Q&A with MRU Cougar star Jamal Watson
By Dan Khavkin, Sports Editor
Jamal Watson is a third-year forward for the men’s hockey team here on campus. Often regarded as the voice and the spark of the dressing room, The Reflector sat down with the Cougar forward to get to know the personal side of him.
Who is your favourite player?
Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers, but my all-time favourite player is Pavel Bure. When I was a kid I remember watching the Don Cherry videos and he would always be in there and I would never forget the highlights he had.
Who is your favourite team?
Colorado Avalanche. I started to get into hockey in the early 2000s and that was when the team was stacked with Sakic, Forsberg, Roy.
Who would you say is your hero?
I would say it is Martin Luther King Jr. He did a lot of things for the world especially African-American people. He was such an important part of human history so how can he not be.
Who on the team would you consider your hero?
No question it’s Colin Cooper. I have never met a more straight edged guy in my life. He’s a guy who always has a positive vibe and always smiles. He’s one of a kind.
Why do you wear the number 23?
I wore 17 in Junior but when I got to MRU, Tanner Olstad (an MRU senior) was wearing that number and I knew I wouldn’t get it so I chose 23 in honor of Michael Jordan. I’m a pretty big basketball guy.
What’s your pre-game routine?
I keep it pretty normal, I don’t do anything to crazy. Just warming up with the boys really. Connor Rankin and I sit in the stands about 20 minutes before the game and just talk about stuff to stay calm before the game.
Why did you come to MRU after Junior?
I remember hearing the potential of USPORTS and university hockey in Junior. Bert (Gilling) brought me in as soon as I got back to Calgary and showed me around. What he offered me about MRU hockey was something I wanted to buy into and go to school here. For someone who hasn’t been in school for four or five years, the smaller classes was an easier adjustment.
Compare the experience of playing with past players such as Cam Maclise and Matt Brown to being a veteran presence today.
I remember the stories I heard about Matt Brown and how he was the ‘big-time big-game’ player and what he meant to Cougar Hockey, how he was always ready for the moment. I was lucky enough to play with Cam Maclise who was the most well-rounded and talented guy I have ever played with, you can see by his pro ranks. Being a veteran now you want to emulate those guys to be an important part of games and step up in big moments.
Who has the best social media on the team?
Definitely Austin Adamson has the best Instagram of the team, the guys love him. I’m the most active Twitter user, so for sure my Twitter, but his IG is awesome.
Who’s the team’s ladies man?
Gonna have to go with Ryley Lindgren. That guy just knows his way around the girls.
You used to have ‘Odell Beckham’ hair back in first-year, did you rock it in honour of him?
My brother got it in the summer and he kind of dared me and said ‘you won’t do it!’ and I said ‘yeah I will,’ then went to the barber two days later. When I got it I had to stick with it all year. I know it was a wild look but the thing that got me to stop it was how expensive it was to keep it. I would spend around $100-120 to sit in a chair for an hour and a half. By the time five or six months rolled around, I said to myself ‘I’ve had enough of this.’ I did look pretty ridiculous and outrageous but I had no regrets. It was a good look for a bit especially when Odell was still doing well.
What’s your go-to celebration?
It’s the ‘double fist pump’ with a knee in the air. I had to tone it down. When I played Junior, especially in my 20-year-old season, it used to be pretty outrageous.
What is your best pick up line?
You’ve put me on the spot!
I think it would have to be the one where you ask her if it hurt when she fell from heaven. It’s so dry and cheesy but it works.
Best memory wearing a Cougars sweater?
Last year when we left Manitoba as a six-seed. Our team was super underestimated. Our group did start pretty slow with a bunch of new guys, but when we showed up there we still said, ‘hey even though were really new this year we still have the same standards and expectations.’
Favourite Crowchild Classic memory?
My first year I did score. It was a tip-in right in front of the net. It did kind of suck because when it went in, no one knew who scored it so I didn’t exactly get ‘all the glory’ as it should be but it wasn’t a huge deal. Scoring a goal in the Crowchild Classic, you can’t really ask for more.
Best part about playing for MRU?
Bert built a nice structure. He built the levels of expectations and performance needed for our program to build up. I’m a competitive guy, I want to be a part of something important and great. The way Bert acts and treats the program is my favourite thing about MRU, it’s more than just a school to play hockey, he wants us to be leaders off the ice and be great people in life.
Any shoutouts to your teammates?
Shoutout to all the guys who will experience the Crowchild Classic, especially the first time. It will really hit home when they hit the ice for warm-ups. That crowd is loud. You don’t realize how loud they are and you see students cheering being much different than your parents or at the home rink. When there’s 7,000 students screaming for you and having the time of their lives, it’s something you will never forget.