WITH BLUE JACKETS RIGHT WINGER JOSH ANDERSON
Who was your favorite NHL player growing up?
Rick Nash, when he was with the Columbus Blue Jackets. I always watched him, because he was a big guy and I modeled my game off of him.
Why do you wear No. 34?
It was given to me, so I had no choice. But if I had to pick I’d probably be No. 77. Growing up I wore that number. As a kid I liked No. 17, but No. 17 was always taken, so I went with No. 77.
Your ‘welcome to the NHL’ moment?
A fight in an exhibition game against (6foot-7, 255-pound) Jamie Oleksiak. And just seeing how strong and fast the guys really are in a professional league.
Best thing about being in the NHL?
Probably the guys you meet every day. Coming to the rink every day, playing the game you love and meeting new people.
Toughest thing about being in the NHL?
Sometimes it’s pretty stressful. You always have kids coming up looking for a job, so every time you go to training camp, you know you have to compete because there is somebody else fighting for your job.
What advice would you give your 13-year-old self now?
Keep working hard. Give everything you’ve got. If you like the game and you really truly care, then keep working. Even if you don’t get drafted, it’s not over. I didn’t get drafted into the OHL. I kept working and had a good year. There’s always somebody watching you, no matter where you are.