Here we go again, it’s time for another unfiltered discussion with one of the top players in the state with Meme, Myself, and I. For the latest installment, Game On! Minnesota's John King sat down with St. Louis Park sniper Bauer Neudecker.
Game On! Minnesota: So, 29 goals and 47 points in 13 games. You're one of the top scorers in the state. How do you explain the offensive explosion? I know it's early, but what's going on this year?
Bauer Neudecker: With the number of points, I think it's because we are doing so well as a team. It's the first time in a while that it feels like we're all together. We have a really close group of guys this year.
Game On! Minnesota: You haven't signed yet with a college team; what are you thinking?
Bauer Neudecker: No, I haven't signed yet. I have signed a tender with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in the NAHL, but that's it.
Game On! Minnesota: So, where would you like to play college hockey?
Bauer Neudecker: Well, obviously the U of M, but I also like Arizona State because they're a new and upcoming program.
Game On! Minnesota: Arizona State, huh? Doesn't have anything to do with the "Slap Shots and Flip-Flops" vibe they put out, does it?
Bauer Neudecker: No, not at all.
Game On! Minnesota: Yeah, I bet it would be a blast playing there. It'd be like an '80s party movie.
Bauer Neudecker: It'd be a fun life.
Game On! Minnesota: So how extreme do your hockey parents need be to name their kid Bauer?
Bauer Neudecker: Actually, my mother was a huge fan of the Eddie Bauer clothing brand. And when she suggested the name, my dad was a hockey fan, so he liked it.
Game On! Minnesota: Eddie Bauer—they're still around, right?
Bauer Neudecker: Yeah, they're around.
Game On! Minnesota: So, do you rock a lot of Eddie Bauer clothing these days?
Bauer Neudecker: No, only my mom rocks that stuff.
Game On! Minnesota: Did your family ever have an Eddie Bauer edition Ford Explorer?
Bauer Neudecker: No, we did not.
Game On! Minnesota: You play for St. Louis Park. Can you talk a little bit about what it means to wear the SLP on your chest?
Bauer Neudecker: I think St. Louis Park hockey is seen as an underdog because we have a lot of teams around us that are very good. We are an underdog team, and that's a very good thing because we can surprise people. And this year we have a close group of guys who are going to work hard and try to get the St. Louis Park name out there.
Game On! Minnesota: So you clearly love your community. What's one place I absolutely need to go in St. Louis Park?
Bauer Neudecker: The number one place is Bunny's Bar and Grill. I go there two to three times a week, and after games all the hockey guys go there. It's a nice environment and they have a lot of specials to get some cheap food.
Game On! Minnesota: Has St. Louis Park hockey changed since you've been growing up?
Bauer Neudecker: I've been playing hockey in St. Louis Park since Mites, and I do think it's changed a bit. It seems like there are more people at our games and more people playing hockey overall, and I expect it to only increase more.
Game On! Minnesota: So, you're playing in the Metro West. What good chirps have you heard lately?
Bauer Neudecker: We still get a lot of teams chirping us as "Single A," even though we moved up with the bigs in AA. One kid on our team, Luke Mobley, was pretty surprised this year to get called a "pigeon." I have no clue what that means. And I personally get a lot of "short stack" or "What are you doing here?" when I go by the net because of my size. I just laugh.
Game On! Minnesota: How tall are you?
Bauer Neudecker: Five-foot eight.
Game On! Minnesota: Even though you're a smaller sized kid, you're known for paying a very physical brand of hockey. A buddy of mine went to one of your games recently, and he said to me afterwards, "This kid likes to hit. He must think he's six-foot four!"
Bauer Neudecker: That’s another aspect of the game with the physical play that I've worked to get better at. I do my best to do what's good for the team.
Game On! Minnesota: Does your team have a motto for the season?
Bauer Neudecker: Our biggest thing is in our locker room in our stalls where our name plates should be, it just says BIG TEAM, LITTLE ME.
Game On! Minnesota: That has to be pretty relevant to you specifically.
Bauer Neudecker: Yeah, yeah.
Game On! Minnesota: I'm just kidding.
Game On! Minnesota: How is the flow on St. Louis Park? Any All-Hockey Hair candidates?
Bauer Neudecker: One sticks in my head; my younger brother Blake has been growing his hair for two years. I wouldn't say it's nice, but it's something people would want to see.
Game On! Minnesota: What do you think your odds are to make it to State?
Bauer Neudecker: While the odds are not in our favor, I could see it this year. If we play for the boys we could give it a good run.
Game On! Minnesota: What tunes is St. Louis Park listening to in the locker room?
Bauer Neudecker: We have two big songs. "Dream On" and "The Jungle." Otherwise it's country and hip-hop.
Game On! Minnesota: So, talk to me about these memes you submitted. What's happening in this first one that says "WHERE’S THE FLOW?" Is that you when you were younger?
Bauer Neudecker: Yes, that's my first year of hockey. A week before, my brothers, dad, and I all went in to get our hair buzzed. That's the last time I had short hair. I've been growing it out ever since.
Game On! Minnesota: How'd you do that season with the buzz cut—did your lack of flow impact your game?
Bauer Neudecker: Yeah, I think I struggled a little bit. I wasn't able to do as much without the hair.
Game On! Minnesota: What about this image that reads "DOES IT GET ANY BETTER?” What's happening here?
Bauer Neudecker: It's the first year of the new outdoor rink in St. Louis Park. It's a beautiful thing for the association to help develop hockey more.
Game On! Minnesota: What about this locker room image that reads "2ND HOME.”
Bauer Neudecker: We are very lucky to have such a nice locker room in St. Louis Park. Both JV and Varsity share a locker room. We have a TV and a ping-pong table, so the team hangs out together a lot in there. We even record our ping-pong records on the white board.
Game On! Minnesota: "ONE LAST RUN" must be about your senior season?
Bauer Neudecker: Yes, for me this is it. One last chance to put on the SLP and play with the guys I've known since the day I was born. We are going to give it our all to try and make it to State.
Game On! Minnesota: “NEUDECKER BOYS!” This last one must be a family photo with the scissor emoji?
Bauer Neudecker: Yes, that's Blake on the right, he's #25 on the high school team with the long hair; and my youngest brother Braden, who is eight years old, and a Mite 3. My mom has been telling my youngest brother to cut his hair for a year and a half. He says he never will.
Game On! Minnesota: Is the little one a good player?
Bauer Neudecker: He is, but he's been watching too much high school hockey, so he's started hitting kids. We need to teach him not to do that.
Game On! Minnesota: So, I guess we'd say you're a “diminutive” hockey player at five-foot eight inches—do you look up to the smaller players in the NHL?
Bauer Neudecker: I do. Johnny Gaudreau is my favorite NHL player; I've been a fan of his since he was at Boston College and now in the NHL. He's a smaller guy that’s fast with great skills. That's what I try to be.
Game On! Minnesota: Well, you're doing a pretty good job with that. Thanks for talking with us, Bauer, and good luck the rest of the way. We'll do our part to get Arizona State to notice you. They should totally sign you.
Bauer Neudecker: Thanks.