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Garland: Not Your Average (Cup of) Joe

Coffee grounds routine of Coyotes forward

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

Conor Garland doesn't buy his coffee on the fly. He is more particular than that. 

In fact, he has a sophisticated palate for a cup of joe. 

Which generally is shipped in from his home state of Massachusetts.

Coffee is Garland's drink of choice, day or night.

But Garland's stats, his numbers, are far more than a "cup of coffee." They're maybe a pot -- and even more is brewing. He has 64 points (38G, 26A) in 123 career NHL games. He led the Coyotes with 22 goals last season, and has more goals (38) than any Coyote since the start of the 2018-19 season. 

"I actually don't drink alcohol," Garland said. "I never have. So, I guess that's why … coffee is my thing. Late at night, some people like to drink beer or wine, but I like to drink decaf coffee with a dessert. That's the difference. That's why I enjoy it so much. I don't really have anything else to drink."

Garland developed this specific taste early from a family-owned business. His uncle, Mike Sullivan, operates a coffee company, Harmon Coffee Micro Roasters, established in 2013 and based in Rockland, Massachusetts. 

"I'm very close with their family," Garland said. "They kind of lived near us during my childhood, so I was always over at their house. I drank coffee at a young age. So, when he started his company -- it's got to be almost 10 years; probably 10 years now -- I just loved it. We're usually there for dinner at their house once or twice a week, so we always found a way to drink it. That's really how it kind of started." 

When Garland receives his shipment in Arizona, it's a banana hazelnut blend, which he has shared with Coyotes teammate Phil Kessel. He lived with Kessel before the 2020 playoffs. 

("Phil has a beautiful coffee machine," Garland said. "It was in his fridge. I can't even remember what it was called. It was so nice though. It ground the beans up and everything. It was crazy, so nice.) 

When Garland is on the East Coast, he goes to a Norwell, Massachusetts, coffee shop, "Pour." They use his uncle's coffee. They prepare the perfect cup -- and, of course, it's banana hazelnut, too. And iced. 

"Extra ice and extra cream," he said. "It's just so good. It's hard to describe the taste, it's got a good aftertaste, a good taste."

The cream is an important addition. 

"Off-season," Garland said, "A lot of cream. No sugar." 

People familiar with New England know that "Dunkin'" dominates the coffee scene. But not for Garland. 

"I don't go to 'Dunkin'' anymore because I've had (my uncle's) coffee," he said. "I can taste the difference. It's so good that when I drink something else, it doesn't do the trick." 

In the Valley, Garland's coffee cafe choice is Black Rock Coffee Bar.

"It's near the Ice Den," Garland said. "Me, (Clayton Keller) and (Nick Schmaltz) sat there and we had lunch, one day. Most of the reasons I go to sit and have a coffee in the summer is just to have somebody with you. Me and my trainer like to drink coffee, sit there and talk. So, that's usually what we're doing, and that's something everybody drinks. I do like that environment, sitting and talking. That's probably why I get along with Kells and Schmaltzy so well, because we all just like sitting and talking. That's why we gravitate toward that." 

In fact, coffee for Garland is not just a beverage choice, it's part of his routine.

And Garland considers himself a stickler for routine.

"On the way to the rink for morning skate," he said. "I like to drink it in the car. I'll have another one on the way to the game. And then one more when I'm at the rink, right before our team meeting at 5:30. I'll drink one at like 5:15. I'll drink it, and then I know I'm going to the trainer's room to chat it up. I know I'm going to grab it -- and then I'll talk to (head athletic trainer Dave Zenobi) and (assistant athletic trainer Don Fuller) about something. I'll bug them for a bit. I know I am getting my coffee, so I can sit there and chat. There's always a reason I'm doing it. That's how it fits into my routine." 

Coffee has a direct correlation with Garland's daily schedule on road trips. His game-day itinerary always includes a pre-game walk to a local coffee shop.

"That started years ago," Garland said. "Talking, searching for ways to improve my game, and figuring stuff out about myself. One of the things I figured out about myself was that I'm a huge routine person, massive."

If there's one constant about the road for Garland, it's -- you guessed it -- coffee.

"Going on the road, I was trying to figure out something that every city has," he said. "They all have coffee. So, like, I would just go for a walk, get my coffee, go for another walk, and that way I felt like I was always in a routine, and I was never getting overwhelmed by travel. It was something that I could go back and lean on. That's where that came from." 

He recalls a café in Montreal he visited last season with Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz. 

"We went to some little place and they had these little crepes," he said. "That's the one with fruit. We had crepes and coffee in Montreal last year. It was nice -- a good walk. It was a little snowy, but they probably had the best coffee, probably one of the best places I could think of."

His all-time favorite road coffee destination? That goes back to his days with the Tucson Roadrunners.

"Ontario, California … whenever we'd play the Reign," Garland said. "They had a Krispy Kreme like right across from the hotel. It was like the perfect distance, perfect distance to walk. I would go there every road trip. One time, I went and I brought like 24 donuts back. The guys were all hanging out in the lobby, and I came back with a couple dozen and everybody was pumped. I remember that. We were all playing cards in the lobby."

If there's a second thing to Garland's routine, it's walking. 

"I have to walk the night before a game. It doesn't matter what time it is, it could be midnight and I'm not sleeping. It could be eight at night and I'll go for a long, long walk. That started - it was almost like a superstition - because I was hungry before a game in juniors and I walked down to Tim Hortons to get a bagel and it ended up being like a mile walk. I was in a full sweat and I was, like, pissed. I came back, got ready for the game, and I played my best game ever. It was the most points I ever had. So, I was like, 'Okay, I've got to start walking more before games.' It's helped, I don't know why, so I always walk. And then on the road actually, a lot of times Kells will come with me, or (Jakob Chychrun), someone always usually goes with me on the road. At home, I usually walk by myself. I don't know how long -- probably 20 minutes or 30 minutes -- and then that's it, I shut it down for the night."

(Garland's road routine will suffer a bit this year because of the protocols established due to COVID-19. NHL edicts say players and staff are not allowed to "patronize or enter internal venues other than the designated hotel, the practice facility or the game arena.")

But, coffee still is routine Number One -- even in the Coyotes locker room.

It's always hot and fresh, Garland says, thanks to assistant equipment manager Jason Rudee. 

"I think Rudes is in charge of it," Garland said. "It's always filled, it's crazy, it's impressive. It looks like (it's getting) empty, then I might go do something and come back and it's full. He's always on top of it."

Lead Photo Credit: Arizona Coyotes Production // Second Photo Credit: Christian Petersen - Getty Images // Third Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick - NHLI via Getty Images // Fourth Photo Credit: Kevin Anggara - Arizona Coyotes // Fifth Photo Credit: Arizona Coyotes Production // Footer Photo Credit: Darcy Finley - NHLI via Getty Images

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