Marc Gatcomb, a senior at Gunnery, recently committed to UConn. The ’99 spent three years playing public school hockey before repeating his junior year at Gunnery. The 3.5-star prospect, who has a strong side and wins puck races, is slated to attend UConn next fall.
Neutral Zone chatted with Gatcomb about his experience at Gunnery, the jump from public to prep school, and how he chose UConn.
Neutral Zone: How and when did you start playing hockey?
Marc Gatcomb: I started playing when I was about four, with just a recreational league in my town and then after that, I started playing for the Middlesex Islanders when I was about five until I was 12. Then after that, I played for the Valley Jr. Warriors when I was 13 to 15, and then I played public school hockey for three years and then went to Gunnery.
NZ: What led you to choose Gunnery?
MG: First I was supposed to go back to public school for my senior year and I talked it over with my parents and we thought I was just going do a PG year wherever it ended up. I was playing in a tournament in Connecticut in late July, and I ended up talking to one of our coaches, Chris Gragnano, and he just told me that they had lost a kid to the USHL and they needed a forward for next year. It just all ended up working out and I went in there and repeated my junior year.
NZ: What have been the developmental benefits of playing at Gunnery?
MG: I think that the coaches and just all the support that they’ve given me along the way has allowed me to reach my full potential, which has helped me drastically over the last two years. Without that, I don’t think I’d be in the place I am today so I really owe it all to them.
NZ: What other schools did you talk to and where else did you go on visits?
MG: I narrowed it down to mostly Hockey East schools. It was between UMass Amherst, Providence and UConn.
NZ: How did you decide on UConn?
MG: Well when I visited I just really liked the school and I liked the coaches. The school’s big, but I like the feel of it. A lot of the stuff was close by and I really like the coaches, they really know what they’re doing, and they’ve really built the program over the past few years so I just like where it’s headed. Nothing but good things for the future.
NZ: What is your biggest on-ice skill?
MG: I think I’m a 200-foot player, so I wouldn’t classify my type of play as a skilled guy or more of a physical like play-a-role guy. I think at times I can be both, which really helps in certain situations.
NZ: Which part of your game has improved the most?
MG: I think my skating ability and being able to make plays quickly, because the prep level’s pretty fast and there’s a lot of good players, so you really have to be able to react quickly. But obviously, next year will be a big jump from prep to college, so that’ll have to improve even more.
NZ: What part of your game are you trying to improve the most?
MG: I’d say the physical aspect, so just trying to get bigger this summer and gain weight, because a lot of the guys at the next level are a lot older and bigger than me so I think I just need to be physically ready. Other than that, I think just getting stronger and that will improve my game as it comes.
NZ: What was the toughest adjustment from public to prep hockey?
MG: I think more or less just the depth. At public school hockey there’s really only one or two good lines, but at prep school, these good teams are rolling four lines. So every shift you have to give it your best, and if not, any game could go in any way. I think it’s more just consistency because in public school you could get away with a few bad shifts or even a period or a game. In prep school, if you don’t show up, anyone can beat anyone so it’s more just being prepared to play and knowing who you’re playing.
NZ: Who were you rooting for at the Beanpot?
MG: I mean all my life I’ve been a BC fan, now I’m a Huskies fan. But I did hear they’re making their own Beanpot, like the Connecticut teams.