Editor's Note: Throughout the 2014-15 NHL season, USA Hockey Magazine will periodically highlight American-born players through various Q&A segments.
Zach Redmond is currently a defenseman with the Colorado Avalanche. The former Ferris State University standout (2007-11) tallied 22 goals and 68 assists over 141 games. During his senior year, Redmond was named to the All-CCHA First Team. Over the past three-plus seasons, the Houston native has spent time between the American Hockey League and the NHL. In 23 games with the Avalanche and the Winnipeg Jets, he's registered three goals and 10 assists in addition to a +4 rating.
1) You were born in Houston, not really a hockey hotbed but a growing presence there nonetheless. So, how did you come to know the sport of hockey and what motivated you to start playing this particular sport?
I was born in Houston but moved to Michigan when I was 3, so being around the sport more in Michigan and having a dad who played a bit growing up is what got me started at a very young age. I started playing when I was 4 or 5 and getting motivated to play the sport wasn't very difficult because I loved the game so much.
2) Besides hockey, what sports during the offseason did you participate in when you were in grade school/middle school?
Growing up, I played just about every sport I could. I gave football and basketball a try but didn't end up sticking with either for more than a year or two. Outside of hockey I played baseball and golf growing up until I had to move away from home to play hockey, which forced me to give up baseball.
3) What is your most vivid memory as a youngster playing hockey? Maybe a memorable goal? A tournament you won?
My most vivid memory as a kid with the sport of hockey was probably playing everyday after school at my friends backyard rink. We would play as much as we could and well into the night a lot of times.
4) When did you finally realize you wanted to commit to hockey full time?
I realized I wanted to play hockey full time when I was cut from a select team my Bantam year. Not making the team was a tough feeling, and it motivated me to put in the work and commit myself to the game.
5) You played with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League for two years before heading to Ferris State University. What made you choose this particular career route versus maybe the alternative and heading the major junior route with a team in the Canadian Hockey League?
Choosing between going to college and playing major junior was a very tough decision for me. I grew up loving to watch the Plymouth Whalers and eventually ended up getting drafted by them. It came down to decision time and ultimately getting to develop longer in Sioux Falls and then at Ferris State as well as getting my education won me over.
6) Which one or two players did you look up to in the NHL when you were a young kid? Anyone in particular you tried to model your game after? Why them?
Growing up I loved watching defensemen Jean Michael-Liles and Brian Leetch. I liked how they jumped up into the rush and made things happen offensively.
7) How much have small area games been incorporated into your practices at both the collegiate and professional level? What types of skills have you taken away from those situations?
Small area games have been part of practice and games my entire career. It helps with understanding how to make things happen in tight spaces and how to create room for yourself as well as how to use your body and shield the puck.
8) What does a typical training day look like for you as you gear up for the 2014-15 season?
A typical training day for me in the summer is either a weight training session or a cardio/plyometric session depending on the day. I usually get the workout done in the morning and try and get on the ice or shoot pucks in the afternoon. It varies depending on the time of summer. Usually the training is increased as the season gets closer.
9) What advice can you give a young 10-year-old kid playing youth hockey who aspires to play junior, college or even professional hockey?
I would tell a young kid that's trying to play junior, college or pro, just to have fun and work hard every day. If it's a passion, neither of those things will seem difficult.