For young hockey players with NHL dreams in their eyes, here's some pithy advice from Vancouver Canucks player Tanner Glass: have fun while you play.
"Growing up, I was never the best player ever, but you've got to keep working on it and keep developing your game. What I tell the kids is that, go to the rink and try to have some fun every day. Succeeding is fun, and the more fun you have the better you can be," Glass said.
Glass was in Squamish on Friday, June 4, to party with some contest winners at the Rock Bar & Grill at the Chances Boardwalk casino. Glass is 26 and presents himself as an unpretentious guy, as someone who he's discovering, in his words, the "privilege" of being a hockey player in this country.
He seemed cool, yet confident about his one-year-old foray in the NHL. He has previously played for the Florida Panthers and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Rochester Americans.
Glass was drafted into the NHL in 2003. He was later picked by the Canucks as their 13th forward when the Panthers delayed on signing him. He moved to Vancouver in September last year, where he's discovering the city and its peripheries. And of course, there is always "the hockey love" he promotes wherever he goes.
"The people are really nice in Vancouver and they love hockey, and everything is just so easy. My fiancé is from Seattle and it's quite a common ground for us. We got engaged a couple of weeks ago in Tofino and we are looking to buy a home in Vancouver," he said.
This was his first time driving on the Sea to Sky Highway and his reaction is quite common to those who visit these parts for the first time.
"The drive was spectacular," he said of the drive on Sea to Sky Highway, "it's definitely a place that I'd love to come back to. It's so busy for us, we are playing almost every day so we don't get a lot of time off, but I think I have to come back again." he said.
On his time in the Canucks and his personal highs he said it was "a great year" for him and some of his highlights include his first goal and his first NHL fight. On the team he says he has found a mentor in Mikael Samuelsson.
"He was very positive the whole time. If he saw that I wasn't playing well, he was always willing to give a little pep talk and he'd be like, 'we need you to keep going.' He always has great words of encouragement."
For his personal goals, he wants to nail down a spot on the third line and be a relied upon player on the penalty. He says if he could meet those goals and work harder on being a better player overall, he can secure a future in the NHL for at least a decade. This summer, he's hoping to catch some World Cup soccer action in South Africa with his fiancé, but when he comes back there's more training ahead at the GM place building.
"This is my first full year in NHL, and I'm still kind-a still settling in." he said.