Taking Liberties With… Shane Harper
Forward, Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Last Amateur Team: Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Youth Programs: Valencia Flyers, California Wave, Los Angeles Jr. Kings
California Rubber: What’s the best piece of advice you have for a youth hockey player or parent?
Shane Harper: When I think back to why I was successful, it’s because I had fun playing the game and I just enjoyed it. Every day after school I didn’t want to play video games; I just wanted to play street hockey in the driveway. I just had fun with it, and from having fun with it I just got better over time.
CR: What’s your favorite sport to play other than hockey?
SH: Golf. It’s always fun to be outside. It’s always fun to joke around with the guys.
CR: What’s your game-day routine and your go-to pregame meal?
SH: During the pre game skate, I try to get 2-3 sticks ready to go, make sure they’re the same in case one breaks. I’m pretty particular with my sticks. I put a wooden knob that’s rounded off on the end of each stick so I have to make sure that’s all good. I always bike after a pregame skate, then foam roll and stretch. I try to get real loose. For my pregame meal, I love to go to Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill. Before the game, I do a hard warm-up. I’m usually sweating pretty good before I take the ice.
CR: Are there other pieces of gear besides your sticks you’re particular about?
SH: My gloves. I’m pretty picky about all my gear. I hate new gear. Some guys love it, but I can’t stand it. The trainers are always trying to throw mine in the trash because I just like my stuff real broken in and loose.
CR: If we opened your hockey bag, what might we be surprised to find?
SH: I carry more stuff than the random person. I’ll have sandpaper, a saw, a glue gun, extra plugs in my bag, glue sticks. I basically have it all. Like I said, I’m particular about my sticks. If I ever need to cut a new stick, I can heat it up and sand the ends of it. Then I have a golf ball in there to stickhandle with.
CR: If you’re going on a long trip, what are some essentials for you?
SH: My iPad; I love that thing. I watch movies. A pillow is essential on a bus trip. A big sweatshirt so you’re comfortable. I try to bring some snacks because the guys are always hungry. And sleep well before you leave.
CR: What is your favorite hockey memory before you reached the pros?
SH: When I played for Team USA (in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament in the Czech Republic) when I was about 18. That was a big deal to represent our country. I loved my time in Everett; I was real happy I went there (to play junior).
CR: Do you have a favorite restaurant in Southern California? What is your go-to meal?
SH: It’s got to be Kabuki Sushi (in Los Angeles). My favorite roll there is a shrimp tempura or albacore crunch roll.
CR: Was there a hockey player you idolized growing up?
SH: Wayne Gretzky. My first season of ice, he signed his oldest son and daughter up for house league and they happened to be placed on my team at the Iceoplex (in North Hills, where the Kings practiced). He came to my seventh birthday party – and he was Wayne Gretzky – so it was pretty easy to decide who it was.
CR: If you weren’t playing professional hockey, what would you be doing for a living?
SH: I’d like to say I’d be a golfer, but I don’t think I’m that good. I’ve always been interested in real estate.
CR: What’s the most challenging aspect of playing pro hockey?
SH: I think the travel in Chicago is better than when I was in Adirondack, but the travel is pretty tough. The competition is great. It’s a really fast-paced game, and you have to make decisions quickly. There’s a lot of things going on where you could be sent down. You have to keep a level head.
CR: What’s the funniest hockey prank you’ve witness or been a part of?
SH: When I played in Everett, my buddy Zach Hamill had this tiny little Ford. One day the guys thought we could pick it. So we were able to pick up Hamill’s car and move it over a couple of spots up against a wall so he had to get in through the passenger’s door. There must have been eight of us trying to move this car.
CR: Any superstitions you care to tell us about?
SH: I guess I am. After I do my warm-up and take off my shoes to get dressed, I always stand on my shoes or put my feet in sandals so my feet don’t touch the ground. After the game I’ll walk around in my socks, but before the game I don’t like my socks to get dirty before I put on my skates.
Compiled by Chris Bayee