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Three Minutes With: Preds prospect Teemu Kivihalme

Every year during Development Camp, we pick Nashville Predators prospects, players, coaches and personalities to be a part of our Three Minutes With… interview series. The summer of 2013 is no different and we’re bringing you a great lineup this year.

In today’s edition, we sit down with 2013 fifth round pick (140th overall) Teemu Kivihalme (pronounced: “key-vee-hall-may”). He’s about to be a senior at Burnsville High School in Burnsville, Minnesota and has committed to Colorado College once he graduates. The 18-year old defenseman also spent some time with the Fargo Force of the USHL last year.

*** At the draft, you couldn’t wipe the smile off your face. You were so excited. Now that it’s been a couple weeks, has that emotion settled down a little?
Teemu Kivihalme: Definitely but, obviously, I’m still excited. It’s great being here. Nashville’s been excellent and this is my first time being here so I’m just trying to be a sponge and soak everything up.

303: Is it difficult to do that? I mean, you’re about to be a senior in high school. Is all of this overwhelming to you?
TK: Not really, it’s hockey. Obviously, I’m playing against a lot better kids but I feel like I’ve been doing pretty well here.

303: Filip Forsberg is here, Seth Jones is here, Colton Sissons is here, Brendan Leipsic is here… Playing against (and with) this caliber of players, does that up your game? Do you think you learn from them even if you’re not specifically trying to?
TK: Oh yeah, for sure. They’re all great players. I’m just trying to scope out what they do and try to learn from them. That’s why I’m here. To learn and get better as a hockey player and as a person.

303: What do you hope to get out of this experience that you can take back to Burnsville and Fargo?
TK: Just the little things, like what they do during workouts after skate and just see what they do to keep replenishing themselves. The on-ice and off-ice work ethic they have too. I’m hoping to bring those things back to Fargo.

303: Do you think this environment will help make you a better player?
TK: Oh, for sure. These kids are trying to make the team and, obviously, it’s helping push me too, which I really enjoy.

303: You’re in high school still so I have to ask… did your parents come with you to Nashville?
TK: I’m here by myself. They’re at home.

303: How do you update them on what’s going on? I’m sure they’re excited — and nervous — for you.
TK: Oh yeah, I have to text them and there’s a rule: I have to call them every night. *laughs*

303: When you take a second to really think about it, what is it like to realize that you are here? You are a part of an NHL organization and you are in that organization’s camp?
TK: Besides Fargo — I played there a few games but, in high school, we don’t have our own locker room so having a practice locker room is pretty cool. Having your name up here (in your stall) and just wearing the Nashville jersey is pretty sick so…

303: You going to try and keep your jersey?
TK: *looks around* I’m gonna try.

303: *laughing* Thanks man.
TK: Oh, no problem.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua (used with permission)