Getting to Know: goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis

Kristers Gudlevskis.

Status: Syracuse Crunch / Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender.

HT: 6-4 WT: 197 pounds
DOB: July 31, 1992 In: Aizkraukle, Latvia

First Hockey Memory: “When I watch a game? The World Championships, Latvian national team and Russia, 3-2. I think it was 2000 in Russia.”

Hockey Inspirations: “I love the feeling of making a save.”

Last Book Read: “Game of Thrones.”

Read more

Getting To Know: Shane Hnidy

Mark Malinowski
Shane Hnidy. (Getty Images)

Status: Former NHL defenseman from 1999-2011 for Ottawa, Nashville, Atlanta, Anaheim, Boston and Minnesota. Now works as a radio analyst covering the Winnipeg Jets.

HT: 6-1 WT: 204 pounds. DOB: November 8, 1975 In: Neepawa, Man.

First Hockey Memory: “Just playing road hockey with my friends back in my small hometown in Manitoba. That was something, every night the phone would ring – there were no cell phones then – someone would call, we’d set up the game if we had enough people. It was so cold in the winter and we’d be out there in our jerseys and whatever and we’d play road hockey under the street lights.”

Read more

Getting to Know: Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta

Antti Raanta (via NHL/YouTube)

Status: New York Rangers goaltender.

HT: 6-0 WT: 192 pounds
DOB: May 12, 1989 In: Rauma, Finland

First Hockey Memory: “I think when I went first time on the ice, I got my players skates and stepped on the ice. That was the biggest celebration when you fell all the time, skating a little bit forward and I didn’t fall down. So I think that was my first memory. If you think about games, I think ’95 when Finland was in the World Championship, that’s the first memory I remember about the hockey and winning something.”

Read more

Getting to Know: Eddie Olczyk

Mark Malinowski
Ed Olczyk. (Getty Images)

Status: NHL center from 1984-2000 with Chicago, Toronto, Winnipeg, New York Rangers, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh. Currently serves as color commentator for NHL On NBC and Chicago Blackhawks games. Also former coach of Penguins (2003-2005).

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 200 pounds
DOB: August 16, 1966 In: Chicago, IL

First Hockey Memory: “Stepping on the ice and falling down, crying and wanting to get off the ice with my mom (Diana) standing there, telling me to give it a chance. Obviously, I’m glad she did [smiles]. But it was pretty intimidating putting on those pair of skates and stepping on the ice for the very first time. That was my introduction to skating.”

Read more

Getting To Know: Jets center Mathieu Perreault

Mark Malinowski
(Jonathan Kozub/Getty Images)

 

Status: Winnipeg Jets center.

Ht: 5-10 Wt: 188 pounds
DOB: January 5, 1988 In: Drummondville, Que.

First Hockey Memory: “You’re taking me back a long time ago [smiles]. I started skating at four years old and I had an older brother (Danny) fourteen months older. My dad took us to the outdoor rinks. We just learned how to skate and play hockey. Just fell in love with the game right away.”

Hockey Inspirations: “My mom’s brother played in the NHL – Daniel Marois. He played in Toronto, with Boston and with the Islanders. So he had a pretty long career. I guess it was in the family blood.”

Read more

Getting to Know: former Oilers defenseman Charlie Huddy

Mark Malinowski
Charlie Huddy. (Getty Images)

Status: Winnipeg Jets assistant coach. Former NHL defenseman from 1979-1997 for Edmonton, Los Angeles, Buffalo and St. Louis. Won five Stanley Cups as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

HT: 6-0 WT: 200 pounds

DOB: June 2, 1959 In: Oshawa, Ont.

First Hockey Memory: “I think just getting started playing hockey. I didn’t play hockey at the start. I went to power skating classes and took those first and then got into hockey from there. I actually started as a forward playing minor hockey which is kinda funny. Then changed back to defense later as I moved up in the age group.”

Read more

Getting To Know: Red Wings right winger Tomas Jurco

Mark Malinowski
Tomas Jurco (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Status: Detroit Red Wings right winger.

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 203 pounds
DOB: Dec. 28, 1992 In: Kosice, SVK

First Hockey Memory: “I really don’t know what’s my first – let’s put pond hockey when I was little in my hometown in the winter. Just went with my parents and sister. That’s some nice memories. We were playing outside.”

Hockey Inspirations: “I never had one player idol. I always looked up to all the players and all the videos. I remember it was called NHL Power Week – a TV show here. And we’d record on TV and watch it later for next few years.”

Read more

Getting to Know: Lighting defenseman Slater Koekkoek

Mark Malinowski
Slater Koekkoek. (Getty Images)

Status: Tampa Bay Lighting defenseman

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 198 pounds
DOB: February 18, 1994 In: Winchester, Ont.

First Hockey Memory: “Just going to the rink in my hometown in Winchester. But then in public school we’d always skate during recess. So that was probably my first real go at it. And I loved it. I took my skates to school every day and couldn’t wait for recess obviously [smiles].”

Hockey Inspirations: “My grandfather (Willie Sherwood) played a lot of hockey growing up. He actually went to camp with Gordie Howe.”

Last Book Read: “James Duthie – The Guy On The Left.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “First NHL game last year.”

Read more