This season the Miami Brotherhood welcomes 13 new faces to the program, including 11 freshmen. With so many new players on the roster, the "In the Crease" semimonthly interview series aims to introduce the newcomers to the fans. The fifth installment of the series is with freshman forward Sean Kuraly.
Kuraly has posted five points in 20 games this season for the RedHawks. His faceoff and defensive capabilities are some of the best on the roster, making him what most people would consider a great two-way player.
Kuraly was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, 133rd overall (16th in the sixth round), by the San Jose Sharks. Kuraly recently helped Team USA to a gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Juniors Championship in Ufa, Russia where he posted three points in seven games. The Dublin, Ohio native has also represented the United States in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in 2010, where the Stars and Stripes captured the silver medal.
Interview by Chris Rydburg, athletic communications assistant
Chris Rydburg: You have had a busy holiday break.
Sean Kuraly: Yeah, obviously it was a huge honor to represent my country (at the World Juniors), and winning gold is a pretty big deal. Now that I am back here, I am looking to contribute anyway, offensively or defensively, that I can. I want to do whatever it takes to win. I may be able to contribute a little bit more with a semester and half a season under my belt.
CR: What was it like being able to share winning gold with your teammate Riley Barber?
SK: It helps to have some familiarity when you go to a place like that. Here you have the same people and same surroundings. It just made it a really easy transition. Having him there made things seamless. It was great to have Riley there and obviously that was pretty cool.
CR: What about the actual experience of going over to Russia and playing in a different country. That's a long way from home. Is that a little more intimidating or daunting than usual?
SK: Anytime you get to play for Team USA it is unbelievable and so fun. Just being able to put the jersey on makes up for all the traveling. The traveling is actually fun. You get to go to new places. When else are you going to go to Russia like that? The crowds were great and the experience will be something I always remember.
CR: Your name is kind of royalty on campus. Have you ever felt like you have higher expectations because of your father's legacy here or have you just been your own player?
SK: I definitely feel like I am my own player. I'm Sean Kuraly. My dad had a great career a long time ago and did great things. I am a bit of a different player and we have had different paths. He's taught me a lot but I feel like I have always done my own thing. He is there to support me but its different circumstances. Everything is a bit different, trying to learn from him but not compare myself to him or anything.
CR: When you were younger did you come up to Oxford often?
SK: Yeah, I obviously came down for games, my brother went here his freshman and sophomore year. He's a senior at Ohio State now, so he was here for a while. We've been coming down here for summer camps since I was little. We would also come down and see games. Whenever they went to Ohio State we would go watch that. I knew I liked the culture here and it was something that we were comfortable with, my dad being around a lot. Miami was an extension of who our family was. The culture and how everything works here is kind of like my family.
CR: What would you say has been the best part about your Miami experience?
SK: You know, it is kind of neat to just go to class and have all your friends and teammates there. You kind of belong to it. In Juniors (hockey prior to Miami), you are bouncing around. You are at the school but you don't represent the school at all. Here we represent our school and go to class at the same place. I think it is just cool being able to go to class with people who watch your games. You know who they are and they know who you are so it is a very cool and different relationship.
CR: What is your favorite subject?
SK: I am interested in the business stuff but I am not sure how I am going to do in it. I would say business and a little bit of math.
Fans can engage in the In the Crease series as well by submitting questions for any of the newcomers to Chris Rydburg at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will then work them into his interview with that player in an installment of In the Crease.