With the upcoming added responsibilities in mind, Hildenbrand used this past offseason as a chance to improve in more ways than one.
“I focused a lot on the little things in my game, not necessarily the big things that get all of the hype,” Hildenbrand said. “It's the little things, footwork, it's getting quicker in different areas so it went really well for me and I'm really happy with where I'm at right now.”
Hildenbrand’s training went so well that he shed 10 pounds from his frame.
“I think it was [getting] quicker, speed,” said Hildenbrand on the motivation to trim down. “I didn't necessarily put a huge premium on it but it was kinda just the way my diet worked, the way I ate, the way I trained and it kinda just all fell into place.”
The Vacaville, California product is a big proponent of maintaining a healthy diet and credits that as the main reason for his transformation over the summer. Minutemen coach Greg Carvel even described Hildenbrand as “a streamlined version of last year.”
A mainstay on UMass’ third line last year, Hildenbrand chipped in 17 points in 36 games played. He doubled his goals-scored total from four to eight between his freshman and sophomore seasons and is looking to continue the upward offensive trajectory his third time around.
“I think that's a big part of my game that I want to step up this year,” Hildenbrand said. “I think I made a step from my freshman to sophomore year and now I'm looking to make an even bigger jump. That was something that I worked on this offseason, making sure those little skills are where I want them to be, so I can go on the ice and be that scoring guy and help the team in that way as well."