On getting his start in hockey: Well, it all started when I was two years old and my dad just kind of gave me the skates and loved it ever since. He was a huge Bobby Orr fan, so he got me started, that was my hero growing up and just loved the game ever since.
On his first time on the ice: I was two years old. My dad took me to a hockey rink and I didn't really want to get off the ice. So there was an hour ice time of public skating and I begged the Zamboni driver to let me skate around for as long as I could. He gave me 15 more minutes and kind of just loved the game from then.
The basement was full of hockey posters growing up. I would always be downstairs, always ask for dinner to eat downstairs, quickly munch it down. I had a little hockey net in my room and kind of did that throughout my whole childhood.
On his passion for the game: I think it was just my dad kind of told me how much he loved the game. I don't know, I just kind of really liked it ever since I started and it was a fun thing to do and love it.
On being a Canucks fan growing up: I was a big fan of Naslund and Bertuzzi growing up, and Brendan Morrison, they were my Canuck favorites, even Trevor Linden was a great one.
On his draft-eligible liemates Niederreiter and Ross: Well, I first got to camp and actually me and Ross got in a fight in camp and the next day, our assistant coach, Travis Green, came up to me and he was like, ‘yeah, you're going to be playing with Ross’. And I'm like, ‘oh, that's funny.’ They are outstanding hockey players. As soon as Nino came over, you could just tell he was really keen on succeeding in this league and he really wanted to have a good year -- and we all wanted to do well in the draft. We really push each other in practices and games to really step up our game every day.
Nino is fantastic, every time they seem to get him the puck in the slot he seems to get it in the back of the net and Ross is just an agitator, grinder, also can really finish with the puck. But really fun to play with, makes it a lot easier for me out there.
On his style of play: Well, I see myself as a Joe Thornton or a Ryan Getzlaf style of player. Playmaking ability and hockey sense and vision and my puck control I think are my four biggest attributes to my game.
On his growth spurt after Bantam: Yeah, in the Bantam draft I was only 5 9, 150 and now I'm just over 6 2 and 195. So it's come a long way. I just eat, eat and eat pretty much and just keep working in the gym.
On his season in Portland: I didn't really make my decision until the summer but once the new coaching staff kind of got together it was always in the back of my mind as a really good option and then near the end of the year, they really started pushing me to come down there and play for them. I think it was the best decision I've made in my hockey career. Just fantastic coaches and learn something new every day.
On his thoughts about the Draft in June: That would be a dream come true, I'm sure for any kid, but you know, try not to worry about that too much and try and worry about every game and one step at a time. But obviously it's like the biggest honor in the world for me. It's just a very exciting moment.
On the influences in his career: Oh, everybody that's been by my side always has shown great support for me, especially my parents. My mom would always get up at five in the morning for those early practices and my dad would never miss a game. He would always leave work early to come watch me. So it's been really huge for my career to have that much support.
On his most influential coach: So far, I think it would be Mike Johnson, just the attention he's put up for me and all of the scouts that come to our games for us, and even just for me personally. Like pushing me in practice, and just learning little things that you don't really think about on the ice; that I've taken my game to another level.