Get to know Pittsburgh's 2015 second-round draft pick Daniel Sprong with this Q&A.
What does it mean to be a member of the Penguins organization?
I’m just happy to be here and be a part of this. It was an unbelievable feeling to be drafted by Pittsburgh and I can’t wait to get started. That’s what I told my mom when I got picked, and then when I left the arena I knew I was a member of the Penguins and had to work hard.
Who were some of the biggest influences for you off the ice? My dad (Hannie) played hockey and obviously I’m following in his footsteps. From a young age we worked on my base and my shot. Now I just keep trying to improve on that and keep going.
Who were some of your biggest influences on the ice? I try to watch a lot of NHL players and see how they play and see what I can try and bring into my game, but at the same time keep my own identity and style. I was a big fan of Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrick Kane and just the way they play and how similar they are to my game. But at the same time, I want to keep my own identity as well.
Is that where you kind of get your shot from in Ilya Kovalchuk? I hope so. He has a pretty good shot, but it’s something I’ve been working on since I was little. I work on my shot every day. Just the way he shoots the puck, the way he snaps, shoots and skates – I really try to get that from his game. With Kane, it’s the way he stickhandles, plays and the way he passes is something that I want to put in my game so that I’m deceptive and can shoot or pass, but at the same time I still want to be who I am and keep working on that.
If you could wear any number, what would it be and why? No. 11. My dad picked it out for me when I was little and it’s my favorite number.
Who were some of your favorite sports teams to follow while growing up? I’m a big Yankees fan in baseball, Patriots fan in football – although I might have to change that (laughs) – and a Cleveland Cavaliers fan in basketball. But in hockey I just follow my favorite players, here wasn’t a favorite team, but now it’s the Penguins.
Which athletes from other sports do you enjoy watching? LeBron James, Tom Brady and Derek Jeter. Just the guys that are very, very respected around the league and are also very good players on and off the playing surface.
Outside of hockey, what are some of your favorite sports to watch? I would say tennis or golf. I used to play tennis as a little kid, so I enjoy watching and playing it. With golf, it’s nice and relaxing to watch on Sundays, like when Jordan Speith won the U.S. Open.
When you're not at the rink, what are you doing? Being with friends and going out to dinner, just being with family. Just relaxing and getting my mind away from the game. But at the same time, my mind is always on trying to get better.
Do you have any pets at home? No, no pets. I’m afraid of animals (laughs).
What’s your ideal meal? My ideal meal would be Chinese food. I’m a big fan of Chinese food and sushi.
What movie could you watch over and over? Happy Gilmore.
Are you a big Adam Sandler fan, or do you just like that movie? No, I’m a pretty big Adam Sandler fan in total. I really like watching his movies.
What’s your favorite music? I listen to everything, really – country, rock, hip-hop, rap.
What is your go-to emoji? I’m a big fan of the tongue face and the kissy face. Those are my two favorites on my phone right now.