Q&A: Jordan Kawaguchi on why he didn't go home this offseason and how he'll spend time in the NCHC Pod

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UND's Jordan Kawaguchi weaves through the Tigers zone in the first period of a home hockey game against Colorado College. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

UND captain Jordan Kawaguchi, the team's top returning scorer, spoke with the Herald on Tuesday, one day ahead of the start of UND's 2020-21 season.

Q. It has been a long wait to get to this point. How are you feeling that, after nine months, the college hockey season is finally here?

A. It’s like you’ve got the Thursday jitters before a weekend. It’s exciting. We’re ready to go. We’ve been waiting forever, it feels like, to start playing games. It’s finally here. I can’t wait to get back out there and be able to play some real meaningful games.

Q. Is it strange walking into Baxter Arena again, knowing this is where last season technically finished?

A. I hadn’t thought about that too much. It is weird not being at The Ralph, getting ready for a home series. It is what it is. We’re just happy to be playing some games.


Q. I know you did not go home all summer. What went into that decision?

A. The first part was that I was not going to put my family at risk in case I did bring the virus back. My dad and a few other family members have asthma. That puts them at risk. I didn’t feel comfortable putting them in that position. I decided to stay here. The second part is that being able to train and everything was a lot easier as well. So, there were a few different factors. It sucks not being able to go home. I haven’t been home in a year now, which is weird for me. I’m used to going home once or twice a year. It’s been a little tough. . . a lot more FaceTimes with family, keeping in touch a lot more.

Q. I was just going to ask how you were keeping in touch. FaceTime is the way?

A. Yeah, I get a text from my mom every other day. FaceTimes and text messages. My mom really wanted me to come home for Christmas, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Q. Did you ever worry whether there would be a season at all this year?

A. I always felt it would happen, but you do definitely have those nerves that it’s not going to happen, just because with this pandemic, everything has been really up in the air. Everything is changing every day. You just have to be ready for everything. It’s definitely a little nerve-wracking, but to get to Omaha and being a day away from playing a game, we’re ready for it.

Q. What’s the feeling around the team as Game 1 approaches?

A. I think we’re motivated. We’re excited. Usually, at this time any other season, we know how our team has to play. We don’t get that this year. We’ve got to jump right into it. We have to mimic what we did last year with our mentality and how we play. We have to find our identity real quick. The boys are excited and ready to go. Everyone knows what kind of year it can be. Everyone kind of feels the same way.


Q. What did you bring to keep you occupied in the Pod during down time?

A. I can watch Netflix and Hulu on my laptop. I’ve got Xbox. There are a few board games, Catan, kicking around with the guys.

Q. What shows are you watching on your laptop?

A. I’ve been really into Hulu. It has Survivor on there right now. I’ve been getting into the old seasons.

Q. What games are you playing on Xbox?

A. Call of Duty for the most part. I’ve got PGA on there, too. Just a few games to pass the time.

Q. Do you have schoolwork to do, too?

A. Yeah, finals are coming up. It’s kind of a stressful time. We’re starting our season, but the schoolwork is still there. It’s not like it just went away.


Q. Do you have to take finals while you’re here in Omaha?

A. Yeah, I think I have three.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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