The Allen Americans over the summer have added some new talent to the roster. One of them is defenseman Garrett Clarke, who is trying to prove to the Americans and the rest of the hockey world that he can play hockey at the professional level. There have been a lot of highs and lows up and downs in such a young hockey player’s life; he is currently playing his first year with the Allen Americans after not playing last year. After a recent practice, I sat down with Clarke, the Moncton, New Brunswick native, to learn about why he decided to go to Allen after being released from the East Coast Hockey League, his style of play and found out when he first started playing hockey.
BlackoutDallas: This is your first year with the Allen Americans. How do you like it so far?
Garrett Clarke: I think it’s great. I really like the area, I like the coaches. Basically the whole organization from top to bottom, it’s first class and just really happy to be here. I am happy to be on a winning team. I think if we know we get it all together, I think we are going to be a pretty tough team to even lose the game to. I can’t see us with our team going a 100%. I can’t see any team really beating us for the rest of the year.
BD: Why did you decided to come to Allen?
GC: I got released in East Coast Hockey League and went back home, I was kind of going to school and then I got a call from my agent who talked to Marty (Martinson) about it, said it was being a really good place and I didn’t really know anything about it. So I did my homework and right off the bat, I was really interested in coming, knew nothing about the team but like I said. But I did my homework like I said and turned out to be a blessing in disguise I guess.
BD: What school did you go to? What school was it?
GC: Oh I wasn’t enroll anywhere. I was going to go to University of New Brunswick.
BD: How do you describe your style of play?
GC: I think I got a decent all-around game. I got to work on my defensive game and I think I am a pretty tough player to play against. I like to play rough and gritty and stuff, kind of throw the body around and fight once in a while.
BD: What improvements did you make in the off season besides hangout with your family and friends?
GC: I learned how to play forward again I guess. I went to Tampa Bay’s development camp as a forward so worked a lot throughout the summer with my offensive game.
BD: How was that experience?
GC: It was good. I really liked it and I went down there. I did pretty well and obviously I had the transition from going back to defense and all after not playing D for a while and not skating backwards for awhile. It was kind of tough. The adjustment period was pretty quick.
BD: What role do you see yourself with the team?
GC: I mean I normally was an offensive defenseman but now I think kind of harnessing that role better. Like I said I am just trying to work on my d-man zone game, trying to be more defensively sound and try to chip in every once in a while with the offensive but I mean we have all the right guys that can put the puck in the net so that’s not really a problem. Like the coach said a defense wins championships and I just want to be the best that I can be right now at on the back end.
BD: What age did you start playing hockey?
GC: I started playing organize when I was four and I started skating when I was 18 months so pretty early.
BD: Who inspired you to play?
GC: Well my mom got me started like she started me off with the skating. Obviously my dad got me into hockey. I mean right away I didn’t hate it. I was so bad but I mean I just kept working at it.
BD: So did you grow up in Ontario?
GC: No I grew up in New Brunswick.
BD: What part of it?
BD: Did you have any hockey players that you grew up that you like watching?
GC: I was a big Eric Lindros fan and right now, I am more of a Mike Green. I like Mike Green. A good player to look up to.
BD: Do you see yourself playing in the NHL one day?
GC: I mean I got a lot of work to do but I can…I loved to get a shot some day. I mean obviously I got to work my way up to the American League first but then kind of take it day by day. I guess it all starts here and just got to try to get better everyday.
BD: Do you like any music before you get ready for the game?
GC: No not really. I have no superstitious or anything. I try to switch it up every day because I mean if something happens someday then my routine gets messed up and might be a little mentally out of it so I just try to switch it every day so that I won’t be.
BD: Are you an only child or did you grew up someone?
GC: I have an older sister.