The Rookie Round-Up gives ECHL fans the chance to get to know a rookie who has signed with an ECHL team for the 2017-18 season. This week, the ECHL spoke with Gage Ausmus of the Colorado Eagles. After finishing his collegiate career with the University of North Dakota, he’s ready to get started on the next chapter – get to know him in this Q&A!
Name: Gage Ausmus
Hometown: East Grand Forks, Minnesota
ECHL Team: Colorado Eagles
2016-17 Team: University of North Dakota (38 GP, 2G, 7A, 9PTS)
ECHL: What made you decide to sign with the Eagles?
Gage Ausmus: Well, there are University of North Dakota ties to the Head Coach, Aaron Schneekloth. I had a couple friends that had played there last year - Clarke Saunders and Jake Marto from UND and have heard nothing but great things about the organization, so that made the decision pretty easy.
ECHL: What should Eagles fans know about you – on or off the ice?
GA: I'm just going to be a good steady defenseman - looking to be consistent. I keep the game pretty simple so they won't have anything to worry about there. I’m just an easy going guy who loves playing hockey.
ECHL: What are you most looking forward to in your professional rookie season?
GA: To be honest, just a chance to play hockey without having school on the side. I'm really excited to just focus on hockey.
ECHL: Is there anyone that you model your game after?
GA: I used to get asked this question a lot and I’ve always said Niklas Hjalmarsson – he plays with the Arizona Coyotes now but was with Chicago for a while. He’s someone who is steady and not too flashy but gets the job done.
ECHL: How have you spent your summer?
GA: I actually had shoulder surgery after my past season just ended. So, this summer I spent a lot time rehabbing my shoulder and making sure it was ready to go. Now it feels great - it feels better than what it did before I got the surgery which is really nice. So that is basically what I did all summer - prepare for this upcoming season and rehab my shoulder.
ECHL: What's one things that ECHL fans would be surprised to know about you?
GA: One thing they'd be surprised to learn about me is I was born in Billings, Montana. I guess you don't get too many hockey players from Montana. I moved away when I was three years old so I don’t really remember it much, but I’ve been back there a few times just to visit.
ECHL: You mentioned you already know some of the guys on the Eagles roster. Does that familiarity make things easier heading into the Season?
GA: Yes, there were also some guys at the Avalanche Rookie Camp that I attended this summer that have played with the Eagles or may end up there this Season. It definitely makes it better knowing some people to start the Season – it makes it a lot more enjoyable for the first month. But after that you end up making friends pretty quickly so it’s not too big of a deal if you come into it not knowing anyone.
ECHL: To this date, what has been the proudest hockey moment of your career?
GA: Winning a National Championship with the University of North Dakota my junior season was definitely the proudest I've been on a team and in hockey. I’m looking to build on that success as I get started in Colorado.