Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - April 17, 2022

Varsity is the free Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.

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26 // VARSITY April 17, 2014 BADGERING JAKE McCABE Junior All-American defenseman Jake McCabe signed a professional contract following the conclusion of the 2013-14 Wisconsin men's hockey season, making his NHL debut on April 3 and finishing the regular season after seven games played with the Buffalo Sabres. He scored his first NHL point with an assist against the New York Islanders on April 13. McCabe will continue his post-Wisconsin playing career this May as a member of the U.S. National Team that will compete at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in Belarus. What was it like to play in your first NHL game? Did anyone in your family get to St. Louis to come watch? "It was very surreal. Not too long ago we were at Ohio State watching the Olympics and T.J. Oshie scoring goal after goal, and then I look across and I was taking line rushes against him. My legs were Jell-o during warmups but I got more comfortable as the game went on. My mom and dad were both able to come, as well as a couple of close friends." Was it a bit of a whirlwind to get to that point after the season at Wisconsin ended? "Well first off, I didn't expect to have to make the decision as soon as I did. My mind was on making it to Philly (for the Frozen Four) and I was very disappointed when we lost in the first round. But when I found out that I was leaving I was sent to Chicago for the night. I woke up and left for Buffalo early in the morning, got there and did a few physicals, and the next thing I knew I was on a plane to St Louis with the team. So it never really set in until I was on the ice." Games in St. Louis, Detroit, Philly and Buffalo in a week's time. How has the travel been? "It's been hotel to hotel. I have to write my room number down or else I'll forget it ― which did happen. But it's been a blast and it was nice to be back in Buffalo to settle down for a couple days." How would you compare the play from college to the NHL? "Everything happens that much faster. Instead of being a couple steps ahead you need to be three, four or five steps ahead." What is it like seeing five of your teammates from this season also signing pro contracts with NHL and AHL teams? Is there a sense of pride about UW at all? "Of course, and there will be many more by next season. Those guys are my best buddies and will be for the rest of my life. It's great to see your buddies and teammates who very much deserve to play at the next level get deals." How would you sum up your time at UW? "The best three years of my life."

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