This week I sat down and talked with junior forward Tommy Nolan. This season Nolan scored 8 goals and assisted on 7 others. He had an assist and a goal in a 3-2 win over Potsdam, had 2 assists in a 9-1 win over Assumpition and scored 2 goals against Morrisville. Overall, he has had 17 assists and 24 goals as a Red Dragon.
Let's see what we talked out:
Do you have any inspiration when you play or is it just for the love of the game?
"No, I play for the love of the game, I love to play. Obviously, I've been playing for a long time but I would say my mother and father inspire me that most just because of what they've allowed me to do in this game and how long I've been playing. It's cause of them, I couldn't have done it without them. So, when I play, especially when they are there, even when they are not there, I want to do so well for them. Probably been playing for around 15 years."
What is your favorite hockey memory?
"I got to Quebec when I was a peewee. I was like 13 I guess, 12 or 13. I got to play with the peewee Rangers and it was coached by Mark Messier and we got to go over to Quebec, and we had an unbelievable team. Some players that are playing all over the world now, including the NHL. I mean, I was just lucky to play with those guys, and play for Mark. It was a really great experience. We ended up losing to Moscow in the semifinals, so we didn't win the tournament but it was a great experience and I was there for a week. I lived with a Quebec billet family, it was just a really good experience."
Where did you play Juniors?
"I played Juniors in Connecticut, for the Connecticut Oilers, it's in Norwalk. It was a newer franchise, when I got there it was their first year. I played two years for them and I had a great experience there, I wouldn't change it for anything. I met a bunch of great guys, played for a great coach and then I came here." So where would you have liked to play? "I want to go to Alaska, I think it would be pretty cool to play over there. I know they have a couple junior teams. That would have been a pretty cool spot to play. The only thing is, their traveling is brutal. They have to travel all the country. So their away games are really away games. I would like to go out to Alaska, it seems like a cool spot, pretty laid back."
Who's your favorite NHL player and team?
"My favorite NHL team is the NY Rangers, of course. I've had some ups and downs with the Rangers, but it's been up lately, hopefully, they keep it going for me. My favorite NHL player would have to be, on the Rangers, I would say JT Miller is my favorite. He is actually the same age as me, so I played against him a couple time growing up and I love the way he plays. He plays tough and he's a skilled player. I like Jamie Benn on Dallas. He wears number 14 and I wear 14, and he's a good player, so I like him. I got a bunch, every week it kind of changes."
Choose 5 NHL players to play with you on the ice for a game, including your favorite player.
"Okay, so JT Miller is out there. I'll play wing, I'll have JT on the wing as well. This is going to be another Ranger, a great Ranger, I'll have Adam Graves centering me, I don't even know if he played center, either way, he'd be fine at center. I'd have Paul Coffey as defensemen and I'll have Kevin Shattenkirk as my other defensemen. Oh, for my goalie, it'd have to be, maybe Eddie Belfour, he played for Dallas, Toronto. The eagle they called him. That's old school."
Would you rather play one game in the NHL and be remembered forever or play an entire career and never be remembered?
"I think I would have to go with a career in the NHL. If I could make a career out of hockey, I'd really enjoy it, even if nobody knew who I was cause I love it. I don't really care. I mean one game would be great too."
Would you rather be able to fly or be able to teleport?
"Ummmm, teleport. Just it's snap of the finger, you're there. So I think that would be kind of cool, just wherever I wanted to go. It'd be like flying but quicker and easier."
If you could be anyone for a day, who would you want to be for a day?
"My favorite athlete right now is Conor McGregor, he's my boy. So I'd have to go with a day in the life of him. You know, just see his lifestyle. I pretty much follow him the most I can, so I kind of see what his life is like and it's awesome, I love it. So I think I'd have to go with him right now, he's my boy right now."
Who would you say is the x-factor for the team next year?
"I mean, we lost some good players this year in McCormick, Dray, and Casie, those were good guys, so they are going to be a tough loss. I think an x-factor would have to be Mike Lindberg. Just because he didn't play much of the season. He hurt his knee before the season and didn't get to play till after Christmas. I got to play with him at the end, he's a skilled player. He played about I'd say 10 games, maybe less, and he was a great player. I'm excited to see what he can bring for the full season. He's a skilled player, he can put the puck in the net. He's strong, he's a big strong forward, and for me, he created space. I thought we got the puck to each other pretty well. I'm excited to see what he can do."
Why did you choose Cortland?
"I came up here for a visit and I talked to coach for a while when I was playing Juniors. I had a couple other options for school but when I came up for a visit it just felt like this was it, it was a NY State school, which works for financial and everything. The hockey is great, it's in the SUNYAC which is unbelievable. You get to play in these unbelievable rinks, including ours, I love our rink, it's old school. Everything just seemed like that was the right fit. And I knew some people that had come here before and they had nothing but good things to say. I played for a coach in prep school and he went here. I was kind of familiar with it, I'm only three hours from here in Mahopac. I love that my parents can come up and see me when they can; 3 hours they can do. I wouldn't change anything, I love it."
Now, let's see what question Aidan had for you to answer:
Why do you call god during the games?
"That's a good question. So I call god during the games, well I got it from Antonio Brown, the Pittsburgh wide receiver, he's always calling god, meaning just saying a prayer before the game. I don't know, I've always said a prayer, like "hey help me out in this one". So, I mean the back half of the season I had a little success and I kept calling god. Then we were having success, we were rolling a little bit, so I kept it going, it worked out, it was funny. I think it got a laugh out of the guys. I would do it on my own before the game, but then after a goal, I would just go down the line and I'd put the hand in my ear like a phone and call god."
Now, it's your turn to chose a player, actually, two, for me to interview and give me a question for each that won't be revealed till their interview
"Have you interviewed Andrew McCann? Or Cory Lauer? Those are my best buddies. Let's go with them."
Thank you so much to Tommy Nolan, such a sweet guy and it was a pleasure to have this conversation. I look forward to talking to Cory and McCann next and seeing what they will talk about. Good luck to Tommy and the 2017-18 Men's Hockey team!