield Prep): Galiani never seemed to lose his focus throughout any game, or the season itself. He’s a flexible kid and swallowed almost every possible rebound. He was gifted with a good team in front of him, but he really was the backbone of that team.
J.P. Withington (West Haven): J.P. has a good sense of hockey, and where the puck is going. He’s able to get to almost every puck, and it’s almost impossible to score on him without traffic in front of the net.
A.J. Unker (Fairfield Prep): Unker is a solid all around player. He skates well, sees the ice well, and finishes his opportunities. When he needs to shoot, he shoots, but when he needs to pass, he makes the pass. He’s a good hockey player.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: You’re slated to attend Trinity-Pawling School (Pawling, NY) next season. Describe for other players/parents/coaches how you decided that T-P was the right school for you?
JIM BURT: I was applying to a few other prep schools in addition to TP, however, I felt like TP was the most interested in me out of the schools. They were very involved in trying to get me up there for a visit. When I visited, I was still up in the air about schools, but the campus has a great layout and everything worked in favor of TP. I couldn’t be happier with where I’m headed.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: How much off-ice work (weights, dry-land conditioning, etc.) do you do as part of your overall hockey regimen?
JIM BURT: A lot. I’m currently lifting for about 2 hours a day, 4 days a week at Ranfone Training Systems in Hamden, CT. Then twice a week we do body weight circuits to help with explosiveness and muscle recovery. Mike Ranfone and Scott Tribby at RTS know exactly what they’re talking about: they are extremely tedious and very serious about their professions. I don’t work on much cardio during the off season because it’s pretty pointless to be running mile after mile 5 months away from your season. Instead, I view the off-season as a time to put on weight and get stronger. I like to stay away from the ice during the off-season until about mid-July just to re-energize my body and drive for the game. Everybody needs a break.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: What professional (or college) player do you pattern your style after?
JIM BURT: If I had to choose one NHL player that I like to emulate my game after, it would be Ryan Callahan of the New York Rangers. Although smaller than me, he seems to have the same skill set and he can play in any situation at any time. He’s a leader, which I always try to be. However, he is much more physical than I am.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Who has had the biggest influence on your hockey career to date and why?
JIM BURT: Mike and Scott at Ranfone Training Systems, all my coaches past/present, and my parents, they are all my biggest influences. When I’m lifting, it’s all business. When I’m practicing on the ice, it’s all business. At home, it’s all fun. My parents, especially my Dad, know exactly how to handle sports. When it comes down to it, I’m playing hockey because I love it, and my Dad reminds me every now and then that I could quit today and he wouldn’t have an issue with it. My Dad is in no shape or form hard on me, and that has influenced me beyond anybody or anything else. In turn, I’m just too hard on myself (haha).
NUTMEG HOCKEY: What advice do you have for other young players coming up that want to take their game to the next level?
JIM BURT: My advice is to always work hard, and keep the fun involved. If you’re weaker in a certain area, work the hardest there, but never forget about the whole picture. If you have it, don’t let it go to waste. If you don’t have it, work until you do have it. Play all different sports with your buddies. Be an athlete, not just a hockey player.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
JIM BURT: In ten years, it really all depends on what I’m doing with my life. If I’m doing the hockey thing, which would be very surprising, I’ll be playing somewhere. If I’m doing the music thing, I’ll be touring the world. If I’m just another guy, I’ll most likely just be moving back into Hamden to settle down and start a family. One day I’d like to coach the high school team.
Thanks, Jim. Best of luck to you next year.
Additional thanks go out to Ned Burt. Be sure to check out his coverage of Hamden sports and events online at www.burtsville.com.
|THE BURT FILE|
TEAM: Hamden Green Dragons
STATS: 13g, 19a, 32pts