Taking Liberties With… Taylor Aronson
Position: Defenseman, Milwaukee Admirals (AHL)
Drafted: Nashville Predators’ third-round pick (78th overall) in 2010 NHL draft
Youth Programs: Ontario Senators, California Wave, Los Angeles Jr. Kings
California Rubber: What is your favorite hockey memory growing up?
Taylor Aronson: The competition. We always had strong competition and that made it more fun than anything. You’d have Mitch Callahan’s team, which his dad coached. Or you’d play Beau Bennett and Tyler Maxwell’s team. Every club had certain players that made it fun going against each other. I played roller against all those guys as well, which was another battle.
CR: Who have been the biggest influences on you on and off the ice?
TA: My parents have been a big help. Dave Cairns, my roller coach, was huge. I only played two years of AAA before I got drafted. Mike Lewis was a good teacher for me. Jack Bowkus was one of a kind as a coach. I’ve been very fortunate with the coaches I’ve had. Mike Johnston and Travis Green were tremendous coaches. I was pretty lucky.
CR: What advice would you give young hockey players?
TA: Keep your nose to the grindstone. There is going to be adversity along the road, but you just got to keep doing what you love until you stop loving what you do. Then you stop.
CR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play?
TA: I tried baseball and soccer and tennis, but I hated running. In baseball, I was just in the outfield, so I was bored.
CR: What is your game-day routine like?
TA: After breakfast, I go to the rink to stretch and skate. On the way home, I either pick up Noodles or Chipotle or Qdoba. Maybe watch TV or play Xbox. Take a nap. I usually get to the rink two and a half hours or three before the game. I’ll stretch, play some Superball and then it’s game time.
CR: Are there are any pieces of gear you’re particular about?
TA: Not really. It has changed. I have a sort of order for putting pads on. I don’t care about it, but I do have an order. I used to think about stuff like that, but it’s not worth it to worry about. I focus on the game, not all the little stuff.
CR: What are essential items to take on a road trip?
TA: A suit, a charger and your toothbrush are all you need. You usually fly in with a suit. We get to the rink and change into our workout stuff. We get to a hotel and go to sleep. If you’re on a bus, you’re in a track suit. It’s not like we have much time to do stuff. You fly in the night before, practice in the morning, have a game that night and then fly out the next morning. It’s pretty quick.
CR: When you’re back in California, do you have a favorite meal or restaurant?
TA: Obviously, In-N-Out is a huge thing for everyone. I love sushi and Mexican food. No place has better Mexican food.
CR: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
TA: I loved Mike Modano, how he played. He was fun to watch.
CR: If you weren’t playing pro hockey, what do you think you’d be doing?
TA: I have no idea. If I had quit hockey around 18, I probably would have become a fireman.
CR: What is the most challenging aspect of playing pro hockey?
TA: It’s not just the physical part, it’s very, very tough mentally. If you’re not a first-round pick or their No. 1, it’s very, very difficult at times. Things aren’t going to make sense, so you’ve just got to deal with them and push on. It’s a lot bigger mental game than I realized it would be. I wished I knew more of that before.
– Compiled by Chris Bayee