Former Park Center boys’ hockey player Tim Jackman signed a free agent contract with the Calgary Flames this offseason. The Flames were in St. Paul on Dec. 3 to take on the Wild, and Star Tribune staff reporter Brian Stensaas caught up with Jackman after the team’s morning skate at Xcel Energy Center, where Jackman made his NHL debut in 2003.
Question: I’m guessing this state and this arena holds a lot of memories
Answer: Absolutely. It’s always exciting to come back here and play against the Wild. It’s a chance for me to see some family and friends that still live around here. It’s always a good experience.
Q: Now that you’re with the Flames, are you happy you’ll play here more?
A: It’s fun. When Minnesota is in Calgary, people back home here can watch on TV. I get a lot of text messages and phone calls on those games. And then when I’m here, obviously, my phone gets a ton of text messages from people wanting passes and stuff. It only happens a few times a year, actually, and I enjoy it.
Q: How have you been fitting in with the Flames so far?
A: It’s been going good. We need to get some wins strung together here a little bit. It’s been one of those things where we play well and not won and then there are games like [the 7-2 loss against Vancouver on Dec. 1]. These are divisional points. We need these.
Q: What are your best memories of playing high school hockey here?
A: We had a couple of good teams there at Park Center. This isn’t really a good memory or the best memory I guess, but we were up 3-1 heading into the third period against Blaine [in 2000] and they came back and beat us, then they went on to win the [Class 2A] championship that year. I also remember watching Krissy Wendell.
Q: And from there you played with the Twin Cities Vulcans, right?
A: Yeah, we won the [National Junior A] championship that year. That was the last year of the Vulcans existence, so that was a great team to be a part of. Playing at the Columbia Arena was always a great time. So many great players. I played on a line with [former Hill-Murray and Gophers player] Matt Koalska.
Q: Do you still keep tabs on high school hockey in the area?
A: I talk with Lance Pitlick a little bit. He’s with Wayzata now, I think, and keeps me up to date on what’s going on. But I really don’t follow it too much. I know Centennial, Edina and Minnetonka have been good. It’s amazing to hear Lance talk about just how many good players there are around Minnesota.
Q: What made you choose Minnesota State, Mankato for college?
A: They were the first school to really contact me and pursue me. Things were great there. I really had a good time and learned a lot. It really set forth my pro career.
Q: Columbus drafted you in the second round of the 2001 Entry Draft, two spots after the Wild passed on you. Did you think …
A: [Laughs] I really wasn’t sure what was going to happen that day. I remember that the Wild picked before Columbus, and I was getting excited that they might take me. But I didn’t talk with them too much through the whole interview process you go through. So I didn’t really think they would.