We’re back for another season of the Colorado Avalanche Mailbag, where players respond to fan questions. This installment features Avalanche defenseman Shane O'Brien
As always, your questions are in bold. If we feel the need to provide some additional commentary or clarification, it will come in italics before the player gives his answer.
Now, on to the Q&A:
Who were your role models when you were growing up? Did they influence you to get into hockey, or was that your own personal choice? – Amanda, Surrey, B.C., Canada
My mom and dad, first and foremost. But from a hockey perspective it had to be Doug Gilmour.
Right from age three I started skating and I fell in love with the game.
From what my parents told me, I was playing outdoor hockey all day long and they would have to pretty much drag me inside. They supported me the whole way but I fell in love with it right away.
What do you think about the great state of Colorado? And how have you been spending your time aside from playing hockey? – Joey, Westminster, CO
It’s been great. Denver’s a pretty laid back city and there are a lot of good people here. It’s sunny everyday here and it’s nice to wake up every morning with the mountains in the background. It’s a great place to live.
I do a lot of relaxing. It’s such a long season. It’s a grind. So anytime you get some time off to relax and save up some energy, you need to take advantage of that opportunity. I’ve been out in the city a little bit and have gotten to meet some people. It’s a fun city.
Who is your roommate on the road? – Sarah, Boulder, CO
Jay McClement. He’s a pretty quiet guy so we kind of do our own thing. But it’s such a grueling season that when you get into the hotel room you just want some time to yourself and just relax, watch a movie, or surf the internet.
How do you tape your stick? Also, do you have any pregame superstitions? – Dane, Saskatchewan, Canada
I tape my stick from heel to toe. I go all the way over the toe and use scissors to cut it off.
I’m pretty simple. It’s just a routine that you get into each game day. We go eat lunch together after morning skates when we’re at home and we eat at the hotel when we’re on the road. I usually have a nap, come to the rink and get ready to go. I love game days.
Do you still keep in touch with your teammates from Vancouver and any other cities you previously played in? – Sarah, Victoria, B.C., Canada
I text them a little bit. Everyone’s so busy with the season that you don’t have a whole lot of time to keep in touch. But I will text a few guys here and there whenever I get the opportunity or play against them.
What is the best prank you’ve ever pulled, or seen pulled? – Ben, Chapel Hill, NC
In Vancouver, we nailed Darcy Hordichuk’s shoe to his stall. We took a nail and hammer and hammered his dress shoe right to his stall, so he had to pry it off to get it loose. It was pretty good.
What is your favorite kind of check to deliver on an opponent? – Scott, Aliso Viejo, CA
I think the open ice hit is the most fun. I don’t do it too often but anytime you can get a guy in the open ice and lay him out, it’s fun. It’s hard to do. It’s a skill.
Who is your favorite teammate so far? – Devon, Estes Park, CO
That’s a tough one. There are a couple, but there are too many good guys in here to pick just one.
What advice can you give to a young hockey player just starting out? – Cameron, Anchorage, AK
Just enjoy the game. You have to work hard. It’s a lot of hard work to get to the NHL, but if you have the love, the passion and the drive, you should enjoy the hard work. At the same time you’ve got to have fun. Just work hard and enjoy it. Give it your all and see what happens
What does it mean to wear the Avalanche logo? – Taylor, Dallas, TX
With two Stanley Cups and the tradition they have, it’s huge. It’s an organization with tradition and the day I signed here I was extremely excited and it’s worked out well