Taking Liberties With… Michael Bunting
Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes/Tucson Roadrunners
Hometown: Scarborough, Ont., Canada
NHL Draft: Selected by Coyotes in fourth round (117th overall) of 2014 NHL Draft
Last Amateur Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up?
Michael Bunting: It was when we won the city championship in high school with all my buddies from back home. That was a pretty cool experience. I’d have a lot of fun experiences, but that was one of the top ones.
AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey?
MB: It was getting called up the NHL for the first time. That was the coolest thing, for sure. I was pretty excited and also scoring my first goal was definitely cool. I had all my friends and family there in Boston. Scored on Tuukka Rask. Really special.
AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice?
MB: Probably my parents. My parents did everything for me. Growing up, they drove me everywhere. You name it in Toronto, any rink, every game, and no matter what time it was. Whether it was 6 a.m. or 10 at night, they were there.
AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players?
MB: Everyone takes a different route to get to where they are. I didn’t take the normal route. Be patient and don’t worry if you get passed up on the first time. Anything is possible.
AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play?
MB: I like basketball and volleyball. I usually play those two sports in the summer with my buddies.
AZR: Do you have any superstitions?
MB: If I have a good game, and wear a certain suit to the game, I’ll wear that suit to the next game. That’s about it.
AZR: What does your game-day routine look like?
MB: Chicken parm, wherever I can get it. Pre-game meal usually around noon and then I’ll take a nap for probably two hours. Then get ready for the game.
AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area?
MB: I like Maggiano’s Little Italy (in Scottsdale) for the pre-game meal there. Good chicken parm there. True Food Kitchen is pretty good, too.
AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip?
MB: My phone charger and a few suits. That’s pretty much all you need.
AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up?
MB: Easy one for me – Joe Sakic.
— Compiled by Mark Brown
(March 12, 2019)