Former Norwich hockey star Keith Aucoin is in Boston as his New York Islanders get set to take on the Bruins at TD Garden. Before the game, our own Mike McCune caught up with Aucoin to see how his NHL career is going.
Mike: How did your experience with Washington last season help you now as your Islanders are fighting for a playoff spot?
Keith: It helped out a lot. We were in 2 game 7's last year with Washington. I've been in a lot of big games in my career, in Norwich, in the minor leagues and in the NHL. We've been playing some good hockey and we just have to continue to do that and if we do, we'll be successful.
Mike: It's been tough in your career to maintain a spot on a NHL roster. It looks like that has changed over the last year. What does that say about your perseverance?
Keith: I guess it says a lot. I get to play the game I love a lot no matter what league I was in. I've always had to work my way up, from the East Coast League to the AHL. I did everything I could in the AHL to get to the NHL level. A lot of times they told me it was a numbers situation or that I was just too small, but I always believed in myself. I knew I could do it. The last 2 years I've been given the chance and I've been able to help the teams win.
Mike: Do you feel like you are carrying a banner for Division III hockey players that you may have to work a little harder, but you can get there?
Keith: Yeah. People look at my career and say that I can do it. I think Division III has gotten a lot better since I've been there. I think anyone that plays Division III that has the skill there, they can do it. It's a matter of getting an opportunity. Whenever you get the opportunity, no matter what level, you have to take advantage of it, because you might not get another one. There's a lot of good players in Division III and I've always felt that way and a lot of them don't get the chance for some reason. It doesn't matter what level you are, as long as you are good enough to play and you get the opportunity, you can do it.
Mike: Do you still keep track of what Norwich is doing?
Keith: Yeah, through Twitter and I talked to Coach McShane a lot. We keep in touch and I golf with him in the summertime. I definitely keep track of what they're doing and try to do it every year. I hope they do well and it seems like they are doing well. It's a great place to play hockey and it was a great 4 years for myself.
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