TAKING LIBERTIES WITH … Derek Brown
Current team: Odessa Jackalopes (NAHL)
Last Arizona-based team: Phoenix Jr. Coyotes 18U Elite AAA
Arizona Rubber: What’s the best piece of advice you have for youth hockey players and parents?
Derek Brown: If you love it you’ve got to keep playing. I feel like there’s a lot of people that don’t love it. As long as you love the game, you can really take it as far as you want to go. I really feel that hockey is a good sport to put your kid in because you make a lot of friendships along the way. I still have friends that don’t play hockey any more, but I met them playing hockey when I was younger and I’m still great friends with them. I definitely feel like it’s a game where everybody gets super close.
AZR: What’s your favorite sport to play (or watch) outside of hockey?
DB: I love watching the NFL and it’s fun when the Cardinals are pretty good. The only other sports I played growing up were a little bit of baseball and soccer, but overall, my favorite sport besides hockey is definitely football. I just love watching it.
AZR: What’s your best hockey memory from your youth playing days?
DB: Pee Wee year when I was playing for the Lemieux Academy, we went to Quebec (for the annual Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament) and played in front of thousands of fans. It was pretty cool being that young and playing in that nice of a stadium with that many people watching.
AZR: Do you have any pregame superstitions? What’s your pregame routine like?
DB: Not really, actually. I don’t like to have superstitions because I feel like that kind of just gets in my head. I have a routine I follow every day and if I miss something it’s not that big of a deal. Normally, I’ll have chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli. That’s normally the go-to. A couple hours before the game I’ll have a bowl of oatmeal. It keeps me full and makes sure I have a lot of energy right before the game.
AZR: What’s your favorite restaurant back home in Peoria/Phoenix?
DB: That’s a tough one. There are a lot of restaurants I like. I really like pizza and there’s a place called Ray’s Pizza that’s been right by my house growing up. When I go home, I always ask for Ray’s Pizza for a night.
AZR: You’ve committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at Niagara University. What was the process like coming to that decision?
DB: We had a showcase at the beginning of last season and I had a pretty good start to the season and I remember coach (Greg Gatto) kept calling me in saying this school is interested or that school is interested. A couple weeks later, those schools started calling and I took my time and talked to the coaching staff. They helped me make my decision and I just wanted to go where I would like the most and I really like the Niagara coaching staff and I felt like they really believed in me and that’s why I chose it. I’m pretty excited to get there, but at the same time, I’m really enjoying this last year of juniors. It’s my third year here and I’m trying to make it last because it’s the only time I’m going to play junior hockey again. I’m just trying to enjoy that for now but I am super excited. I have to get some warm clothes because I don’t have much.
AZR: What’s the best hockey prank you’ve witnessed or been a part of?
DB: We would put water cups in people’s gloves or helmets so when they were getting dressed they would be pouring water all over themselves. We always used to mess around.
— Compiled by Brett Fera