Born in Moncton, New Brunswick, but raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, goaltender Calvin Pickard was drafted in the second round (49th overall) by Colorado in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Playing in 16 games last season for the Avalanche, the 6-foot, 202-pound netminder was called up from the club's AHL affiliate in Lake Erie five separate times to provide relief when No. 1 goalie Semyon Varlamov was out with injuries. The 23-year-old had an impressive goals-against average of 2.35 and save percentage of .932. He has become a household name for Avs fans and already holds several records. Among his early accomplishments, Pickard became the first goalie in NHL history to record his first two career wins in relief in back-to-back team games and set an Avalanche rookie record with a 47-save performance on Dec. 18 at Pittsburgh. Calvin Pickard could easily be mistaken for an NHL veteran, but for this interview that we did with him last season, we will just call him Cal.
Where and when did the passion for hockey begin?
“I first started playing hockey when I was in Moncton, New Brunswick. I was 6 years old, and I was a skater and I loved it. I watched it on TV, and I played it all the time. When I came to Winnipeg when I was 7, I started playing goalie a little bit. I made the full transition when I was 9, and I loved it. I never regretted the decision to become a goalie.”
You're not the only hockey goalie in your family, could you tell us more about that?
“I have a brother who is three years older than I am, and he is a goalie as well. He [played] overseas in Denmark [last season]. We actually played against each other in juniors a few times. He always beat me, but it’s a friendly competition of course.”
Do you have a favorite pregame meal?
“I’m pretty easy. I’ve been going out for pregame, but it’s off and on. Sometimes I cook, sometimes I don’t. I always have chicken, but I’ll have some rice sometimes or some sweet potato. Usually I stick with some pasta with some meat sauce, too.”
What has been your favorite part about Colorado?
“Playing in front of our fans I’d say. It’s electric in there. It’s so much fun to play behind or in front of a crowd that’s electric and fun to be around.”
On Dec 11 against the Winnipeg Jets, you started in net for the Avalanche and were a major part of an impressive 4-3 comeback and an exciting win. How did it feel to get the No. 1 star of the game and a standing ovation from the fans?
“Yeah, it was definitely nice. That interview on the ice after the game was pretty special. You know the ovation for the game and the comeback we had, it was awesome.”
Do you have any unique rituals or superstitions before or during games?
“I don’t know, I can’t put my finger on one thing. Usually between whistles I’ll sweep my crease and then hit the snow off my stick on the back of my crossbar. Usually almost every whistle; it's just natural I don’t even notice it anymore. I’m not really superstitious. I just have a good routine that I stick to.”
Are there any TV shows that you like to stay up-to-date on?
“I’m a big fan of Suits, the TV show, and Homeland. For sure, those are two of my favorite ones. ”
Do you have a favorite movie?
“I mean classic movies; Dumb and Dumber is probably one of my favorite movies. You can make an argument that every single line in that movie is good. ”
What do you like to do away from the rink when you have time?
“In the summer, I like to golf a lot when I’m not at the rink. I get a membership and try to play as much as possible. During the season, I just like being around the guys and hanging out with them. Being around them makes everything fun, for sure. Sometimes we play video games, sometimes we go to movies, sometimes we just sit around and all have dinner. It’s easy to mingle with them.”
Do you have a favorite video game?
“Back in Cleveland we played a lot of NHL 15, but Call of Duty was also pretty popular.”