What was it like last year getting your feet wet here in the AHL?
Photo by Jason Villanueva.
It was definitely a great experience after my junior team got eliminated in the playoffs. It was pretty nice to come out here and get a feel for the professional game. A lot of the guys are still here on the team and just to even get in that game, I think has really helped me a lot here and feeling a lot more comfortable on the ice. You seem to be good at finding the net in the game a lot, especially with the 46 goals you had last year. What do you attribute that to?
I think it’s just trying to shoot the puck and finding the open ice. Any time I get the puck and I get the chance to drive to the net that’s what I try to do. all the coaches say that good things happen when you try to put the puck to the net, and that’s what I try to do. Luckily I got 46 last year, and that’s what I try to do when I get the puck. Can you tell me about growing up and your family life?
Yeah, I have my mom Elly and my dad Michael and my older sister Melissa, she is 23. We actually moved around a lot with my dad’s work. We got transferred a lot and moved all across Canada and I got to meet a lot of people and visited a lot of cities. Growing up I played a lot of hockey and getting in to a lot of sports and getting involved in school, and trying to keep really busy and I think that’s helped me to get to this level. Can you tell me about your first years in hockey?
Waking up for the five and six in the morning practices was tough. I remember my dad waking me up and getting me out of bed. It was just a lot of fun, going to the games and going on the hockey tournaments on the road, spending the nights in the hotels, and playing in different towns and even other countries. It was definitely a lot of fun and those are definitely memories I look back on. What age did you start playing?
I started playing competitively around age five or six. What was your time like in junior?
Junior hockey was definitely a very special time. When you are 16, for myself, it was kind of like the biggest league to get in to and I was really excited to be part of that. I played four awesome years in Barrie. It was just a great city and I still have a lot of great friends that I still get in touch with. Those junior years were a lot of fun because you are still growing up a lot and you are starting to get the little responsibilities but you’re still just a kid. How do you find the AHL different from the junior?
There are a few differences. The first one is you’re playing against men now. In juniors I was one of the older guys last year, and now I’m one of the younger guys. Now, seeing the older guys, their strength is a big difference compared to the juniors. Also, the speed is obviously a little big faster and the smartness of the game. There are just so many good hockey players on the ice and you’ve just got to get that much smarter and I think that makes the game enjoyable. Has anyone played any pranks on you yet?
I think so far, I have kind of been lucky. The pranks are pretty low key, and the guys don’t really admit it if they did a prank so they wouldn’t get it back on to them so it’s starting to come around, and I’m expecting it. Have you done any yet?
Oh, that’s classified. Something about you few people know is:
I love to golf. In the summer I try to go golfing quite a bit. Hopefully we’ll go really far in the playoffs but, you know in the off-season going golfing a lot and enjoying the outdoors is a lot of fun. Most embarrassing moment on the ice:
I remember back in junior there was a sold out crowd, I was going out after being introduced and just having a big spill on the ice and the spotlight is on you during that. That was pretty embarrassing and went pretty bad. What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Just to work hard for your goals. Sometimes when things are going well you just have to stay focused on what you want to do, and the only way to get there is to put all the effort in to it, and that I what I try to emulate myself. I think that is really good advice for kids. Just really work hard toward goals and the best will happen. Who do you room with?
I room with Danny Irmen and Big John Scott. Talk about pranks. There are a lot of pranks in that house. I gotta’ be careful what I say here. We’ve only been together about two or three weeks now it’s just starting to get started so am assuming there are a lot more coming. Who’s the cook?
We’ve been eating out quite a bit. Irmen’s got a lot of experience, so does Johnny, but I’m the big rookie on cooking. I’ve made a few meals, and I must say they tasted pretty good. I think we’ve got to work on that instead of eating out all the time. What do you like to do in Houston?
They keep us pretty busy, but I hear the golf courses are pretty nice. A lot of guys try to go out there. Hanging out with the guys, going to the mall and seeing what the city has to offer. We’ve been down to Galveston, the Gulf of Mexico, which was pretty nice. They keep us pretty busy as a hockey player. If you could change one thing about yourself what would you change?
In regards to hockey, I think I want to get better in pretty much every aspect. One thing would be speed and acceleration. No one is even close to perfect, especially myself, so I would like to improve in pretty much everything. Who on the Aeros do you think you could learn the most from?
Guys like Murphy and Ratchuk and a lot of the veteran guys, Reitzee. I can go on a name a lot. Just try and pick up those little things. See how they prepare for games and even practices and see how the work out and their commitment and that’s a big thing, having great leaders like that on our team, so I’m trying to soak it up. I hope it’s improved my game and hope it’s helped the Aeros. If you could pick a song to be played each time you scored a goal, what song would it be?
Oh geez, you got me on the spot here. I’m kind of liking Nickleback right now so that might be pretty good. What would you be doing if you were not playing hockey?
I think I would definitely be in school. I’d probably be going to a University in Canada and try and get a degree. That is what a lot of my friends are doing. Education is really important, but I’m really enjoying myself playing professional hockey right now. Wouldn’t trade anything for that. Who was the last person you called on your cell phone?
Actually my dad gave me a quick shout out before the game so it would have to be my dad or guys bumming for rides. That’s another thing too. What did you eat for dinner last night?
I actually had ribs and chicken and it was pretty good. Obviously it was really good, so I didn’t cook it. What TV show has you hooked?
I’m a big Seinfeld fan. Actually some of those TV series like 24 and Prison Break, those are pretty cool, but I’m a huge Seinfeld fan. Who is your favorite superhero?
I think I am more of a Batman guy than Superman. I had all the toys for Batman so I would have to say Batman. What is your worst habit?
Wow. I think you should ask someone else, because I am assuming there are so many. What are you least skilled at?
I would definitely like to be a lot faster. That is probably one of the bigger things. My biggest goal in life is to…
Life wise, I think just to be happy and enjoy yourself. I would really like to go really far in hockey and take it to the best of my abilities. One day, to be happy and have a family and all that stuff. You’ll never catch me…
Oh geez, eating cucumbers. I hate cucumbers. Funniest guy on the team is…
You have to read Alex Leavitt’s blog. It’s pretty hilarious. It’s so funny, I laugh out loud, even when I am by myself. He’s pretty funny. What do you miss about home?
= Friends and family. One thing I have learned since I have moved around quite a bit is to make the best of your situations. We’ve become a really close group here as a team and we’re becoming a family and that’s one thing that happens with a lot of hockey teams and I think this is a special group. This is an awesome time right now and I’m really enjoying myself with this great group of guys. Does your family come to visit you?
They’re up in Canada right now, but when we play Grand Rapids, and Hamilton and Toronto, they come, but they like to watch the games in the internet. The most memorable hockey moment you’ve had is…
I’d actually have to say playing my first pro game last year.