Returning Interview: Tom Durnie

Photo credit: Will Nickelson

Tom Durnie is a 6’2”, 195-lb defenseman from Calgary, Alberta. He came to Huntsville in 2008 after playing three seasons with the Canmore Eagles in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. In 69 games, #24 has scored of 5-17–22. Tom is majoring in English with a minor in communications and will be graduating this year.

At what age did you first start playing hockey, and who inspired you the most to play hockey?
I was three when I first started messing around on the ice. I was five when I started playing organized hockey. After high school, I joined the Canmore Eagles in junior hockey. There, I played until I was nineteen years old. My dad inspired me the most to play hockey. He used to be really good when he was younger, but he’s old and fat now. He played for the SAIT Trojans. I still play hockey with him during the summer.

What are some of your strengths and weakness on the ice?
On the ice, my strength would be that I have a pretty good shot. My weakness is that I’m kind of slow. But I’m way faster than I used to be!

What is your favorite game situation?
My favorite situation is the penalty kill. I like to block shots.

Photo credit: Will Nickelson

You’ve played a total of 161 games between juniors and college. What is your most memorable game, and why?
My most memorable game is probably the one where I didn’t play at all. UAH won the 2009-2010 CHA championship last season. It was the first time I had ever won a championship.

What is your most embarrassing moment in hockey?
Probably when I was eighteen. I tried to take a shot and I got hit. I was knocked out. I tried to get back up, but I was all spaghetti-legged right in front of the other teams bench. It was mortifying.

Why did you ultimately choose The University of Alabama in Huntsville to play hockey for at a college level?
It was just a unique situation. I had heard of the school. A guy that had played here had played on the same AJHL team as me. His name is Scott Kalinchuk. Where else can you go practice all year in flip flops?

What is your main goal for the team this season?
We need to win. Everything aside, there’s not much we can do with the future of the program except go out and play our hardest and win as many games this year as we can.

How do you feel about Portera possibly cutting the hockey team from the athletic program?
I think it’s a shame, especially from a player’s stand point. I’m a senior this year, and I’ve seen how far we’ve come. The general attitude around the team is ten times better on campus and off campus, now. I think it would be a shame to ruin that before we get a chance to show our potential.

How are you feeling about your first game against the Lakers that’s coming up this October?
I’m excited. I can’t wait to get back out there. Hopefully we will fill the VBC. I have yet to see a sell out here in my four years.

What values or principles have you learned from playing hockey?
Sportsmanship. Team camaraderie—basically, to value being a part of the team. It’s important to know that other people are holding you accountable for your actions, and that you can do the same.

Who is your favorite NHL team and player?
The Calgary Flames. That’s where I’m from. My favorite player would have to be Bobby Orr. It’s impressive that he could lead the league in scoring and be the best defenseman.

What else do you like to do besides play hockey?
I play the guitar. I write and sing songs, too. I like to play NHL and Halo on the Xbox. Those are my favorite games.

How different is hockey in Canada from the United States?
The hockey is the same. College hockey is very system oriented and defensive. I’d have to say that the culture is what’s different. Everyone is so friendly here. I guess it’s the Southern hospitality. Plus, the weather is really nice down here.

What are your plans after college?
I’m getting married next summer. I’m probably going to go back to school, eventually. We’ll see what happens this year, if I can keep playing. I would like to go to Europe. I’ve just heard a lot of stories that the hockey is pretty good, and the living experience is once in a lifetime.