Taking Liberties With… Valencia native, Jr. Ducks, Jr. Kings alum Ethan Wolthers
Position: Forward, Wenatchee Wild (BCHL)
California Youth Teams: Anaheim Jr. Ducks, LA Jr. Kings, West Ranch High School
California Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up?
Ethan Wolthers: My favorite hockey memory growing up was being able to play in the Quebec Pee Wee tournament. Playing in that tournament will be a memory I will never forget. I mounted a GoPro on my helmet for the warmups in Le Colisee. It was so amazing. I also watched Anthony Duclair when he was on the Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) and I followed him up until now in the NHL. He is a smaller guy just like me who made it.
CR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving California?
EW: Definitely scoring my first junior goal (for Cedar Rapids in the USHL in 2018-19). We were up 2-0 in Chicago our third game of the year and I hadn’t scored a point yet. They pulled the goalie with two minutes left in the game and my coach put me out there. I was a young guy out in a key possession, and I couldn’t mess this shift up. I got the puck deep in our defensive zone and instead of chipping the puck out I just shot it from inside our zone on net. I ended up scoring, and I felt like so much weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Just funny because my first junior goal was an empty netter.
CR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice?
EW: Aside from my parents (Monica and Marcel), my biggest influences have to be Ron Johnson, my skills coach in Vancouver, and my previous coaches Scott Niedermayer, Craig Johnson and Alex Kim. I have learned so much from these coaches and they have really furthered my hockey career and myself as a person. Off the ice has been my brother Nic and my strength trainer Dave Eastham who trains tons of professional athletes, including NHL players Kevan Miller and Shane Harper.
CR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players?
EW: Never stop working. Everyone will doubt you and say you don’t have what it takes, but you get out what you put in. Give it your all, all the time. I’ve never been given anything; I’ve had to work for everything. Living by this will only further my career and my future.
CR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play?
EW: While my passion now is ice hockey, growing up, I raced BMX bikes. I was a three-time individual world champion and three-time Team USA world champion. Now, during the offseason, I really like to mountain bike long trails and through the mountains. I have come to realize that riding bikes is what made me what I am today, so getting back on a bike and getting in a hard workout kind of brings me back to my roots and how I grew up.
CR: Do you have any superstitions?
EW: I know lots of guys have some real funny superstitions, like wearing old underwear or making sure they eat the same meals before a game. I don’t have any real superstitions, just routines I like to follow. I like to meditate and listen to calming music to ease my mind and body before playing.
CR: What does your game-day routine look like?
EW: My traditional game day routine would look like this: Wake up 7 a.m., breakfast 7:30 a.m., morning skate 9 a.m., stretch 11 a.m., rest: 12-3 p.m., pregame meal 3:25 p.m., head to rink 4:45 p.m., warm up 5:30 p.m., meditate 6 p.m., game time 7 p.m.
CR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here back home in California?
EW: Coming from SoCal, it’s pretty obvious what my answer will be: In-N-Out. You can never go wrong with In-N-Out.
CR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip?
EW: Playing in Wenatchee, we frequently have long road trips to deep into Canada. I have to make sure I have the proper gear for trips like that. Our bus is pretty cool. It used to be a country tour bus, so it’s meant for comfort on long road trips with lots of room inside. I always make sure I bring AirPods, my neck pillow (can’t leave without it), gum, computer, protein bars, beef jerky, and can’t forget water.
CR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up?
EW: My favorite player is Bobby Ryan. He came through the Jr. Kings organization just like I did and then played for the Ducks in the NHL. He had a challenging path to the NHL, and I admire the success he has achieved.
Photo/Russ Alman/Digital Media Northwest
— Compiled by Matt Mackinder
(Sept. 17, 2020)