Taking Liberties With … Chris Wagner
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Position: Forward, Colorado Avalanche
Hometown: Walpole, Mass.
Height/Weight: 6-feet, 195 pounds
Last Amateur Team: Colgate University (ECAC Hockey)
Acquired: Claimed off waivers from Anaheim, Nov. 15, 2015
Drafted: Anaheim’s fifth-round pick (122nd overall) in 2010 NHL draft
Colorado Rubber: What’s some advice you have for a young hockey player and his/her parents?
Chris Wagner: For the player, it takes a lot of hard work and practice. For the parent, you don’t want to force the kid into playing too much. It’s important when you’re little to mix in some other sports and just have fun.
CR: What is your game-day routine and pre-game meal?
CW: We usually have morning skates and here, pretty much everything is provided for you at the rink. At home games, there’s a certain spot every game and I get the same thing – pasta bolanaise with chicken, side salad and ice cream. I usually take an hour nap. I’ve always said that I pride myself on not being superstitious. I don’t know if that makes me superstitious (laughing).
CR: What is your favorite sport outside hockey and why?
CW: I like watching football, but I play golf all summer and that’s about my favorite thing. My handicap is about a 10, but I’m getting better. I play a fair amount.
CR: What was your favorite hockey moment before playing in the NHL?
CW: I didn’t have that many cool experiences. We had a really good team in high school and all my buddies were on it. We went to the (Massachusetts) state semifinals and that was probably the most fun I had growing up. It was the furthest our school – Xaverian Brothers High School – ever went past the quarterfinals or something. We lost in the semifinals before getting to (TD) Garden and the championship.
CR: If you weren’t playing hockey for a living, what would you be doing?
CW: I was an English major in school, which I will probably never use in my life. A lot of my buddies work at this certain company, EMC, and I’d probably be a sales person in tech stuff in Boston. My dad also owns his own company, distributing hardware – nuts and bolts and things – so I might be there with him.
CR: What is your favorite aspect of growing up in the New England area?
CW: Probably going to the Cape (Cod), the vacation shot. I had a lot of good summer memories there with my grandparents and now, a lot of our buddies’ parents have houses down there. My parents rent for a couple weeks at a time and it’s always been my favorite thing to do in the summer.
CR: What would you say is the most challenging aspect of playing in the NHL?
CW: You play so many games and you want to be as good as you possibly can every night. It’s a grind, traveling and everything, so it’s really about consistency. You just have to remember how many guys want to be here and take your spot and that should get you through most nights.
CR: What is your favorite vacation spot?
CW: Man, I honestly haven’t been many places. But I went to Italy with Colgate, the whole hockey team, for two weeks and that was awesome. Best trip I’ve been on.
CR: Who was the player you most idolized growing up, and why?
CW: When I was really little, it was Cam Neely because he was a Boston guy. Played really hard, but could score, too. I went through an 88 phase with Eric Lindros. He was a big power forward. But there’s a lot of guys I’m playing against now that I looked up to.
CR: What’s the one thing people should know about you?
CW: I go to church a lot and I’m Christian. The other thing is I’m from Boston.
Photo/Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images
— Compiled by Mike Chambers