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Ask the Sharks: Desjardins' Answers

by Alison High / San Jose Sharks
Unlike most professional athletes, Andrew Desjardins’ dream car doesn’t come from the pages of a sports car magazine or cost more than the average person’s yearly salary. You’re more likely to find the 24-year-old’s dream car on Craigslist then the motorways of the German Autobahn.

He also didn’t grow up riding to hockey practice with his dad – it was his single mother who took him to every hockey practice and weekend tournament. And now that he’s made it to the NHL, he says it’s his mom that deserves most of the credit for his major accomplishment.

It's facts like these that make Desjardins the kind of guy you want to root for. Read about these stories and more in this segment of Ask the Sharks.

1.Did you choose to wear number 69? If so, why? – dancinglobsters
I actually didn’t choose it. When you come to camp, you get given a number, any one from one to 99 I guess. A lot of the younger guys and the rookies get the higher numbers that guys wouldn’t normally wear, like (Jamie) McGinn was 64, Benny Ferriero was 78. So then when I came it was just 69. They just gave it to me and after a certain amount of time they can’t change it. I don’t know if they were going to anyway, but I’m pretty sure (Head Equipment Trainer) Mike (Aldrich) said that. But I didn’t choose it; it was just given to me. What are you going to do? You can’t worry about it too much I guess.

2.What has been the most challenging part of getting called up to the NHL? What has been the best part? – Chelsea C.
I think the pace obviously is a lot faster than the AHL, it’s a quicker game. And just trying to be a smarter player because you have a certain role to fill. Especially for me, I have to play smart because I am relied on defensively. You have to be alert about stuff like that when you come up to this level because the guys are just that much better.

The best part is that I’m with a great group of guys. It’s a really great group back in Worcester too, but there’s also a really great group here. Everyone has made me feel welcome. Coming on to a new team, you don’t know what to expect and everyone has been great. And obviously playing in the NHL, that’s number one. You dream about playing in the NHL, so that’s the best thing. I would say to have this opportunity and to play consistent games – obviously that’s the best.

San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi makes a save while Sharks defensemen including Andrew Desjardins (69) keeps the Chicago Blackhawks' Tomas Kopecky back during the first period of an NHL hockey game on Monday, March 14, 2011, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)
3.Now that you've arrived, who comes to mind when you think of those that helped to reach the NHL? – Randy B.
I’d have to say my mom for many reasons. For most of my life, she’s been a single mom. She was the one – it wasn’t my father who drove me to the rink – it was my mom. She drove me up to 45 minutes to practice when I was in Minor hockey up to four times a week. And then for games on the weekend too. I owe a lot to her for the development part of my game when I was younger for sure. Then obviously you’ve got to thank your coaches along the way. I’ve had some really good coaches in (Craig) Hartsburg (former head coach at Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) in the Soo to the CHL – Terry Ruskowski (head coach of the CHL’s Laredo Bucks) is a really good coach – and Roy Sommer (Worcester Sharks Head Coach) as well. So coaches, trainers and obviously family. My family is a big hockey family; everyone is really supportive.

4.How did it feel to score you first NHL goal? – Erin G.
Obviously it’s amazing. Again, you dream to play in the NHL and then the second part is that you dream to score an NHL goal. I was really excited. You could see in the newspaper – the celebration and stuff – I almost didn’t believe it. It’s just out of this world.

5.Who was the first person you called after you scored your first NHL goal? – Phillip H.
Well, I think I called my mom. My girlfriend was here. She was supposed to go home on the Monday because I wasn’t sure of what my situation was and I didn’t want her to be in San Jose by herself if I was reassigned to Worcester. But she ended up sticking around for the game and she decided to leave Thursday morning. So she ended up seeing it in the stands.
But I called home and every game that I’ve played, there’s been like 15 people at my house watching the game – from my uncles to my friends to my mom and my step dad– everyone comes over to watch. So I called them and I’m pretty sure I woke my mom up because it was like 2:00 or 2:30 a.m. back there. But definitely, they were the people I called first.

6.Hey Desi, One of your faithful Worcester Sharks fans here, it was great to see you score your first goal! How are the San Jose fans treating you? – Groupee63
Awesome. They’re just like the Worcester fans. I mean obviously there’s bigger numbers here, but they treat you really well. I had people giving me articles and pictures of the my goal. So they’re awesome here. You get 17,500 people every game. It’s just amazing. The crowd is phenomenal.

7.Given your last name, do you speak any French? –Laurel
No. I was in French immersion until Grade Five so I was probably around 8 when I stopped. But I lost it. I can understand when some of the guys speak French in here. I probably get about 50-60 percent of it, but I can never respond.

8.Who on the team has been the most helpful to you now that you're in San Jose?
A lot of the guys. The older guys – from Jumbo to Boyler and the guys in the leadership roles – they’ve really made me feel comfortable. That’s obviously a big help. Logan Couture has been driving us. He’s been helpful. Braun and I have been living at the hotel for the last little while so we’re buddies. And we hang out with Logan sometimes and JD (Jason Demers) and Seto (Devin Setoguchi), we see those guys sometimes too.

9.What sports teams do you support? – Chris H.
I like the Toronto Blue Jays. I’m about 4 hours away so I go like twice a year for two home stands. I keep track of them. But that’s pretty much it. I’m not into basketball. I’m not really into football; I’ll watch it, but I wasn’t brought up in a football house so I never got into that. I love golf so I watch a lot of that. And I like playing a lot of golf too. And I watch a lot of tennis too. That’s pretty much it.

10.What's your dream car?
My dream car, geez. That’s a tough one. I’d say, honestly, I’ve always wanted – I don’t know why this is, it’s kind of a weird thing – but I’ve always wanted an old school Bronco. A two-door Bronco like the one from “American Pie.” Like one of those summer, open-top cars. Maybe supped up with big tires on it. I don’t know why! But I’ve always wanted one of those. I drive my Mercedes and that was one I really wanted, so I got that, but I would probably need to upgrade it like five or six times to make it a dream car. I’m not really into sports cars, but I really like muscle cars – and old Broncos (laughs).

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