On his slapshot and winning the hardest shot competition at the Top Prospects Game: You know, I don't know where to start. I've always loved playing pond hockey, and in minor hockey, I always loved to use my slapshot and I think it got to the point that some goalies would be a little scared of me coming down the wing and winding up. But you know, it's just one of those qualities I guess that I got from my dad. Obviously he's a very big man. He had a very big shot himself.
On shooting harder than his dad: Yeah, back then they were using wooden sticks, but back then he said the hardest shot he had was 98 or 99 miles an hour, but technology nowadays, so much more far advanced than it was back in the 1990s.
On becoming a defenseman: When I moved to Canada, I played defense, but back then it was just a position that you would basically be put out there. I switched to forward one game and I started loving it, and I think I played there for four years, and it wasn't until the year before my draft year that my dad was trying to talk me into it. I said, you know, I tried a couple of practices in one game and I just wasn't getting comfortable. And then it was finally right after Christmas in my draft year, I think the game, we were running up the score, so he put me back out there, I started getting comfortable and got a couple practices and I had maybe two months of actual defense playing and then I carried that into Under 17 tryouts, playing with the Greyhounds in my first OHL season happened to be my first actual season on defense.
It was a huge learning curve, and I think I've overcome that. But like every player, you still have a lot to learn, and you know, I'm just taking advice from my coaches and my dad to try and get better every day in practice and carry that into games.
On his dad’s career: I mean, it's been ten years since he's been retired, and I was still a young kid. I remember going into practices every Saturday morning, you know, he would bring me in and Gretzky would bring his kids in and a couple other kids would be there. I got to be really good friends with the trainers, the equipment guys, some of the players on the team, and then I wasn't really sure why at the time I didn't know why my dad had to retire and that's when we moved to Canada.
But I watched the footage on YouTube sometimes and it's a real serious thing. You know, my dad, he could have been dead if it wasn't for his helmet. Luckily for him, he was wearing one. But it's just one of those incidents in hockey you never want to see.
On watching him play: I remember going to the games and my mom would take my sister and I, and we would go to the wives room and hang out there and we used to love it normally one period we would go out and watch. It was him and Brian Leetch on the back end. Leetch would rush the puck while my dad cleared the bodies out in front of the net.
He was just one of those guys who would never back down from anything. If a guy asked him to fight, he would say, ‘yeah, let's go’. He never put his guard down, and you know, he got a lot of respect from guys for that, and out on the ice, if he had a friend on the other team, he wouldn’t care. He had Joe Nieuwendyk on the Dallas Stars and he would always tell me, would I ever give up on him if he had a breakaway? No. It was just one of those guys, you know, he never cared who was on the other team. It's the game of hockey. You never let your guard down and you never give up on anyone. But after the game, you know, you can be friends with them and you go out for a couple of drinks with them, go out for dinner with them. But on the off the ice, you put it past you, but there's no friends on the ice.
On his dad bringing home the Stanley Cup: I've seen many pictures. We were at a cottage on the lake and he had the Cup for the weekend and most of the pictures I was sitting right in the Cup. I wish I had memories of it, but I'm sure if I remember it, it would have been a great time. You know it’s just a great feeling to know that your dad won four Stanley Cups.
On his thoughts about being drafted in June: It will be a great moment, probably the greatest hockey moment of my life and I know I sure know my parents are going to be proud of me, especially my dad. I don't know if he ever thought his son would be able to go through this like he has. You know, it's still a long ways away. Still got many years of hockey to play, but to hear my name that day, it doesn't matter who it is, what round, what pick; you know, just to get my name mentioned by an NHL team is going to be the greatest feeling in life right now.