What do you recommend a 14 year old should do for summer training?
– Nick Groenewegen, Woodstock, Ont.
“Nowadays kids who are 14 are probably my size, so I don’t know if I should give them any tips (laughs). I just played summer hockey, I started getting serious about training when I was 16 and going into junior. Make sure you have fun as a teenager, because you can’t get those years back.”
What was it like being a Canadian kid going down to the States to play junior hockey?
– Brad Craven, Moorefield, Ont.
“It was pretty good, not too different. The one thing is hockey isn’t No. 1. You realize how big high school football or baseball is.”
How many sacrifices did you have to make to fulfil your NHL dream? Did you give up a lot of time with friends and family?
– Brendon Bonnor, Greensville, Ont.
“I’d say yes, especially early in junior, leaving at 16. For me, it was three hours away from home. You move in with a different family, miss your friends, parties, high school…but I wouldn’t change anything.”
What do your friends think of you being an NHL star?
– Brendan Keller, Halifax, N.S.
“The one good thing about my buddies is I’ve known them since high school or before, so in the summertime it’s just us hanging out.”
How do you get into scoring position when you are up against a bigger player?
– Matthew Zaik, Spruce Grove, Alta.
“I find you have to out-think other guys. Systems play a huge part, especially when you’re older, and repetitiveness is huge in hockey, so you have to think where they’re not going to be. There are ‘quiet areas’ you have to find on the ice.”
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