As Jake Freise skates through his fourth, and last, winter of junior hockey in Owatonna, he's enjoying his time as a veteran with the Steele County Blades. He didn't necessarily think he would be here that long when he arrived three years ago. "I never would have imagined that I'd be here for four years. I'm not upset about it at all. There's a reason I'm here. There's a reason I came back. I enjoy being here. It's fun. I love the guys. I love the team."

Freise (Evanston, IL) now wears a 'C' on his sweater as the captain, having grown into a leader on and off the ice, "In terms of maturity and confidence, I've grown exponentially. When I was a rookie I was a hot-head, got into alot of nonsense...Being a captain the last couple of years has taught me that you need to know when is a good time for that kind of energy."

Hear a full interview with Freise by clicking his name below.

Steele County Blades Player Jake Freise

"I haven't been on a team that's been as tight as this one has. Everybody has a lot of fun together." He also believes in the squad's potential, "I'm really, really confident with the lineup we have. When we have a full lineup, when nobody's injured, nobody's sick...we can compete with anybody in the league."

Freise had a United States Premier Hockey League-Player of the Week performance against Wisconsin Rapids, one of the top teams in the division, October 13 when he netted a hat trick and provided a pair of assists in a 6-3 win. He also was recognized as an H & R Block Stat Sheet Stuffer for that big game.

H & R Block Faribault, Lakeville, Owatonna. Upfront Transparent Pricing: The Way Tax Preparation Should Be.

The Blades host the Minnesota Blue Ox on Sunday, December 8 at 7 pm at the Four Seasons Centre. Friese enjoys playing in Owatonna, "I love being able to look up and recognize people. I love when people come to watch me play. It just gives me that extra boost."

Steele County also has a home game Sunday, December 15 against Hudson and several home games in January and February. See their full schedule here.