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Meet Derek

by Deborah Lew / Los Angeles Kings

It may be his first year in the NHL, but if dogs are any indication – and face it, Kings fans know dogs are EVERY indication – Derek Forbort fits right in in Los Angeles.

A 23-year-old native of Duluth, Minnesota, Forbort and his younger brothers bought their mom a Golden Doodle for Mother’s Day. Zoe, as they named their puppy, is now the third Golden Doodle in the Kings family, behind Dustin Brown’s Milo and Anze Kopitar’s Gustl. A self-proclaimed ‘dog-lover,’ Forbort admits to using Face Time with his family every Sunday primarily to get to see Zoe.

The NHL rookie defenseman began playing hockey at the age of three, and his family did play a big role in his hockey upbringing. Dad built a rink in the backyard during the winters, and Mom’s daycare attendees provided lots of kids to organize hockey games with. All three Forbort brothers played hockey at least through high school, one of them is currently playing Junior Hockey, and except for Derek, all still live Minnesota.

After leaving home to play hockey at the age of 16 to join the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, Forbort returns to Minnesota during the summers and in doing so, enjoys beach volleyball with his brothers and friends he’s grown up with.

The Forbort family was able to make their way to Los Angeles back in October to watch Derek make his NHL debut, which was made easier by the fact that Derek has a local aunt and uncle with whom his family stayed.

Aside from Kings training camps, Forbort has no prior experience in LA, but the area, which is highlighted by the practice facility and team staff, is quickly growing on him.

“It’s nice to get out here and enjoy the weather,” says Forbort, who was a Black Ace in 2014. “The facilities are awesome and the development staff is awesome and they’re a lot of fun to work with, especially what they’ve done with me and my game, so I owe them a lot.”

Fall in LA is something that Forbort is really taking to nicely. With light skin that sunburns easily, his clothing of choice is long-sleeves with shorts, which the weather is beginning to favor.

“It’s nice wearing shorts every day. It’s starting to get real cold back home, so that’s

nice,” says Forbort, who is not a beach tanning kind of guy. “I’m enjoying the Fall-ish weather we’re starting to get.”

Now that he’s in the big leagues, Forbort is somewhat making a conscious effort step it up – at least as far as his wardrobe is concerned – and last week made a stop at Trunk Club.

“They basically just style you. They pick out your clothes. I’m trying to up that game a little bit,” Forbort says. “On the road some of the guys have some nice suits and some pretty nice style, so…”

New style isn’t the only thing he’s picking up from the veterans on the team, as Forbort concedes that many of the older guys have helped him a lot over the past few months.

“Greener (Matt Greene) & Carts (Jeff Carter) are both really good leaders and they do a really good job of connecting with the young guys and teaching us little things along the way like how to be good pros here and away from the rink.”

Young as he may be, Forbort already has some idea of what it means to be a pro, as he is big on volunteer work in Duluth, and last season while in Manchester, along with Shore and Scott Sabourin, Forbort spent time volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club.

“We’d just go there, I think it was more for us than for them,” says Forbort. “We’d just kind of play hoops with the kids and play board games, so that was fun.”

It goes without saying, but Forbort is relishing his new NHL life.

“It’s nice being up with the big club and it’s a lot of fun traveling to all these cool cities,” Forbort says. “It’s a little different than the American League cities that you get to go to, so I’m just kind of taking all that in and getting as much experience as I can.”

Although with that experience comes living in a hotel for the time being, Forbort has found some local establishments he likes to frequent, like True Foods and Whole Foods for lunch, and Rok Sushi for dinner, many times with teammates Brayden McNabb, Alec Martinez, Nick Shore, and some of the other younger guys on the team.

“We go out to dinner quite a bit and it’s fun,” says Forbort, who admits surfing and attending a Lakers game are still on his LA ‘To Do’ list.

Forbort has actually known Shore for quite some time, as the two go back to their Team USA days in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they played hockey and attended high school together. Forbort also knew Greene, as both attended the University of North Dakota, and Greene would come back during the summers when Forbort was going to school.

While away from hockey, Forbort does indulge in some television, ‘Walking Dead’ being the top show at the moment, followed by ‘Homeland.’ If caught on a good day, Forbort will even admit his guilty pleasure is the Shonda Rhimes creation ‘Scandal.’

When it comes to cinema, ‘Forrest Gump’ is Forbort’s all-time favorite, and the most recent flick he saw in the theater was ‘The Martian.’ His favorite actress is Natalie Portman, and his top actor would be Morgan Freeman because “his voice is real soothing.”

Forbort’s taste in music also aligns nicely with his teammates’ as Country is his genre of choice. He recently saw the Zac Brown Band at the Hollywood Bowl, and would cite them currently as his favorite musical act. He also has a taste for old school rock.

“I grew up with my dad listening to those and he’s a big rock guy, so Rolling Stones and guys like that,” Forbort says.

Dogs, shorts, Whole Foods, Country and Classic Rock – yup, he’s fitting in just fine.

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