With Kevin Kennedy
When I was a kid, I used to walk around my house with my skates on all the time. We had a rink in our yard and by the time I was three years old I was out there with my dad.
He coached my brother and I most of the way through minor hockey and was all about talking hockey with us. We definitely had the car talks and I remember sitting around the kitchen table and I’d be doing my math homework and hockey would come up and he’d be telling me about this and that. But he wouldn’t force it on me, it was always me asking him questions because I trusted him and whatever he told me I’d apply and it seemed to work.
I’ve always looked up to my father and if I didn’t make it in hockey, I would’ve followed in his footsteps for sure. He’s a firefighter and if I wasn’t a hockey player I’d probably be doing that. I always thought it was pretty cool.
The first time I played organized hockey was for the Saskatoon Red Wings and I remember how excited I was in the days before a game. When I was a kid I was so happy to go to the rink and just get some ice time and if I had a game I’d mark it on my calendar and look forward to it all week. When I was a teenager, I didn’t have time for a part-time job because in midget we’d practice three times a week and we’d also have games. When I was in high school before I went to the Kelowna Rockets I took seven classes per semester to get ahead for when I went to the WHL.
When I first started playing I wore the No. 2 and I pretty much had that number my whole life until I went to play for the Kelowna Rockets. Shea Weber was wearing it, so I took No. 5. I had some great teammates on that Kelowna team such as Weber, Blake Comeau and Alexander Edler. I was definitely surrounded with talent, but I tried to craft my game around guys like Rob Blake and Chris Pronger. They’re big, strong, physical guys and they play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.