MONTREAL - Veteran Nate Thompson picked up some tricks of the hockey trade from watching and playing alongside a special group of NHLers.
Shortly after the 2018-19 season ended, we sat down with the 34-year-old forward to learn more about his top influences.
I just think of his overall play was great. He was also the ultimate captain. Whenever you think of Steve Yzerman, you think of him as the captain in Detroit and how he led that team.
He came from Anchorage, AK. Growing up, he was kind of the guy everybody looked up to. He did so much for the state. He kind of put us on the map. Then, as I got older, we worked out together and he took me under his wing. He helped me a lot. We're still close friends to this day.
Martin St. Louis
When I got to Tampa, he really opened my eyes. He exemplified what it takes to not be satisfied and still want to continue to get better every day. He was one of those guys.
Everyone when they were younger was a Wayne Gretzky fan. Everything about him was special. Whenever he was on the ice, you were excited. My first ever NHL game live was in Vancouver. The Kings were playing the Canucks and Pavel Bure had a hat trick and Wayne had a goal and an assist. It was pretty special. It's something I'll never forget. I had the old silver aluminum Gretzky stick back in the day. Everyone had that. That was always hanging up in my room.
I played with him in New York with the Islanders. We weren't the best team at the time, but he always managed to make things fun. He always had a great attitude coming to the rink and he was just a fun guy to be around. No matter how hard it was and no matter what was going on, he enjoyed the game. He taught me that.