Jacob Bernard-Docker was taken 26th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, along with his long-time friend Jonathan Tychonick. The two are currently at University of North Dakota in the NCAA. Bernard-Docker was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
Q: Draft projections had you going anywhere from the early 20s to the late 50s overall. How much were you expecting to be picked in the first round?
Bernard-Docker: To be honest I didn’t really have any expectations going into it. As a player you obviously want to hear your name called as soon as possible but I was really just trying to take it all in and enjoy the experience.
Q: Did you get the impression Ottawa was really interested in you after your interview?
JBD: I had a good interview with Ottawa but wasn’t really sure what they thought of me. I’m really happy it all panned out the way it did, and am thankful to be a part of such a great organization.
Q: Did you expect to be taken by the same team as Jonathan Tychonick?
JBD: Being drafted by Ottawa was an indescribable feeling and when Jonny was picked by them as well it was surreal. We’ve grown up playing together and hopefully one day we can both play for the Senators together. That would be really special.
Q: Who was with you on draft day? Who was the most nervous and the most excited?
JBD: My mom, dad, brother, and sister were with me on draft day. I think everyone was just excited to be there and to experience it together as a family. My mom was definitely the most nervous though.
Q: Any fun nicknames Sens fans should know about you or Jonny?
JBD: Guys usually just call me JBD or Doc, and we usually just say Jonny or Jon.
Q: Are there in fact a number of fun things to do in Okotoks? (joke source)
JBD: Yeah, there’s a lot to do in Okotoks. I have nothing but good things to say about the town and the team. As a junior hockey player, I didn’t get up to a lot other than hockey and school but there are lots of things to do.
Q: There seem to be more Canadians deliberately going the college route now. What age did you decide you would do college and why did you pick it?
JBD: I would say that around 16 years old I was set on college and felt like that would be the best route for my development. I picked the college route because I felt like it would give me a better chance to develop physically off the ice and because playing against older guys would really help me. I’ve only been at North Dakota for about 2 months and know that I made the right choice. It’s an amazing place with great people.
Q: It doesn’t look like you and Jonny have been playing together so far this season. Are you expecting to be paired together later, or are they deliberately putting the rookies with someone with a bit more experience?
JBD: I think Jonny and I are just tryign to contribute however we can and are happy to play with anyone on any pairing. We have a strong D corps and the veterans are definitely allowing us to feel more comfortable every game.
Q: What’s the biggest difference between AJHL hockey and NCAA hockey?
JBD: The speed is probably the most obvious difference when I made the jump to college. Guys are bigger and faster and a lot harder to defend against.
Q: Did Christian Wolanin give you any tips about North Dakota (the school or the state) before you started?
JBD: I talked to Wolanin at the development camp in Ottawa and he just told me that it was the best years of his life and to just enjoy the whole experience.
Thanks again to JBD, who scored his first two college points recently. We’re looking forward to seeing him in the NHL in the near future.