Taking Liberties with… Rhett Rakhshani
Position: Forward, Malmo Redhawks (Swedish Hockey League)
Hometown: Huntington Beach
Last Amateur Team: University of Denver (then of the WCHA)
Youth Team: California Wave
California Rubber: What is your favorite hockey memory growing up?
Rhett Rakhshani: Winning Bantam Nationals in 2003, beating Shattuck (St. Mary’s) in the final. Jeff Turcotte was my coach.
CR: What is your favorite memory in the game since leaving California?
RR: Winning is always the best experience. We won a Swedish league title with Vaxjo (in 2015). That was an amazing experience. It was the first time the team won a gold. I was really close with a lot of guys on the team. My brother-in-law was on the team. About 20,000 people were out for the celebration on the main city square, and they all were cheering. It was an amazing, amazing time. Unforgettable.
CR: What advice would you give young hockey players?
RR: It depends on what phase of their career it is. Broadly speaking, always continue learning and continue trying to better yourself. Realize you’re going to fail and mess up. Try to push yourself every day. Expect to fail. Even the best of the best of the best mess up like everyone else. Along with that, enjoy it. Remind yourself to keep it in perspective. Have a good attitude.
CR: Who has been the biggest influence on you on and off the ice?
RR: My parents have been the biggest hands down. I would not be here having the opportunity to see the world, making a living, had it not been for the investment they made in me. In hockey, Jeff Turcotte was probably the biggest molder, helping me become the player I am today. All those coaches with the Wave in those days – Jeff, Jack Bowkus, Mike Lewis, Rick Kelly – helped. All have helped me in different ways without realizing it. Things you don’t like help you grow.
CR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play?
RR: Golf has become the secondary sport. And surfing. I’m not good at them, but I enjoy them when I have some free time.
CR: Are there are any pieces of gear you’re particular about?
RR: My skates. If you ruin my edge, you could ruin my day.
CR: What are essential items to take on a road trip?
RR: A phone and charger. I stopped bringing an iPad because I’d just watch movies. I bring a Kindle and read. Do something that’s just more productive.
CR: When you’re back in California, do you have a favorite meal or restaurant?
RR: I try to take advantage of all the Mexican food because we don’t have that in Sweden. I’m trying to load up on that and sushi because there are some good places.
CR: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
RR: Teemu Selanne.
CR: If you weren’t playing pro hockey, what do you think you’d be doing?
RR: Only God knows that.
CR: What is the most challenging aspect of playing pro hockey?
RR: One of them is when you’re an amateur, there is pressure to reach goals and expectations. When it becomes a business, it changes a little bit. You’re providing for your family. You have to perform so you can have your job and your next job. If you don’t perform, you’re not going to work long. It’ s more volatile than other professions. The last thing is the moving around. You’re never settled in – 99 percent of the time, it’s not in a town that’s your home. When you go home, you’ve got to bring all your stuff back. When you’re overseas and you have a kid, you have to be cautious buying stuff. Despite all that, it’s still worth it for the sake of being able to play professionally.
Photo/Sophia Törnell/Linköping HC
– Compiled by Chris Bayee