Michael McLeod is a ice hockey player and Captain for the Mississauga Steelheads in the Ontario Hockey League. Mcleod shares his experiences as a hockey player, and his transition into the NHL.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A HOCKEY PLAYER?
MM: I was lucky enough to have an older brother growing up who started playing hockey before I did. I watched him learn to skate, and was hooked ever since. Growing up in Lorne Park, which has a very strong minor hockey association, my parents got me started at a young age.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A CAPTAIN?
MM: It's great being a leader and I take the role very seriously. I like working with the younger players and bouncing ideas off the veterans. We all work together to get the most out of each other on and off the ice. I am also lucky to have my younger brother on the team. I try to be a good role model and lead by example and for him.
HOW DO YOU MENTALLY/PHYSICALLY PREPARE FOR AN UPCOMING HOCKEY SEASON?
MM: At the end of our season, I take some time to recharge and relax. It' s not long before I am back in training. I work with my trainers to get my body ready for the upcoming season. We work on reflexes, explosiveness, agility and skill. Running has always been a strength of mine and a great cardiovascular workout for me. Every player has different strengths and weaknesses. Great players are able to turn their weaknesses into strengths.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR HOCKEY FANS?
MM: The louder the better! The team really feeds off the crowd. The boys get pumped up to play when the crowd is into the game. We have lots of great fans in Mississauga, and the Hershey Centre is a great place for fans to come check out a game.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING HOCKEY PLAYERS?
MM: It is simple but effective —work hard, and listen to your coaches. These guys and girls know what they are talking about. Dreams are attainable with hard work and don’t be afraid to dream big. As a kid, I dreamt of playing in the NHL. Last season, I was lucky enough to be drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 1st round of the NHL Entry Draft. A dream come true for a local Mississauga kid!