With hockey season right around the corner we will be publishing some interviews with University of North Dakota Hockey alumni from around the world. We will be talking to alumni both currently playing hockey, and those that have used their education to pursue other ventures.
Today’s interview is with Ryan Duncan. He was a member of the Duncan-Oshie-Toews (DOT) line that featured some of the best forward play this University has ever seen. Duncan won the Hobey Baker award in 2007, and has gone on to play most of his professional career in Austria for Red Bull Salzburg. He has won four league titles with Red Bull Salzburg in Austria’s top league known as the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (EBEL). He has numerous accolades at the team and individual level both in college hockey and in Austria.
Below are our questions and his responses:
1. What has been your favorite off-ice moment playing since you started your pro career?
” The birth of my daughter. It was an incredible experience to be a part of. It changed my perspective on a lot of things. It was truly life-changing and an extremely proud moment.”
2. What are your plans when you are finished playing hockey?
” Great question. I don’t know exactly what I want to do for work quite yet, I hope to stay involved with hockey in some capacity but my top priority will be being there for my daughter and helping create a healthy environment for her to grow up in.”
3. How much do you follow the current UND team now?
” I follow the current UND team pretty closely. I’m a fan. Any outlet that covers the team or gives updates about the team I probably follow it. I love watching the highlights and tracking their progress.”
4. What did you do to celebrate UND’s National Championship in 2016?
” I was in the middle of a playoff run over here in Austria so there wasn’t the preferred amount of celebrating but I probably pestered my current teammates by gloating about my former team. Then when the time was right, me and my Wife (who is a former UND women’s hockey player) raised a glass to UND’s accomplishment.”
5. What are some things that UND fans might like about the European game?
” I think UND fans would like the style of play and the atmosphere in the arena. it’s a finesse game with a lot of skill and the atmosphere in the stands is a fun one with lots of drum banging and local chants.”
6. During your UND time, who were some of your teammates with the biggest personality?
” I played with a lot of characters at UND. Two I’ll mention are Brett Hextall and Matt Watkins. Brett is just a really smart and clever guy who makes people feel comfortable around him. Matt is a really unique and interesting person. He grew up in rural Saskatchewan so just the perspective he brings to life makes him really fun to be around.”
7. Who has been your favorite coach to play for at any level?
” My favorite coaches were Tom Ward and Dave Hakstol. Coach Ward was my coach in high school at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. He taught me so much about life and hockey. I developed more because of him than any other coach I played for. Coach Hakstol helped continue that progression once I got to college. He really encouraged and taught the professionalism that is needed on a daily basis to be successful in the game of hockey and in life.”
8. What do you most miss about UND and Grand Forks?
” I miss everything about Grand Forks and UND. What I miss most is Red Pepper and going to school with thousands of kids around your same age. It’s a special time in life. N ot too many better things than a Saturday night after at home weekend sweep in Grand Forks.”
9. What are some interesting things in Austria that you like to do or see in your off time?
” Me and my Wife like to explore the area around Salzburg in our off time. Salzburg is a beautiful city surrounded by mountains so there’s no shortage of adventures for us to go on.”
10. What are some hockey-related goals you want to accomplish before retiring?
” My hockey related goal before I retire is simple, make EC Red Bull Salzburg a better team and organization because I’m a part of it. It’s a great organization to play for and I want to help to continue to make it even better.”
11. How many more years do you want to keep playing hockey?
” I want to keep playing hockey as long as I can. I have no set time table. I love the game and I’m passionate about it so I hope to continue playing for many more years to come. It’s a great life.”
12. What are you most thankful for learning from UND?
” I’m most thankful for learning from UND how powerful a great community, culture, and tradition can be. I think a lot of communities, businesses, organizations, and teams strive to be like Grand Forks and UND but very few achieve it. UND is a special place. I feel privileged to have been a part of it.”