T.J. Hensick


What’s your warm-up routine?
After our pregame skate, I have a meal around noon and then take a nap. After waking up, I have a snack and head to the arena about three hours before the game. Then I tape my sticks, play some soccer, stretch, tape my stick again and get dressed. I’m pretty regular about it; not much changes.

What kind of food do you eat before a game?

I eat chicken and pasta every game, usually with vegetables.

Do you have any superstitions?

I always tie my right skate first, but I think that might be more of a routine than superstition.

How do you mentally prepare for a game?
I think about every situation that could possibly arise in a hockey game and what I’d do in those situations.

Main Event

"If things go bad, find a way to put a smile on your face. It’s just a game. You should play because you love to play."

When did you start playing hockey?
I was 5 years old when I started.

Who was your first coach?
Ray Mckenzie, who coached me on a local team in Livingston County, Mich.

Who was your favorite coach growing up?
Doug Itami. He coached me at Honeybaked for about seven years.

What other sports did you play growing up?
I played a lot of baseball and also one year of football.

How important is it to play other sports?
It’s extremely important. It can give kids a sense of not only how the different sports are played, but what is required from you as an athlete. Some sports are individual sports and some are team sports, so you can see different aspects of the games. When you get to a certain point, then you can decide which sport is the most fun for you and concentrate on that one.

What advice do you have for young players?
Have fun with the game. It might get stressful, but make sure you’re having a good time. Growing up, my parents never pushed me and always wanted me to have fun. If things go bad, find a way to put a smile on your face. It’s just a game. You should play because you love to play.

Do you think about playing for Team USA in Vancouver?
It would be a great honor if that opportunity came. There are a lot of great American-born players. It’s a little ways down the road, but we’ll see how it plays out.

Who’s the toughest player to play against?
Henrik Zetterberg from the Red Wings. He’s so talented on both ends of the ice and so determined.

Who’s the toughest goalie to score on?
Marty Turco from Dallas. He’s just solid in the net.

Do you like the shootout?
As a fan I love it, but as a player it’s a little nerve-wracking.

How often do you practice shootout moves?
Pretty much every day in practice. We usually have some sort of shootout game at the end of each skate. It’s such a big part of hockey now.

What’s your best shootout move?
I don’t really have a “go-to” move. It really depends on the goalie. Each goalie has his strengths and weaknesses, so you have to think about who you’re going up against.

In the Bag

Skates: Nike Bauer
Stick: RBK
Helmet: Nike Bauer
Gloves: Nike Bauer

photo by Getty Images




Who is your favorite American player?
Auston Matthews
Jason Robertson
Tage Thompson
Matthew Tkachuk
Patrick Kane
Total votes: 388