Nothing beats Minnesota in the summertime. It's an added bonus if we can mix the summer warmth with a little bit of hockey fun, too.
Lucky for you, we at Minnesota Hockey Journal have found a way to do just that.
Throughout the summer, we'll be catching up with amateurs and pros alike to see what their offseason looks like, and what they get up to when they're not at the rink (spoiler alert, it's plenty of time on unfrozen and frozen water just like you).
First up, Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser (Burnsville/University of North Dakota).
Minnesota Hockey Journal: I mean, be honest, how great is it to get home, especially in the summer time?
Brock Boeser: Oh it's always good to come home. It's nice to get out there and be away a little bit, especially playing hockey, but nothing beats getting back to where you're from with family and friends.
MHJ: We hear you're mixing in a little bit of light hockey this summer with Da Beauty League. How fun is that to be a part of a league that mixes in amateurs and pros in front of fans once per week?
Boeser: It’s really exciting and I think it’s a lot of fun. All the guys get back home and get together. It’s nice having the NHL, minor league and college guys, it really shows the talent level of the league and the state…It’s just a blast.
MHJ: Your no rookie with the Da Beauty League, or with their open skates, but does it feel different with this being your first summer back as an official NHLer?
Boeser: For sure. Obviously the skates are always great, no matter what level you're playing at. They have a pro camp after Da Beauty League, which it will be my first time doing that so I'm looking forward to it.
MHJ: Could you see anything like Da Beauty League really working anywhere else but Minnesota?
Boeser: Maybe in Canada they could get a league like that going, but there’s so many guys from Minnesota and even non-Minnesotans who come here for the summer that it’s easy to get it going here. It makes it that much more special to have Minnesota, our home state, be the home to a league like this.
MHJ: It has to help the college guys get a feel for the NHL too, no?
Boeser: Oh for sure. When I was in college last year playing in it, I noticed how much faster those NHL guys make plays and just the speed of the game and how fast and smart they are. It gives us college guys an idea on what it takes to be an NHLer and what it takes to play. That type of learning, that definitely helped me when I turned pro at the end of the year.
MHJ: Enough shop talk, what else do you fill your summer with?
Boeser: I mean there is obviously a bit of hockey, especially as we get closer to the camp opening up at the end of August, but really it's just a lot of hanging out with family and friends.
MHJ: Was it pretty great to make your NHL debut in Minnesota earlier this year in front of your family and friends?
Boeser: Oh yeah. Obviously that was a dream come true. Just to make it to the NHL is something every kid dreams of, but to be able to do it in front of your family and friends makes it that much more special.
MHJ: Final question: do you think the lakes in Minnesota are better frozen or unfrozen?
Boeser: (Laughs) I think they are great both ways.