Zack Stortini (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
In this week's Getting To Know, Zack Stortini talks about growing up in Sudbury, his love for the Wolves old jersey and how he embarrassed himself in the warm-up of his first NHL game.
Status: Lehigh Valley Phantoms center.
HT: 6-4 WT: 232 pounds
DOB: September 11, 1985 In: Elliot Lake, Ontario
First Hockey Memory: "Maybe as a young kid, driving to the Copper Cliff Arena in Sudbury with my parents, for practice, getting dressed and playing. Early morning practices and games."
Hockey Inspirations: "First of all, like all kids, my parents were always there for me. They supported me through thick and thin from day one, sticking with me my whole career, even today. They're always there for support. Player-wise, I always liked Gordie Howe, Eric Lindros. And I really like the way Todd Bertuzzi plays the game of hockey."
Last Book Read: "Everyday Leadership By Bill Clement. I had the opportunity to meet him. He gave me a copy of his book. It's a great read. I'm very thankful for all his advice and support as well."
Current Car: "Dodge Ram pick-up (black). I've had it for quite a while."
Greatest Sports Moment: "I've been very fortunate, I've had lots of memorable moments. Calder Cup in the American Hockey League, my second year pro (with Hamilton in 2007). Scoring my first NHL goal (vs. Luongo/Vancouver). Playing my first NHL game (with Edmonton against Calgary) is something I won't forget."
Most Painful Moment: "I don't know. Can we skip that one?"
Favorite Uniforms: "I don't now. That's a good question. I'm a fan of my old Sudbury Wolves old retro green jersey."
Favorite Rinks To Play: "Any of the Original Six arenas. And the PPL Center in Allentown is a great rink to play. We have a lot of great fans."
Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: "I love the competition. The spirit of the game, the passion, emotion. The simple fundamental parts of the game. Going out there and battling, using skill and brute force to try to put the puck in the net. There's no better feeling than working with twenty guys and winning a hockey game."
Most Memorable Goal: "Probably my first NHL goal. Sykora shot it from the left side, the rebound came to me and I shot it into the net."
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: "During warm-up before my first NHL game. I got the blade of my stick caught in the skate of our goalie (Dwayne Roloson)"
Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: "I like golf a lot. And squash."
Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: "I'm a big Muhammad Ali fan. I enjoy reading all his biographies. I know you wrote a book about Roger Federer (Thanks for the plug!), he's another athlete I like to watch and follow. Since football season just ended - I like to see Eddie Lacy with Green Bay run the ball. And Marshawn Lynch with the Seattle Seahawks."
First Famous Player You Met or Encountered: "As a young player I was really lucky to be invited to skate with Troy Crowder and Andrew Brunette when I was fourteen or fifteen. It was incredible to skate with them and learn what it takes to be a good pro."
Funniest Players Encountered: "I'd say Matt Greene. He could make anybody laugh, either the boys in the locker room or parents who come down for a visit."
Fiercest Competitors Encountered: "I would say the core leadership, Steve Staios, Ethan Moreau, Jason Smith in Edmonton. They were a great example."
Strangest Game: "First year pro in Iowa, half-way through the game, the refrigeration system broke. The ice started melting and the game was postponed and we finished it weeks later."
Personality Qualities Most Admired: "Hard work and honesty. Having a good work ethic. Being honest with people is very important. Two good qualities that you want in another human being. My parents - both my mother and father - have given me great support throughout my life. I really respect their work ethic and how hard they worked. I've also been very lucky to have two coaches, Terry Murray and Bert Templeton, two coaches I respect a lot."
Mark "Scoop" Malinowski is the author of the new tennis books "Facing Federer" and "Facing Hewitt" which are available at amazon. He's currently working on "Facing Probert."