Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Zach Werenski's First Year In The NHL

01/15/2017 at 9:22am EST

from Daneil J. Friedman of Sports Illustrated,

The 19-year-old blueliner from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, says the entire thing still feels like a whirlwind.

“I don’t really think it’s hit me yet,” says Werenski. “I feel like when you dream about playing in the NHL, it never really hits you.”

The NHL experience can be a challenge for those new to the circuit, even away from the rink.

“The change off the ice is the hardest part,” he says. “Going to college, where you have classes and a full day, then practice later and then homework, you’re pretty much busy six or seven days of the week. You get to the NHL and you go to the rink for two hours a day, and then you have downtime. I think the hardest part for me is finding hobbies and things to do. You want to rest whenever you can, but at some point you also want to do things.”

Werenski has had to adjust to another big change from college hockey: less practices and optional morning skates.

“We don’t really practice much and, when we do, it’s pretty short,” he says. “At first, I didn’t like it. I felt like I wasn’t getting enough puck touches and wasn’t feeling good on the ice with the puck, but now that I’m used to it, I really enjoy it. I feel like the rest is needed and that it’s only going to pay off in the long run.”

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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