Taking Liberties With… Taylor Maruya
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Position: Forward & co-captain, Army West Point (Atlantic Hockey)
Youth Teams: LA Jr. Kings, Bay Harbor Red Wings
California Rubber: You were recently selected one of Army’s captains. What was your reaction when you found out?
Taylor Maruya: I’m lucky enough to have been selected. I get to be a co-captain with Dalton MacAfee. I’m happy my teammates and coaches trusted me with this. I’m looking forward to doing the best that I can.
CR: Who are some of the leaders you’ve looked up to?
TM: Playing here the past couple of years, guys like Tyler Pham, Ryan Nick and Joe Koziak have been great role models for me. I always like watching Anze Kopitar of the Kings. He’s a really humble player. I always liked how hard he played at both ends of the ice.
CR: You haven’t always been a forward. Please tell us more.
TM: I started as a goalie with Bay Harbor as a first-year Mite. I’ve been a forward ever since then when I started playing with Jr. Kings.
CR: Would you borrow a goalie’s gear for an Army practice?
TM: No way.
CR: You didn’t have the typical college athlete summer schedule. What did you do?
TM: I got a week off after school ended. I came back to West Point for CLDT – a three-week field exercise with all the rising juniors and seniors. It’s basically some Army stuff out in the woods. I had two weeks off, then flew out to Germany for CTLT (Cadet Troop Leader Training), shadowing a lieutenant in the Army for three weeks. You get to see what the actual Army is like.
CR: What would you tell a player who might be hesitant to consider playing at a military academy?
TM: I hadn’t heard anything about West Point until an assistant contacted me at a showcase. I’d recommend coming to visit. It might not be what you think it is. If I was able to make it this far, there isn’t another who can’t do the same.
CR: During your time at home, what is your go-to meal?
TM: The first thing I do is when I get off the airplane is go to In-N-Out. I get the Double Double with grilled onions and lemonade.
CR: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
TM: Anze Kopitar is a good one, but (Kings forward) Trevor Lewis is my all-time favorite. He’s always been the hardest-working guy on the ice. I try to model my game after his.
CR: Do you have any superstitions?
TM: A couple. The first one is it doesn’t matter what piece of equipment it is, if there is a left and a right, I’m putting the left on first. When I am walking out at home games, walk through stick room and training room to the hallway, always hit the last door twice in training room. If I don’t, I just don’t feel right. And I always have to play sewer ball with a soccer ball before the game with my teammates.
CR: Do you have a favorite piece of gear?
TM: Skates. I’ve used Bauer Supremes for 4-5 years. I’ve tried on different kinds of Bauers, but there is no skate that feels right for me except the Supremes.
CR: Do you have a favorite hockey road trip?
TM: Probably my favorite is to go to Rochester (N.Y.) to play RIT. Playing at that rink is one of the best experiences I’ve had. Their fans are crazy. They have a decent amount of fans and they have all their mid-game chants and the student chants.
CR: Do you have a favorite sport other than hockey?
TM: College football. I’m always watching on Saturday. I’m always pulling for the USC Trojans.
CR: What if California schools followed Arizona State’s lead and added D-I college hockey?
TM: It would be great for the sport, and for the kids playing there in youth hockey, it gives them something else to shoot for. If they don’t want to leave California, they can play and get a good education.
Photo/Army Athletic Communications
– Compiled by Chris Bayee
(Nov. 14, 2018)