The junior forward from Smoky Lake, Alberta, has eight goals and six assists for 14 points this season and 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points in his career. The 5-foot-10, 179-pounder was born in Pretoria, South Africa.
Q: Born in South Africa, how long did you live there?
A: I lived there until I was about 9 years old.
Q: How did you wind up in Alberta?
A: My dad is a doctor and he got a good job. There was stuff going on between towns (in South Africa), a lot of criminal activity, so my dad wanted to get us out of there. It was pretty violent there. He wanted us to succeed, so he got us out.
Q: You still go back to South Africa once in a while?
A: I try to go back every summer, depending on how school goes and what I have for classes. I usually go back with my dad and go hunting.
Q: I’ve heard about some of your hunting experiences. What do you hunt there?
A: Warthog. Kudu. Gemsbok. Eland. Impala.
Q: I’m going to have to look most of those up (kudu, gemsbok and eland are all members of the antelope family). I heard you got a zebra, too?
A: Yeah, I got one over spring break last year. We lost out (in the WCHA playoffs) and my knee wasn’t healthy, so I went down there and had an opportunity with one of my cousins who said one of the farms was open and they needed a zebra shot.
Q: Your brother, Anton, is a golf pro, right?
A: He did play pro golf, but he finished about two years ago. He’s a smaller guy with a lot of torque (in his swing), and he ended up tearing up his shoulders and his knees got blown out. Now he’s just working … I think he’s taking welding instructor courses while seeing if he can rehab.
Q: I assume you’re a pretty good golfer, too. How much do you play?
A: I used to play in a lot of tournaments, but he would help me a lot with everything I needed — and my dad is a really competitive golfer. He went to school with Ernie Els and is good friends with him. When I get the chance I’ll go out and play, but the last five or six years it’s been mostly hockey. When you get a little time off in the summer, you spend as much time as you can on the golf course.
Q: I heard Tanner Lane is pretty good, who’s better?
A: I think Tanner has the edge on me. He went through high school on a team. I’m more of a casual golfer. We’ve got a few guys — Bryce Aneloski is a good golfer, and (James) Polk, (former Mav) Jayson Megna was really good and Jaycob (Megna), too.
Q: So how did you pick up hockey, because I assume that didn’t start until you moved to Canada?
A: My elementary school teacher saw me running track and field and playing soccer, saw that I was fast and asked if I’d like to play hockey. I grew up in a small town in Canada, and playing hockey is the thing to do. There’s nothing else to do there. They dressed me up, and I was awful my first year. I didn’t really want to play after that, but he and my dad put me in figure skating for about two hours a day, plus hockey practice, to get my balance. I did that for about three years, and after that I started making Triple A teams and becoming a top scorer. It (figure skating) really benefits you. You’d be surprised.