Q&A With Jim Slater
Senior captain sums up his Spartan hockey career.
March 22, 2005
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Senior forward Jim Slater (Lapeer, Mich.) closed out his four-year Spartan hockey career on Saturday, March 19 in State's 4-1 loss to Alaska Fairbanks in the third-place game of the CCHA Super 6 Championship at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
The two-year captain scored 172 points on 64 goals and 108 assists in 157 games during his four seasons with the Green and White. His 172 points leaves Slater 23rd on the Spartans' all-time scoring list.
Slater became the first Spartan since Mike York (1996-99) to register 40 points in three consecutive seasons. The Lapeer, Mich., native tallied 44 points in his sophomore campaign and 48 in both his junior and senior seasons.
Slater was the team's heart and soul in his final season with the Green and White, scoring big goals and making important plays when the team needed him to do so. His determination to win, strong leadership skills and scoring ability drove him to earn team MVP honors for two consecutive seasons, including his final with the team. During his tenure at MSU, Slater led the Spartans to the 2005 Great Lakes Invitational title, as well as two NCAA tournament appearances.
Following Saturday's game with Alaska Fairbanks, Slater took a moment to reflect on his Spartan career and what his time at MSU meant to him.
Q: What was going through your mind when you were stepping off the ice for the last time?
A: I don't think it really hit me until the locker room. Now, it's real tough with everyone coming up to you and saying good luck. I'm hoping its not the last time I come off this ice (at Joe Louis Arena).
It's tough to take the jersey off for the last time. It's been a great four years for me and I appreciate the stuff that everyone has done for me while I have been here. That's the good thing about Michigan State; you are a Spartan for life. It's a true family, and I'm looking forward to coming back every summer.
Q: What are some of the bright spots that you will be leaving this team with?
A: The team is losing a big senior class, but they have a good recruiting class coming in. Dom (Vicari) has another year of experience under him. If anything, hopefully the younger guys see how we seniors acted in the locker room and they will want to be similar.
Q What can the younger guys take from this season?
A: It is hard to wait until the last couple weekends of the season to start playing good hockey and get some streaks running. You have to start off from the first game. That is very important. We couldn't get off the ground this year. We had a lot of potential, but some teams never take off. We did during the last bit of the season, but it just wasn't enough. That is something important to remember.
A: Every year is great, but this last year was tougher than them all. Coming in you didn't really know what was going to happen, you're not really use to everything. As I said at the team banquet, when you see a guy like Adam Hall leave, he leaves a great tradition behind him.
It's tough. You start to learn and you start to grow and gain experience over the next couple years, but by the time that you become a senior you know exactly how they felt when they were seniors. I'm sure some of the freshman don't know exactly how I feel right now and most of the seniors do. But time will tell and they will grow into it. It's tough, you have to make the best of your four years here and try to work hard everyday and make the people around you better in the community and on the ice.
Q: Do you see any differences between the state of the program now and when you first arrived on campus?
A: There is not really much difference. You go through every year and everyone starts talking, especially this year, that there are so many changes going on in the program and there really aren't. I think it's as strong as when Coach Mason was here, but it's just a matter of getting it done on the ice. It is great to place to play and everyone wants to play here. It's the same; maybe a little better than when I came here.