Regina fans know all about Rick Rypien - the steel-jawed Alberta boy with the lion's heart. The most popluar player on a struggling Pats team back in junior hockey, Rypien never dissapointed on the ice.
He's already bested steep odds parleying a try-out with the Manitoba Moose into his first professional contract. Now he's set on making the Canucks his full-time home.
You're known to be a pretty tough player, where did you learn to play like that?
My dad was a boxer in the past and my brother's a fighter so I just kind of picked up stuff from them. They more or less showed me and guided me in that direction and helped me out. I'm not by any means the toughest guy out there but if a fight happens, it happens, you just got to deal with it.
Where's your family now?
They're in Crowsnest Pass in Alberta. They're pretty much all around there. Mom and dad, brother, grandparents, aunts and uncles, they're all back in a little town.
Do you have any pets?
Me, no not personally but I'm looking to get a dog. Maybe a husky or a German shepherd.
Why a husky or German shepherd?
I don't know, my parents had an all black German shepherd when they were younger and it was a pretty cool dog.
Who's your roommate right now?
Lee Goran right now but its different everyday. There are a lot of switches, I've had Lee Goran, Luc Bourdon, Taylor Pyatt, numerous guys, there are no set roommates right now.
We won't ask who's the worst, but who's the best roommie?
They're all good.
Was there anyone in particular that helped you out adjusting to the NHL?
In my first game last year, probably Trevor Linden. As soon as I came in, he took me aside and talked to me. Everyday he was helping me out and asking me how things were going, making sure I was okay and just in general, little things like that.
Even on the ice, I mostly played with him so he kind of took me under his wing. He helped me all along and kind of helped my confidence, but it was pretty special to have Trev for sure.
What was your 'welcome to the NHL' moment?
Probably just getting out there and starting the game and the atmosphere. My first home game in Vancouver was actually my first game too and to score a couple minutes after, on my first or second shift, was a pretty special feeling. It was almost surreal at the time and hard to believe but a couple weeks later, it kind of clicked in that I was there.
Who was the goalie you scored on?
I think it was Markkanen.
Do you remember how it happened?
Actually yeah, we had a faceoff in our end and the puck went ahead. Trev went and got the puck and took it wide. He made a nice little play, delayed and threw it back to the point. I just happened to be going to the net and it came out off the side. Ruutu passed it over, I kind of hopped on it and through it in. That was that.
Do you still have the puck?
Yes, I just have it back at my place in my hometown.