SPORTS BABE OF THE DAY PRESENTS: Chris Wagner, Forward, Norfolk Admirals, @chriswags23
22 year old Chris Wagner is midway through his second year as a Norfolk Admiral of the American Hockey League. As a point producing standout in juniors and college, this Massachusetts native was selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2010 draft. You can find him battling in the corners, driving to the net, or back checking like an animal, this center man plays both ends of the ice. With his raw talent, hard work and determination the future looks undeniably bright for Chris Wagner.
21 Questions with Chris Wagner
1. Drafted by Anaheim in 2010, what’s it like being apart of such a powerhouse organization like the Ducks?
Well when they drafted me back in 2010, they weren’t winning many games but over the years the Ducks have continually gotten better and better. Alot of that has to do with the development of players. So its cool to see some guys you have played with doing well at the NHL and it gives me hope that I can succeed there soon on one of the best teams in the league.
2. Not all athletes are class acts with that being said, How do you conduct yourself on and off the ice? Do you consider yourself a role model?
I think every professional athlete is a role model in one way or another. I try to make an effort to be as nice as possible to the fans off the ice, especially the little kids because they are the ones who really look up to you. On the ice I try to play on the edge, with physicality, and with emotion. It is definitely hard sometimes to keep your emotions in check, but you still need to try as hard as possible to play the game with tons of class.
3. Every player makes their own path toward the pro ranks, you took the good old college route spending a few years at Colgate, what was one of your best memories in college ?
Ha, on the ice? Definitely one of the most memorable games I was apart of at Colgate was my sophomore year against Cornell, our biggest rival, at home. We were down 3-1 going into the 3rd and scored 4 unanswered goals to win 5-3. It was such a great atmosphere that I will never forget.
4. What has been the toughest hockey related decision you have had to make yet?
Easily whether or not to leave school after my sophomore year. That has been the toughest and biggest decision of my life so far.
5. You have played in many leagues in your career- EJHL , ECAC , and AHL- what was the hardest part about transitioning to each level?
Every time you move up in a league whether it be juniors to college or college to the pros, the biggest transition is always the speed of the game. You have less and less time with the puck as the leagues get better. Sometimes it does take a bit to adjust.
6. Assuming that playing hockey has been a lifelong goal of yours-Was there ever a team you didn’t make or someone who discouraged your dream along the way? How did you handle that?
There have always been people telling me I’m not good enough or that I’m never going to make it but the incident that stands out in my head the most is when I was 15 and didn’t make the Mass Satellite team (all-star team pretty much). I went through all the camps and practices and really thought I deserved to make it but for the 3rd year in a row I didn’t and I was absolutely devastated. I think that definitely was a turning point in my career and made me that much more driven.
7. Does doing live interviews, media and having cameras in your face come easy to you or has it been a bit of an adjustment?
I don’t know if it comes easy to me, but I try to be as down to earth as I can. Honestly, there isn’t too much coverage of the AHL anyways.
8. What’s your pre game routine or any superstitious things that you do?
Like pretty much 90% of the hockey population I eat some kind of chicken and pasta combo for my pregame meal and then usually take a pregame nap. I don’t believe in superstition at all, so there is nothing really I HAVE to do, but like everybody I warm up, play sewerball, and try to mentally prepare for the game.
9. If not hockey, what else in life could you see yourself doing?
I ask myself this question a good amount. I was an English major at school so I kind of could see myself being a journalist, but other than that some type of businessman.
10. I know in the off season you workout at Edge Performance Systems in Foxboro Mass. – How much do you think strength and conditioning contributes to your on ice game?
I have been with EPS since i was 14 and I can confidently say that without them I would not be where I am today and that is a fact. The hours put of work in that gym, not just for me, but many of the pro athletes who workout there, have translated to getting that much better on the ice.
11. Is there a specific coach or coaches who have made an impact on your career?
All my coaches have had some type of positive impact on my career, but I definitely think Coach Harlow made a huge one in the EJ. I went from a pretty good college recruit to getting drafted into the NHL in one year. I wasn’t really on the map of any NHL teams before my year with him and I think he had alot to do with it.
12. You are from the Boston area, there are several AHL teams in the area that you play against– how awesome is it that your family can be there to support you?
It is awesome having my family and friends at a majority of away games. As soon as the schedule comes out in August, I am always searching for when I am playing Worcester or Providence. The support really does mean so much to me.
I think signing my first pro contract has been my biggest accomplishment. It’s one thing to get drafted which is really cool. Then it becomes even more real that your so close to your dream when you sign.
14. I’m sure many of our followers are wondering are you single, dating or locked down?
I am definitely single right now.
15. What’s your ideal type of date?
Nothing out of the ordinary. I really haven’t been on a legit date in awhile because I have had girlfriends, but maybe something along the lines of dinner and a movie or something. It definitely needs to start with dinner so you can get to know the girl and get comfortable with her.
For me most of the time as long as the persons back isn’t to me I am going to hit them. I try and be as cautious as possible about not making contact with their head because that doesn’t have a place in the game, but I definitely believe some of the suspensions we are seeing now are very accidental.
17. Has there been a surreal moment yet or a realization that you are living out your dream (as well as every little hockey players dream) playing college hockey, being drafted and currently playing in the AHL?
I can’t really point to a certain moment, however sitting in the lockeroom next to Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf before a preseason game I played in was very cool. They have been superstars for awhile now then to actually go and in a game-like scenario with them was definitely surreal.
I honestly can’t think of one. Maybe missing an empty netter to break the scoring title in the EJ. I was by myself and legit was maybe 10 feet away from the net and missed.
I don’t go out of my way to trash talk but if the game is a very emotional and physical game chances are I’ll be in somebodies ear about a mistake they made or how they aren’t that good. If someone chirps me I usually respond with the classic “oh your just the best huh?” or if I do something and then they chirp me I ask them what are they going to do about it. I usually carefully pick who I am going to say that too.
Hot Seat with Chris Wagner
Name one player you’ve played against that you are still in awe of?
Anze Kopitar in preseason
Favorite road city so far?
Name a fear that you have?
What is your favorite show that you follow?
Whats your go to pump up jam?
Whats your perfect meal?
Capital Grille 12 oz. filet side of mashed, side of asparagus and cheesecake for dessert
Name a unique fact about you that nobody would ever guess about you (not hockey related)
I try to go to church every Sunday
This, that or other with Chris Wagner
Chocolate or vanilla?
Gatorade or Powerade?
Going to the movies or Netflix?
Beach house or ski house?
Long or short hair?
Home or Away Jersey?
Chocolate chip or Oreo?
Steak or chicken?
Boxers or briefs or boxer briefs?
Dogs or cats?
Bauer or Reebok?
Dressed up or casual?
Comedy or action?
Backward or forward hat?
MacBook or iPad?
Breakfast lunch or dinner?
Rap or Rock?
Who would you recommend that is babely enough to be the next sports babe of the day?