Taking Liberties With… Zac Rinaldo
Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes
Hometown: Mississauga, Ont., Canada
NHL Draft: Selected by Philadelphia in the sixth round (178th overall) in the 2008 NHL Draft
Acquired: Signed one-year contract as a free agent with Coyotes on July 1, 2017
Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up?
Zac Rinaldo: That was winning a championship when I was eight years old. I scored the overtime goal to win. That was very exciting, and I’ll always remember that.
AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey?
ZR: Just being here in the NHL. There’s no one game which stands out in my mind. Being here in general is a great achievement. One thing that pans out particularly is fighting Jarome Iginla. For me, that was a pretty cool thing. I watched Jarome growing up and then I was able to play against him. Not only play against him but fight him, too. That was pretty cool.
AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice?
ZR: I looked up to Eric Lindros as a player on the ice and his influences off the ice. Other than that, I really don’t have any. No other influences, just by myself.
AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players?
ZR: Stay healthy.
AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play?
ZR: No other sports, just hockey. I tried football and during one practice, I sprained my thumb. After that, I said, “I’m done.”
AZR: Do you have any superstitions?
ZR: No, I kind of go with the flow. Whatever I did before in that previous game and if I played well, I’ll just continue. I don’t pinpoint certain things at the beginning of the season. I just go with the flow. Whatever my body needs, I’ll keep going with it.
AZR: What does your game-day routine look like?
ZR: I’ll skate in the morning, go home, eat, sleep, head out, stop for a coffee at Starbucks, and drive to the game. That’s about it.
AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip?
ZR: Head phones – that’s the most important thing. If I don’t have my head phones, I’m lost. My wallet, too, plus my phone and head phones, and I’m ready. Yeah, a phone charger, forgot about that. You know what, I’ve forgot my phone charger plenty of times and I’ll ask one of the guys. Sometimes, I’ll call down to the front desk and they always have an extra charger.
AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up?
ZR: Yeah, I liked Eric Lindros and Pavel Bure. Those were my favorites.
– Compiled by Mark Brown
(May 15, 2018)