The ‘6-Man’ isn’t just a basketball term – it’s also the name of a beach volleyball tournament in Jack St. Ivany’s hometown of Manhattan Beach, which takes place right by the famous pier.

The Penguins defenseman plays every year with friends, including Golden Knights forward and fellow California native Brendan Brisson. Last year, they recruited a couple of fellow NHLers – New Jersey’s Jack Hughes and Seattle’s Matty Beniers – to join their team. While their athleticism didn’t quite translate to the sand, especially against such strong competition, they still had a blast.

“It’s got everyone from Olympic volleyball players that come back, professional volleyball players on the AVP tour that come back, college players… then there's the group of me and my buddies who are not good at all at volleyball, but we just go to have a good time,” St. Ivany said with a smile.

“Everyone hangs out, we usually get one or two points during the whole course of it. We always talk about how if there was a hockey version of that, how fun it would be. But some of the volleyball guys, they're all good sports about it. There was one time, though, where the whole team all went on their knees against us and we still couldn't get a point [laughs]. That’s just how good they are. But yeah, it's a fun tournament.”

Jack was born and raised within walking distance of the ocean after his parents Darin and Tricia relocated to California from St. Louis in the 1990s. “My aunt moved out here before them, so, they visited her and they just ended up moving out here,” said Jack, who returns to his childhood home during the summers. “They’ve stayed here ever since, and decided it was a good place to raise a family. Definitely very fortunate to be able to grow up here.”

He spent most of his time either at the beach or an ice rink, as St. Ivany loved watching hockey from a young age, joking that “it was about the only thing that stopped me from crying.” The family still has a piece of artwork he did in kindergarten that foretold his future, with a 6-year-old Jack writing in adorably misspelled fashion, “I like to play hockey. I want to be a professional hockey player.”

Whenever they’d go back to St. Louis for a couple of weeks in the summer and around the holidays, Jack would bring his equipment and skate with the Junior Blues program.

At home, St. Ivany played amateur hockey for the Junior Kings program before moving to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to play junior hockey in the USHL – living in winter weather for the first time in his life. He then completed his cross-country trek by playing four years of college hockey for Yale and Boston College – working with former Penguins blueliner Brooks Orpik, now on the Eagles staff – before turning pro with the Penguins in 2022.

Get to know more about the 24-year-old, who recently signed a three-year contract extension, off the ice in this Q&A.

What other beach-related activities do you love besides volleyball? Growing up here, you start surfing, so we'll do that. It’s just kind of wave-dependent, and on what the swells are doing here. There aren’t that big of waves here. It's kind of slow rolling, two- to three-foot waves. So, it's nice to go out there with some friends, take some long boards and catch a few waves. But yeah, other than that, I was just kind of doing whatever. Running around the beach with my friends, playing spikeball.

What are your go-to spots back home? Where do you like to take visitors? There's a bunch of good restaurants. There's a really good sushi spot that we like to go to called Izaka-ya. So, it’s always on the list, gotta take someone there. Then Venice Beach, there's some great restaurants over there and some good shopping. Then I would say the Hollywood Bowl, seeing a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. I feel like it's something that’s very Southern California. It's an outdoor concert, and I feel like that's just kind of an iconic place to go. Then maybe catch a Dodgers game. So, those are some fun summer activities that I always like to take people to do.

What’s the best concert you’ve seen there? There's a band called Pink Martini that my whole family loves. It's probably not my first choice of music [laughs], but it's always fun to go with them, they know all the lyrics. So, it's a good time to go there. You bring a little picnic basket of food and put your spread out and watch the concert.

Speaking of music, what’s on your Spotify Wrapped? I kind of got a little bit of everything, I would say. I had a lot of Morgan Wallen on there, and Zach Bryan. Those are probably my two go-tos for country. Then I like Foo Fighters, Nickelback – that’s good working out music. Then always got some rap going, Drake… whatever anyone wants to listen to, I’ll throw it on.

Are there any podcasts you like? The Smartless podcast. That's with Jason Bateman and Will Arnett and Sean Hayes. That one I think is so funny. Every time I was going back and forth between Pitt and Wilkes-Barre, I would listen to, like, five or six of those episodes, and it would pass the time pretty good. Any favorite episodes? I would say the Conan O'Brien episodes. Those ones are pretty funny.

What TV show(s) would you recommend? I did watch The Bear. That's probably top of my list for current shows right now. The new season’s coming out in a month or two. So that one is, I think, top of the line for me. I tried to tell anybody on my team (who would listen) to watch it, and everyone was just so hesitant. Then as soon as they watched it, it was all of their favorite show.

I heard that you’re into cooking, is there any correlation between that and being a fan of The Bear? I don’t know, I mean, I've always liked cooking. My parents were both pretty good chefs in the kitchen. So, once I started living on my own, it's learning how to make things and looking up different recipes and then kind of just turning them into something that I’d like. So yeah, that was definitely kind of a nice way to pass the time for me.

Do you have any go-to recipes? Every week, I would try to mix it up with something new, but there's one, marinated salmon bites. That’s a pretty good one that I always like to go back to. It's got some coconut rice and some grilled bok choy with it. It's definitely a favorite of mine.

Do you watch any cooking shows or follow any celebrity chefs? I think it was actually last year at camp, Corey Andonovski, one of my teammates in Wilkes-Barre – he and I were just flipping through the channels and we got hooked on the show Beat Bobby Flay. We would sit there and watch, like, six episodes in a row. As soon as practice ended all the way until dinner, we would just sit there and watch it.

You definitely have more down time now that you’ve graduated from college! What did you study in school? Political science. What made you decide to go down that route? I don't know… when I started at Yale freshman year, the majority of students kind of choose between political science, economics or history. Those are probably the most common there. For me, economics, I took a couple of courses and it wasn't my favorite. The political science courses I actually really enjoyed. It's a lot more reading and writing, and I've always been a better writer. So, that was just something that I liked and felt like I was able to learn a little bit about what was going on in the world, and at the same time, able to use a little bit of the creative part of your brain. So, just kind of put your own spin on things, being able to write like that.

Do you have a team in the NBA Playoffs that you're rooting for? Are you an NBA fan at all? I'm a Lakers fan, so obviously, them getting bounced early was tough. But watching Minnesota play, it's been really fun. I mean, Anthony Edwards is just must-watch TV right now. So, kind of pulling for them. I love all the off-court antics with him as well. So, definitely a fun player to watch.

Outside of the NBA, are there any other sports/athletes that you're a fan of? I definitely like playing golf, so golf’s been a fun one to watch. Obviously, Scottie Scheffler is also must-watch TV right now. He’s probably my favorite golfer.

Finally, any trips planned for this summer? I think in July, we're going to London to watch my brother. He's an actor, and he's performing in a play there. So, going to go watch that with my family. Then we're going down to Italy for a couple of days.