Get to know the Buckeyes senior forward and alternate captain from West Bend, Wis. Steckel, a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, enters the Michigan State series just six shy of the 100-point mark for his Ohio State career and five goals short of his 50th career marker.
This season, Steckel is tied for second on the team with 18 points and is tied for the team lead with 12 goals. Against Bowling Green Nov. 29, he scored two shorthanded goals to tie an Ohio State record that had stood since Feb. 14, 1981 (Paul Pooley, vs. BGSU).
What is your major … what do you plan on doing after your hockey career is over?
My major is family financial management in the college of Human Ecology. After my hockey career I plan on using some of the connections I have made throughout the years to find a well-paying, productive and exciting job opportunity.
It’s your senior season … how would you like to end your Buckeye career? What are your goals for the season?
I would love to end my season with a ring on my finger. Personally I would love to hit my 100th point and 50-goal point, then follow that up with a CCHA championship/ playoff championship.
How old were you when you started playing hockey, and why did you start? You say grew up with no hockey influence in the family.
I started playing hockey when I was 6 years old. Since no one in my family had played the game before, the influence came from my babysitter. Her son played since he was 4 and everyday after school we would play with the neighborhood kids. Matt was his name and I guess he had all the influence upon my getting started.
Why do you wear No. 39?
I wear number 39 because 14 was taken when I came to Ohio State. So, I took my linemate’s number from the U.S. National Team. We played on a line together for two years and he was a great kid. In addition, it’s original.
Who is your favorite hockey player and why?
My favorite hockey player is John LeClair. He works hard and puts the puck in the net.
Who has been the biggest influence on your hockey career?
Growing up my parents had the biggest influence. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am today. Plus, my junior coaches Jeff Jackson and Bob Mancini had tremendous influences upon the way I play the game.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy playing golf.
Who is the toughest CCHA opponent … why? Where is the toughest place to play in the league and why?
I would say Michigan because of the rivalry. Yost is also the toughest place to play in the league. They have great student fan support, which makes for a hostile environment to compete in.
Why did you come to Ohio State?
The facilities around the university are outstanding.
Do you have any pets?
I have a boxer named Dakota who is 10 months old.
What is your college hockey highlight?
Playing Boston College in the NCAA tournament last year.
You competed in the World Junior Championships twice … how did it feel to represent your country in that prestigious tournament with all those scouts watching?
It was very overwhelming at first, but then once you settle down and just play it was the greatest hockey opportunity I could have ever gotten. There is no better feeling than playing for your country and listening to the anthem after a win.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned at Ohio State?
To play your hardest and hold nothing back.
You were drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft … how did it feel to find out you had been picked by them? How does it feel to be a first-round pick?
Being drafted was very exciting. It was a proud moment in my hockey career, especially because I got to share it with so many people. To be a first-round pick means a lot – expectations, leadership and commitment – all of which I have been working very hard at.
How did you spend last summer?
I spent some of my summer out in L.A. and the rest trying to make myself a better hockey player.
What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
Enjoy the life because it passes by at a rapid pace.