Taking Liberties With… Jason Robertson
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Position: Forward, Kingston Frontenacs (Ontario Hockey League)
Youth Hockey Teams: Pasadena Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Jr. Kings
Jason Robertson has emerged as one of the top scorers in the OHL, putting up 41 goals and 87 points during the 2017-18 season and adding 18 more in the 2018 postseason. It’s no wonder the Dallas Stars made the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder a second-round pick (39th overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft. Though he lived in both California and Michigan growing up, he still trains with Mike Lind in the Golden State.
California Rubber: Do you have a favorite memory from your time playing hockey in California?
Jason Robertson: I remember the Brick Tournament was really fun. I played against (former Jr. King) Kailer Yamamoto. And I played with (U.S. Olympian) Cayla Barnes, (Minnesota Wild draft pick) Ivan Lodnia, (San Jose Sharks pick) Sasha Chmelevski, (Tampa Bay Lightning pick) Cole Guttman, (Sharks pick) Jake McGrew, and Brannon McManus – I think we made it to the semis. It’s funny I look back, some of the kids I played against have been teammates of mine in junior. It’s a great memory for me, playing in front of all those people at 10 years old.
CR: Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the game after leaving California?
JR: Getting drafted in the OHL was a big moment. It was a big step for me. Making the team as a 16-year-old was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. That was a lot of work.
CR: What is your calling card on the ice?
JR: I’d say a skilled forward who can pass, and I think I have an elite shot with a great release that I need to keep improving. I’m a bigger-bodied, skilled player.
CR: What is your offseason routine like?
JR: This summer was different; I trained in Toronto with (former NHLer) Gary Roberts. Last year, I trained in Manhattan Beach at Velocity. Then I’d go to Anaheim to train with Mike Lind. I would drive to El Segundo at 4:30 in the morning so I could skate at the Toyota Sports Center with my little brother at 6:30 a.m. We’d go skate, then go work out at 11 and go back to the beach, have fun. It was a great time.
CR: What piece or pieces of gear are you most particular about?
JR: I’m not too picky when it comes to my sticks. My little brother, Nick, is the one who is picky about it. For me, I just want the same type of stick I’ve used for the past three years. It’s worked for me the past three years, so it will work the next three years.
CR: When you’re home in the offseason, what is your favorite place to eat?
JR: Either Manhattan Beach or the Santa Monica Pier. Those two places are really nice. Wahoo’s fish tacos – every time I go to Manhattan Beach, I always go there.
CR: Did you have a favorite player and team growing up?
JR: For a couple years, it was Jason Allison. The reason I liked him a lot was because his name was Jason. When I started to think about hockey and understand there were teams other than the LA Kings, I became a big New Jersey Devils fan. I like the colors and Patrik Elias was my favorite player. When I really started to think about it, my favorite player was Ilya Kovalchuk. Right now, my favorite team is the Dallas Stars.
CR: What is one thing that might surprise people about being an NHL draft pick?
JR: A lot of it is being prepared and being professional. When I was 16, I didn’t think about it a lot. That’s what I’m learning is how prepared these guys are every day. It’s all about being and acting professional off the ice. On the ice, there are always things you can work on. Off the ice, taking care of yourself. Wherever you can, get the edge on somebody.
CR: What free-time activities do you enjoy?
JR: I love going to the beach. My brother, Nick, and I do almost everything together when we’re in Los Angeles. Working out. At home, we’d always play floorball. We made the garage into a mini floorball arena. Going swimming. We do a lot of things with our family.
Photo/Billy Kimmerly/Kingston Frontenacs
– Compiled by Chris Bayee
(Oct. 10, 2018)