Status: Los Angeles Kings left wing.
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 235 pounds
DOB: June 7, 1988 In: Vancouver, B.C.
First Hockey Memory: “I remember me and my older brother (Jovan) were a year apart – just going to the rink in East Vancouver there. Playing with, I guess, at the time it was all of our family, friends. We all played in the same organization so – and I think I started at like 3 1/2 – 4 years old, I was pretty young. And I actually scored in my very very first game. And I still have that puck. And I think that’s definitely my first memory of playing hockey.”
Hockey Inspirations: “I had an uncle who played in the NHL – Dan Kesa – he played here (Tampa Bay) actually for a season (1999-2000). He played 140 games. Obviously as a kid, having someone in the family that was playing hockey as a living – someone I definitely looked up to. And I wanted to do the same thing. Just seeing him every summer and having him leave for the hockey seasons…is someone I looked up to and wanted to be like and have the same lifestyle. Fortunately enough for me I got to live that dream as well.”
First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “Yes, my uncle actually – when he was playing with the Canucks – he started that season in ’93 – brought us to the dressing room and I remember – every Vancouver kid loved Pavel Bure – we got to meet him and Gino Odjick and that whole crew. So that was the first big-time hockey player that we got to meet.”
Greatest Sports Moment(s): “Stanley Cup 2011. I mean it’s the ultimate prize you dream of winning as a kid. And I got to do that with an Original Six team. In my hometown. So that’s definitely the best hockey moment.”
Most Painful Moment: “[Smiles] I would say losing it two years after in 2013. We had a two goal lead in game six with a minute and a half to go – and they scored two goals in 17 seconds and it’s all over. So that was pretty painful and hard to get over. Still, some days… still feel the pain.”
Favorite Uniforms: “I really like ours [smiles]. Even before I got here I really loved ours. But I would say – especially as a King – we don’t like saying this [smiles] – but I would say the Blackhawks. The white ones are definitely, to me, the nicest uniform in the league.”
Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “Ever since I could remember it was the thing that I loved doing the most. As a kid – obviously I grew up playing every sport – basketball, baseball, lacrosse, rugby, you name it – and hockey, for some reason, was just something that I loved more than anything. It’s just competition, the physicality of it, just all of it. It’s a lot of fun and I really enjoy it.”
Most Memorable Goal: “I have to say the one (in) game seven against Toronto – to make it 4-3. We were down 4-1 with ten minutes left and were able to score three goals. And I think I scored with like 1:20 left or whatever it was. We ended up tying it and then winning in overtime. So I’d say that one was the biggest and most memorable goal that I scored.”
People Qualities Most Admired: “Honesty. I think it speaks for itself. It’s definitely a big quality I look for in people. I look at the people that I have around me and honesty is a big thing to have between me and my friends and my family.”
Mark (Scoop) Malinowski’s latest books “Facing Nadal” and “Muhammad Ali: Portait of a Champion” are available at amazon.