When Gophers head men’s hockey coach Don Lucia first met 15-year-old Seth Ambroz, he said he was “socially awkward” and could barely look the coach in the eye.
Now, the junior forward easily hammed it up for his teammates on a road trip to Notre Dame, performing Foreigner’s classic ballad “I Want To Know What Love Is” for a prank.
“You have got to go all out,” Ambroz said. “You can’t just not give 100 percent. So I went out there, gave my best, and apparently, I have a pretty good voice.”
Senior defenseman Jake Parenteau begs to differ.
“It was very subpar,” Parenteau said. “I don’t think he’d win ‘American Idol’ or ‘The Voice.’”
Out of tune or not, Parenteau said the team always gets a kick out of Ambroz’s antics.
And his growing confidence hasn’t just improved his karaoke skills — it’s also boosted his performance on the ice.
In last weekend’s series sweep of Wisconsin, Ambroz scored four goals, including two game winners, earning the Big Ten conference’s weekly First Star award.
In fact, Ambroz only needs two goals, two assists and four points to match the career highs he set last year — and the conference season just started last weekend.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been around a player that has grown so much as a person,” Lucia said.
Lucia said Ambroz has developed from a shy kid into the most vocal leader on the team.
“He’s always talking in the locker room,” sophomore defenseman Brady Skjei said. “[He’s] always getting the guys going.”
Ambroz said he’s become more talkative because the young team is pretty quiet. He said he jokes around to make his teammates smile because being loose and having fun makes for a better game.
“I just enjoy … chatter on the ice and in the games and before games and in practice,” Ambroz said.
Parenteau said it’s clear Ambroz likes to talk, but that’s just a product of his “different” personality.
“We can’t get him to be quiet before a game,” Parenteau said.
“We tell him, but he doesn’t care.”
And as long as Ambroz keeps talking on and off the ice, his teammates will just have to put up with it.
“I learned to just not even care what people think when I say some stupid stuff,” Ambroz said.