The rising-star Washington Capitals defenseman chats about his love of the game and his adopted hometown.
Born in Massachusetts and raised in New Jersey, Carlson’s been “rocking the red” with D.C.’s NHL team (page 34) since 2009. Only 25, this hard-working player known for putting in extra on-ice practice time is already a top defenseman. In 2014, he competed at the Sochi Olympics, scoring Team USA’s first goal. He’s also a dedicated family man who enjoys exploring his adopted city with his wife and looks forward to sharing the sites with his son, now 7 months old.— BS
Did you always want to be a pro hockey player?
Yes, since I started playing when I was around 3 or 4 years old. My dad played in college and introduced me to the game. He taught me all the basics.
What are your “goals” for this season?
To win the Stanley Cup with the Capitals. That’s my main goal every season. We all work hard throughout the entire year to hoist the cup at the end. I’ve dreamed about it since childhood.
Who inspires you?
My wife and son, in everything I do. Your whole world changes for the better when you get married, and again when you have a child. They are my foundation, and the love and support they provide is so important to me.
What’s been your proudest moment on the ice?
My first NHL game, because I’d worked so hard throughout my life to reach that point. I’ll never forget the feeling.
Do you have any pregame rituals?
We have a morning skate at Kettler [Capitals Iceplex, the team’s training facility]. As a pre-game meal, I usually stick to chicken and pasta or tuna and rice. Sometimes I take a nap or play with my son before heading to Verizon Center.
Some players leave D.C. in the off season, but you stick around. Why?
Because I love the city. Everyone here has been very friendly, and it’s nice to be surrounded by so much history. It’s a great place for my son to grow up in, because it offers so many learning opportunities and unique experiences. He’s just a baby now, but I can’t wait to take him places like the National Zoo and American History Museum when he’s older.
When you travel, what are your must-take items?
For the plane, my iPad and a book. Lately, I’ve been watching “Peaky Blinders,” and I’m big on reading biographies. Nearly anything nonfiction interests me.
If you could wake up anywhere in the world, where would that be?
On the beach. I love relaxing by the water, and my favorite destination is the Caribbean.