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Sundays with Wilkin: A Conversation with RPI Goalie Mathias Lange

By Tim Wilkin

Albany Times Union, December 30, 2007

Goalie Mathias Lange is a junior on the RPI hockey team. He had a conversation with staff writer Tim Wilkin.

Q: Do you remember the first time you ever put a pair of skates on?

A: I don't remember the exact date, but I was 6 years old. I don't remember the early days of me trying to skate. I'm just going by what the parents told us, my brother (Harry) and I.

Q: You are from Austria. Had you ever been to the United States before coming to RPI?

A: I played here three years. I played two years in Billings, Montana, in the North American Hockey League. After that I moved over to Long Beach (N.Y.) to play in the Eastern Junior Hockey League.

Q: How often do you go home?

A: Twice a year. I'm home for a week at Christmas, and I go home in the summer time for about a month. I left home for the first time when I had just turned 17. It was really tough in the beginning. I knew a little bit of English, just the basics.

Q: What is the biggest difference between the U.S. and Austria?

A: The U.S. has so many different cultures. You go from one part of town to another and it seems like you are in a different country. Not so much up here but New York City is a great example. You go from Chinatown to Little Italy ... you don't have that in any European country.

Q: How long does it take to travel from here to back home?

A: The whole trip is roughly 20 hours. I go from here to New York or Washington and there to Vienna, and then take another 50-minute flight to my hometown (Klagenfurt).

Q: There are those who think anyone who plays goalie is a little nutty. What do you think?

A: Sometimes, yeah. Well, a lot of people say you have to be crazy getting in front of those pucks. Part of it is true. I guess there has to be somebody to do it, right? People say goalies are crazy, but speaking from experience, let me tell you, there are plenty of players who are just as crazy, if not crazier.

Q: Have you ever faced a shot that you did not see until the last second?

A: Plenty of times. A lot of times it went straight through. There are so many people in front of you, and you are trying to find the puck, but the puck keeps moving, the players keep moving. You might pick it up at the last second, and you don't have time to think about it.

Q: Fans can be tough on visiting goalies. What is the most creative thing you have ever heard yelled at you?

A: To be honest, they don't get very creative. They just try to get you rattled, and their ultimate goal is to get the goalie out of the game as far as giving up soft goals. It's part of the game. Most of the things they say you can't say it in the newspaper.

Q: Favorite food your mom makes for you?

A: It definitely has to be the wiener schnitzel. I know you can have it in so many places, but it's special at home.

Q: Favorite sport other than hockey?

A: There are a lot of them I would put up there, but since I am in the U.S. now, I would have to say football. I like the Patriots.

Q: How about a favorite actor?

A: I guess a lot of people expect me to say Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I'm not really into action movies. If I had to pick one actor, it would probably be Tom Hanks.