Taking Liberties With… Clayton Keller
Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes
Hometown: Chesterfield, Mo.
Acquired: Coyotes’ first-round pick (seventh overall) in 2016 NHL Draft
Last Amateur Team: Boston University (Hockey East)
Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up?
Clayton Keller: Favorite memory was winning the Sliver Sticks when I was 10 years old. Also, winning the national championships when I was 15. That was the national under-18 championship.
AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey?
CK: Not really a memory right now. Just to meet great NHL players and being around these guys. Shane Doan was one of the guys who was really nice to me. He told me to enjoy every moment it because it goes by quickly. I’m just coming to enjoy everything, and it’s all cool.
AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice?
CK: Probably my grandfather. He was the one who took me everywhere growing up, and he is the reason why I am here today. So, everything I do is for him.
AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players?
CK: Just keep working hard and never let anyone get down on you. I was always told I was too small when I was younger and that’s why I work harder. To be successful, I have to work twice as hard as anyone else.
AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play?
CK: Baseball and golf. I’m a big golfer right now.
AZR: Do you have any superstitions?
CK: Yeah, I have a few. Always put on my left skate and left shin pads first. That’s about it.
AZR: What does your game-day routine look like?
CK: Nothing too particular there. First thing I do when I get to the rink is tape my sticks.
AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area?
CK: I haven’t been here long enough for that.
AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip?
CK: Obviously, a suit and you always need a deck of cards. iPhone and headphones, too. Yep, those things are important. Always have to listen to music.
AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up?
CK: I had a few. Growing up in St. Louis, my favorite Blues player was probably Keith Tkachuk. He was playing for the Blues when I real young, and another favorite player is (Chicago Blackhawks star) Patrick Kane.
– Compiled by Mark Brown
(Oct. 18, 2017)