If you are a sports/hockey fan, there is always a question that goes something like this: “If you could have dinner with one athlete, dead or alive, who would it be?”.
This is something I have been thinking about for a while. For me, it would be Winnipeg Jets’ All-Star Mark Scheifele.
I first started to admire Scheifele after reading an article he penned for The Players’ Tribune a few years ago. In the article, he wrote about the five toughest players he has ever faced, and while that aspect of the piece was certainly intriguing, I was more interested in what he said to open up his piece:
“There are a lot of guys in the league who will tell you, ‘I like to leave it all at the rink. I don’t watch much hockey when I get home. Yeah … That’s definitely not me.”
“I’m what you might call a full-on hockey nerd. I can watch hockey all day. Like, when we’re headed to the airport after a game, I’ll put out my phone right on the bus and just start streaming late games.”
After reading those lines, I was hooked on all things Scheifele. As someone who has followed, played, and been involved in different aspects of the sport for a lot of his life, I came to appreciate just how much he loves the game.
This is the first reason why I would want to have dinner with Mark. Like myself, Mark thinks about hockey 24/7.
He is someone that not only plays the game but also watches, studies, and talks about the sport to great lengths. He has even written a few articles about the game!
Secondly, while he may be an NHLer, he talks about the game like a fan would. I came across this article by Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet.ca, where the lead of his article says that Scheifele is “pro hockey’s biggest fan.”
It was this paragraph that showed me just how genuine Scheifele is when he says he loves the sport:
“The chances are pretty good that, when his duties are fulfilled, Scheifele will retire to his Osborne Village condo and eventually watch an assortment of NHL action with Copp. Even if the equipment stays in the bag, there really is no such thing as a day without the game for the stud centre.”
I would also love to hear more about his work ethic when it comes to the sport. Scheifele is someone who is constantly studying the sport, watching particular players and their habits, watching his diet, and doing everything else that is needed to be at the top of his game.
I found this piece in the Winnipeg Free Press by Jeff Hamilton. In the piece, Todd Hoffman, one of Scheifele’s former minor hockey coaches, told Hamilton how Scheifele uses his passion for the sport to be one of the best players in the game.
“And he did it by being the first guy to arrive at the rink and last one to leave. He was always looking for extra ice, always doing the little bit extra off the ice,” says Hoffman. “That’s why he is where he is today. He’s just that type of guy that wants to be the best and he’ll do whatever it takes to get there.”
Basically put, I would love the opportunity to talk about everything hockey-related with Mark. I know that it will probably never happen, but a hockey fan can dream, right?