Taking Liberties With… Daniel ‘Gudge’ Gentzler
DANIEL ‘GUDGE’ GENTZLER
Position: Center, Macon Mayhem (Southern Professional Hockey League)
Hometown: Manhattan Beach
Last Amateur Team: Colgate University (ECAC)
Youth Teams: El Segundo Regents, Long Beach Stars, Long Beach Ice Dogs, Anaheim Wildcats, Los Angeles Jr. Kings
California Rubber: Do you have a favorite memory from your California playing days?
Daniel Gentzler: There’s a couple. Winning the state championship in Squirt BB with the El Segundo Regents with Brett Beebe is one. I had a pretty good game in the finals. Then playing for the Jr. Kings under Jack Bowkus. The group of guys we had both years and playing for Jack both years, I loved it. He gets the game. It was a pleasure playing under him, and it helped make me the player I am today.
CR: What is your favorite memory since California?
DG: Winning the SPHL championship last season in Macon was pretty special. Being able to win a championship is something you’ll always remember.
CR: What is your go-to California place to eat when you’re home during the offseason?
DG: Besides In-N-Out? I have a list of 10 restaurants I go to all the time. There’s a little Hawaiian place called the Beach Hut – that’s our go-to. My favorite meal there is a teriyaki chicken bowl with two over-easy eggs on top.
CR: Who is the funniest teammate you’ve ever had?
DG: Brendan Corcoran, a kid from Boston who played with me at Colgate.
CR: Are you particular about any of your gear?
DG: I’m pretty superstitious with my tape jobs. I’ve been known to really mix it up whether I’m scoring or not. I might go from white to black to no tape on the toe. I get some flak for that. I’ve got an ugly one now. I saw (Nashville Predators center) Ryan Johansen do it in the playoffs. The heel is taped and the whole toe is exposed. It took a lot of courage to walk around the locker room with that.
CR: What’s the best advice you’ve received?
DG: Just to have fun. Everyone says it, but it’s true. The game gets stressful. But remember, it’s hockey, it’s a game, just love it. Don’t worry about the extra stuff on the side. Don’t let anyone disturb your peace of mind.
CR: Who was your favorite player growing up?
DG: I was a big Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic fan. Them and (Sergei) Fedorov. I don’t have the speed to make Fedorov my favorite player, though. Then it would be any person from the Kings in the ’90s and 2000s.
CR: If you weren’t playing pro hockey, what would you be doing?
DG: I’d love to be a pro golfer. But I’m not very good at it, so that’s probably out. I think coaching. I have a good mind for the game. If I wasn’t playing, I’d be coaching somewhere. Or playing pro baseball.
CR: The minors are well known for long bus trips. What is your craziest one from Macon?
DG: Peoria, Illinois – it’s 12-13 hours. That’s a doozy. We leave at 9 p.m. for a game the next day. Thank goodness they’re sleeper buses. You have your own bunk. It’s not terrible, although there can be some stinky people on the bus.
CR: So besides air freshener, what are some other essentials for those road trips?
DG: Headphones, your iPod or your phone with music. We have guys who bring iPads and play games of Monopoly that get pretty intense. I bring my laptop and watch some movies I have on there. We have a booster club that provides us with goodie bags of protein bars and Gatorade for the trip, which is a huge help.
Photo/Bryan Meeks/Orbicular Media
– Compiled by Chris Bayee
(Jan. 17, 2018)