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Interview with Vince Gotanda (Class of 2001)

The many faces of Vince...

As a four year member of UCSB's A team from 1997-2001, Vince Gotanda brought heavy doses of physical play and dependable defense, as well as a legendary ability to do anything at anytime. Known far and wide as a great guy to have on your team and the last guy you want to play against, he was also affectionately known as "Momma Vince" during his last year as a Gaucho, having taken over the position of team president as a senior. Vince was also a classic case of a bi-polar hockey player - there's never been a friendlier guy off the rink, but when his skates hit the floor it was lights out time so long as you were wearing a different colored jersey. There have been many fresh faced rookies who regret wearing a different colored jersey to practice while Vince was playing.

We here at UCSB Hockey were delighted that Vince agreed to this interview, but upon receiving it we realized that "Diesel" was a man of few words. So, in an effort to paint a better picture of the man various alumni and current players wrote in with stories, recollections and anecdotes about him. You can read these at the bottom of the interview....

Name: Vince Naoki Gotanda

Years Played: 1997-2001

Position: Defense

Year of Graduation: 2001

Degree: Business Econ. w/ an Accounting Emphasis

Current Location: Los Angeles

Current Occupation: Fund Accountant

What are/were some of your nicknames while you played here? There were a couple. VD, Diesel, V Go, Goatassa, Goat, and Lance. Actually that last one was given to me by Dave Glass. It was our first season playing together, but we were at practice, and about half way through the season. In a scrimmage, while calling for a pass, he calls me Lance. Don’t really know where that came from, but we all got a good laugh.

In terms of what you’re doing now, is that what you were expecting to do a year before you graduated? Not really. As an accounting major I was expecting to work for a Big 5 accounting firm, doing audits and eventually taking the CPA exam. While my position now is still in business, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

How useful was your college experience in terms of what you’re doing now/aspiring to do? I would say very useful. We worked hard to become as good a team as we were and that spilled over into other aspects of my life. I don’t ever want to fail at something because I didn’t put in the time. I always want to know that I gave it my best effort.

What do you miss most about UCSB/Isla Vista? Good times with good friends. I met many good friends living in IV, people I would do anything for. And I do mean anything.

(Editor's note: he really does mean anything.)

What was your single favorite house/apartment/slum that you lived at while here, and why? The Hockey House [6827 Del Playa]. Without a doubt. We had 10 guys living in the same house, right on the cliff. With that many people living in the house there was never a problem finding something to do. Plus, many of the people that lived in that house were my best friends, which made that experience that much more enjoyable.

If we went back in time and raided your UCSB/Isla Vista/Goleta/Downtown SB fridge and cupboards, what would we find? You would find very little food, and lots of beer in the fridge. I basically lived off of canned foods. Canned food never rots.

Were you the guy who bought the toilet paper, stole it from campus, stole it from a roomie or just used the Nexus? I never really had to worry about it. I did most of my shitting at school.

Describe one of your IV Halloween costumes from yesteryear: I think the most memorable costume was in my senior year, when me and my roommate, B.S., were Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World. I was Wayne and B.S. was Garth.

Do you keep in contact with any UCSB Hockey alumni, and if so, whom? Andrew Sperry & Cahill, Brendan Sheehey, Dave Wagner, Sean Raser, Greg Franks, Mike Saksen, and Jon Tu (although he’s not really alumni yet). I also occasionally hear from Bryce Weitzel, Brian Seymour, Milan Poidl, and Tristan Emrich.

Are there any good or incriminating stories about some of those alumni you could share with us that wouldn’t also solicit shocked emails from parents? Yes. They usually involved plenty of alcohol and stupidity. Also, if you ever run into Brendan Sheehey ask him about the “96”. I think he’s still traumatized.

Are you still playing hockey? I haven’t played in about a year, but am thinking about joining league. We’ll see.

How would you have characterized your playing style as a Gaucho? I think I would consider myself the kind of player you love to play with, but hate to play against. For me, it was basically about winning. I just wanted to do whatever I could to help our team win. But most people who played with me would probably consider me a little temperamental on the rink.

Favorite memory of playing hockey at UCSB: There were so many. I really enjoyed when we could just all hang out together. I think one thing that I will never forget is late night McDonald’s runs after practice when Satan would serve us about 60 hamburgers. It would be freezing cold outside, at 1 in the morning, and there would be about 10-15 of us hanging around eating. Good times.

Least favorite: Definitely losing to Michigan St. in the final minutes [in 1999], when we basically had the game won. Just the feeling of utter disappointment and shock. A horrible, horrible feeling. That was definitely a loss that I will never forget.

What, if anything, did you take away from your experience with the team? I learned the true meaning of hard work. While we would also have a good time, we put in a lot of sweat and tears. Playing on the team required that I sacrificed some aspects of my college experience, but I wouldn’t change a thing if I had it to do over.

How have things seemed to change since you played here? Anything the same? Well, not to be a hardass, but not making it to Nationals. But last year’s team did something that UCSB hadn’t done in a long while, and that was to beat Cal Poly. So, I’ll give you guys credit where credit is due.

What are your thoughts on the RecCen II (the site of the new hockey rink)? About %$#^@# time! I’m glad, but also a little jealous, that it finally got built. And I’ll definitely be there for the grand opening.

Here’s where you dispense some advise to the current team: Enjoy your time at UCSB and on the team. It’s not an easy sacrifice, but be sure to put in the time and effort into hockey. It was very rewarding for me and an experience that I will always cherish. Oh, and beat SLO.

What do you, as a venerable UCSB Hockey alumnus, demand that we have here on the site? The website looks pretty damn good. I’m not sure any of my suggestions would add value to it.

Last parting shout out, gratuitous plug or comment: I almost forgot……another funny incident………ask Cahill about being molested by Dave Salyer or about the time when Salyer, literally, knocked the shit out of him.

And now some words about Vince Gotanda, some of it PG-13, some of it R, and some of it just pure D for Diesel...

"There's no way to keep a Gotanda story clean: everything about him was just dirty, even the way he played (just kidding Vince). They should all begin with some racist comment towards BS, followed by some manly love with [Andrew] Cahill, then comes the puking, after that maybe some wrestling."
- Jake Drucker (Class of 2001)

"Hmmm....where to begin with Vince?

How about the time that [Brian] Seymour, Vince and myself partied at Cahill and [Andrew] Sperry's place on Sabado. Now, this took place on an almost daily basis, but on this particular night the three of us rode our bikes home from the 6500 block all the way to the 6800. Vince had a little case of the 'wobbles', which Seymour and I found very entertaining. As we approached the 6600 block, one of Vince's 'wobbles' took him a bit too far to his right and towards the parked cars. We thought he was a goner for sure, but he somehow managed to pull out of it without crashing. Unfortunatley, the rear-view mirror of the car that he ran into and smashed off without even flinching was not as lucky. All of this right before we passed a group of cops in the intersection that Vince somehow didn't attract towards us.

Or how about the time Vince passed out on that couch on the porch during the party at Dubich and Seymour's place? I'll let someone else handle that one. The stories with Vince are endless...I stayed with him just over a week ago, and even have a story from that night. But that's another email..."
- Sean Raser (Class of 2002)

"We'll have to go with somewhat rated R......

Basically, Vince Gotanda personifies the intensity of UCSB Hockey. Whether it was Nationals or intramurals, Vince is one of the toughest competitors you will ever come across. Some may call it dirty, I just think it was intense. I remember a drunken intramural playoff game in which we played a group of our Gaucho teammates. Vince and Sean Raser got tangled up with each other going for the puck and a little bit of a skirmish ensued. Here were two of the best friends off the rink going at each other as Vince bloodied Raser in the end. I was thankful to always be on Vince's team."
- KC Douglas (Class of 2001)

"Yeah I got a story...

It doesnt involve drinking, Bill's Bus, Isla Vista, or even UCSB Roller Hockey, but I think it epitomizes Vince Gotanda's passion for the sport, unconditional support of his teammates and love for his family . It actually took place post-UCSB at a little place called Side-by-Side in Huntington Beach. Vince, Evan (one of Vince's brothers), and myself played on a pseudo-roller hockey team down there. Champs one year, lost in the finals (in overtime) the next. But, that is beside the point. This is a story about Vince sticking up for his teammates, more specifically, his brother. Now, Evan was our goalie, a fine goalie at that, and he is a lot smaller than V-Go. One game, a guy takes a whack at Evan after he makes a save, so Vince talks a little smack and we face off and the game goes on. About 3 minutes go by and this guy and Vince are on the rink together again. This guy carries the puck out of his zone and makes a little pass to a teammate, but before he knew it Vince was right there. LIke a brick f*cking wall Vince stands this guy up like nothing I have ever seen. Now, I have played hockey (ice and roller) for a long time. I have hit and been hit. But this, this was complete and total annihalation! I ain't talk'n 'bout no blindside cheap shot, I am talking big time, NHL HIT! I mean, you could hear the hit at the bench! It was beautiful! Needless to say he gets a 5 minute major, they score a couple goals and we are down two! Vince's penalty expires and he comes out of the box, picks up the puck, skates through their whole team, and roofs a wrister for a goal. Next time down he scores on a 100 mile an hour slap shot: tie game. He would go on to win the game late in the 3rd in similar fashion. That is Vince Gotanda hockey."
- Tristan "Tbone" Emrich (Class of 2000)

"We'll have to go back to good ol' Temple City high school for this one. Vince was a senior on the varsity hockey team, and I was an 8th grader about to tryout for the team in a few months. It was one of the last games of the year and we were playing Arcadia, our natural rivals. One of our better players (I think his name was Jay Johnson) had just transferred over to Arcadia because they supposedly had a better team. This of course did not sit well with the TC gang, so that game was particularly chippy. Somewhere in the first period, Jay Johnson takes a complete cheap shot on our smallest guy and gets away with it without a penalty. From my position on the bench I can hear Vince, who was not out on the rink at the time, say something to the effect of "Third period, boys... third period." The first ends, and the second comes around, and more "Third period guys, third period..." from Vince. Finally, the third period arrives and Jay Johnson is out on the rink. Arcadia had just dumped the puck into our zone, and Jay is looping around his own net back towards the puck, all alone as everyone else was already in our zone. Without even calling anyone off, Vince jumps off the bench, makes a beeline straight for Jay (and at this point Jay was about five feet from the boards and could see Vince coming), crushes him in a clean hit so hard he lifts Jay off the ground, sends him flying into the boards, then hits him one more time on the follow through as Jay bounces back into him. The guy's helmet was probably on the other rink by the time everyone realized what had happened, and then there was dead silence for about ten seconds. Then someone on one of our benches said, "Holy shit...." and everyone just whooped, screamed, clapped, booed and talked. Vince? He knew he was out, so he skated off the rink and started taking his gear off. When he was playing, sometimes you didn't care what the score was (I still don't know if we won that one)."
- Jonathan Tu, Senior Defenseman

"Vince was one of my best friends and line-mates throughout my time at UCSB. There's so much material about Vince that it's hard to keep it short, but I'll lay out my favorites.
- His nickname was "VD", which was a wonderful thing to call him in a room full of people (especially girls)

- Bryce Weitzel gave him one of my favorite nicknames, which was Vinnie-ding-ding (imagine saying it with a lot of gusto, like you might hear at a WWF event while announcing the next victim for some mainstream goon)

- He had a habit of taking down Bacardi 151 when no one else wanted a piece

- He was always up for anything. It was more a matter of if you felt bad getting him into something that he should probably say no to. Even so, we always asked...and he always said yes

- His explosive and contagious laugh. People always felt good around him, because he'd laugh at anything...especially the stuff you don't want the kiddies to hear

- A bunch of us used to go bowling on "Dollar Tuesdays" at the Orchid Bowl and we would take a huge 3 foot bike rodeo trophy that my brother won in the third grade as the prize for the winner of the evening. We would put the trophy up on the ball rack behind our lane and it would sometimes generate small crowds. We would always play 3 games. That was standard. One night I was playing poorly and demanded that we played a 4th game. VD was in the lead and wanted the win, but agreed to the OT match-up. Everyone bowled a fourth and I had one of the best games of my life, claimed victory for the night and marched proudly out carrying the bike rodeo trophy high for all to see. It was obvious that he was bummed, but he didn't get too pissed...right away. We were driving back to the hockey house when for no apparent reason, VD opened the side door of the "Hockey Animal" (a full size lifted chevy van with a roof rack, fog lights and a bunch of surf / hockey stickers that I used to drive) and yelled at two girls walking down the side of the street. To this day, I can't remember exactly what he said, but he yelled at the top of his lungs something to the tune of "Hey B*&#ches, you want some of this!!!?". Everyone in the car went silent and stared and then simultaneously burst into laughter that lasted all the way home. It's no secret that VD keeps things bottled up a bit, it's just that his way of releasing pressure can come in unexpected and unconventional ways.
Regardless of what dirt you'll dig up, he was one of the hardest working (never missed a practice or workout), smartest (literally got me through our Calculus classes...barely) and genuine (I always felt that I could trust him with my life...still do) people that I've ever met and he was and is a great friend."
-Dave Wagner (Class of 2000)

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