A native of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Nate Guenin joined the Avalanche as a free agent on July 5, 2013. Guenin had a strong training camp with the Avs, making the team's opening-night roster and has become a mainstay on defense. He has been a key contributor on the penalty kill as he is one of the leaders on the team in short-handed ice time per game and in blocked shots. Guenin signed a two-year contract extension on Jan. 7, keeping him in Colorado through the 2015-16 season. He recently sat down with ColoradoAvalanche.com.
When you’re not doing something hockey related, what do you like to do?
“I have two dogs, two pit bulls, and it’s been cool being out here in Denver. There are a lot of hiking trails and stuff, so it's nice to spend time with them.”
If you could play any other professional sport, what would it be?
“Golf. Not that I could play golf, but those guys get to play outdoors every day. Golf is just something I really enjoy doing over the summer, it’s pretty cool.”
When you first got called up to the NHL, what was your first reaction?
“Wow. It was my rookie year, and it wasn’t expected. I wasn’t expecting to get into any games that year, and it was late in the season and I got called up. It was more of just ‘wow.’”
Who was the first person you told when you first got called up?
“My dad. As soon as I left the rink, I called him. Just you asking me about it, I am kind of reliving that moment. It’s really cool.”
Growing up, what did you say when someone asked you, 'What do you want to do when you're older?'
“I wanted to be a hockey player, but I also remember saying being a pilot. I just always enjoyed flying and being a pilot would be pretty neat.”
What is your favorite part about living in Denver?
“The weather, and how there is stuff to do away from the rink.”
What is your advice for players who want to be 'in your shoes' one day?
“You just have to work. If you work as hard as you can, some people are going to tell you that you’re never going to make it, but it all depends with you. It’s kind of an old, cheesy cliché, but if you work as hard as you can, you can do anything you want.”
What was it like to go back home to Pittsburgh this season and play in front of family and friends?
“It was really neat. It was fun for me, but it was more fun getting to see the excitement that they all got out of it. You know, people that follow you your whole career, it was cool to see them celebrate it too.”