Do you remember how you started playing hockey?
I was born in Chicago and then shortly after moved to the Springfield area and I started playing hockey when I was three or four on rollerblades. My babysitter taught me how to rollerblade then I went to the rink and started playing when I was five or six for the local team. When I started to get a little better we used to drive an hour and a half each way to St. Louis and I played for the Affton Junior Americans and then the Blues. After a year we moved to Boston and then I played with the Junior Eagles for the rest of my youth career.
You and Sam Colangelo have known each other for a while, how did you meet him?
I played in Boston over the summer with the Junior Bruins and that’s how I met Sam so I’ve known him since I was seven or eight playing in those tournaments. When we moved to Boston they were one of the only families we knew for the first couple of months. I pretty much lived with them while my mom was searching for a permanent place for us to live. I hung out with him for a summer and pretty much lived at their house.
Was he the only teammate from this season that you knew before the year started?
I knew Sean Farrell from the same area, working out with him in the summer and he played on the Junior Bruins a couple times with me. Gunnarwolfe Fontaine and I played four years ago on the same team to get ready for the prep season and I played in the Brick Tournament when I was 10 years old on team California with Brendan Brisson. I knew Jack Babbage too and he was my roommate, we played together in Boston.
You had one of the highlight-reel goals across the entire league this season against Cedar Rapids, what do you remember from that play?
It was in that time when we had five guys playing at the World Junior A Challenge so guys were in different spots. That game was really close, it was 2-2 and I felt like I was playing pretty well and getting to play more than I usually did. I was on the power play and I remember John Jaworski passed to me both times but he gave me a similar pass right before and I missed the net. I could feel that I could take the defender to the net and protect the puck around him. The same play happened and I protected it and shot it knowing that the goalie wouldn’t be expecting it up in that corner and it went in. It was just a great feeling to take the lead with a couple minutes left on that kind of goal.
How was it getting acclimated with the guys you were meeting for the first time this season?
Everyone just introduced themselves and nobody was really a bad guy so it was pretty easy to get along with everyone, the transition wasn’t hard at all. The leaders on the team led by example and showed the expectations that the Steel had and you followed suit. By the time we got into the swing of things, everyone was really close.
A couple of your teammates named you as the best locker room DJ. When did you take over that title?
I definitely wasn’t at the start of the year but towards what ended up being the last part of the season, they kept asking me to play music. Before the game I would go pretty hardcore rap to get the boys bumpin’ but then sometimes you don’t always want to listen to that so you throw on something softer. We listen to a lot of country during the week and some catchier tunes that aren’t as intense with the beats. I try not to play the same song because if you play the same stuff it gets a little repetitive and you’re like ‘oh, we’ve heard this so many times.’ I try to mix it up before games but you also have those go-to’s that you kind of have to play before a game.
You’re also known around the team as a pretty solid basketball player. How many other sports did you play growing up?
I’ve never played organized basketball, that just comes from hanging out with my friends in the summer and playing. We’ll play pickup sports like that, that’s always what we did. The only organized sport I’ve played outside of hockey was football. When I was playing football and hockey from second grade to fifth grade, I definitely liked hockey more but I knew at one point I would have to decide between the two.
What position did you play in football?
When I played I was a running back but I could see myself at quarterback. I’m not tall enough but if not that, running back. If I played defense I would probably play cornerback, I would have to prove the saying wrong that a corner is just a wide receiver with no hands.