By JORDAN KONIOR, Staff Reporter
Sophomore hockey player Gino Darin was nominated as the Michigan Journal’s Player of the Week for Issue 6 on Oct. 5 after scoring four goals (one hat trick) vs. Western Michigan. He took home the honors with 78 percent of the votes two days later.
Staff Reporter, Jordan Konior, sat down with Darin for a Q-and-A session.
During my mini interview session, I learned a lot about Darin as both a person and a teammate. As a person, you need someone that is loyal to the environment where they came from, and that is genuine with everything that they say. With Darin, you get just that. He is a hometown kid from the Downriver area, (Allen Park to be specific), with one goal at hand: win a National Championship this season for the University of Michigan-Dearborn hockey team.
Q: What does it mean to you to be announced as the MJ’s Player of the Week?
A: It feels good to get this honor, but it’s just one week out of a season, and I need to stay focused on having a complete season.
Q: What would you say has been the best moment in the season up to this point?
A: As an individual, it would be being placed on the power play unit. As a team, I would say starting the season out at 6-1-1. The record is special and a rare sight to see for the hockey team.
Q: What were the team’s goals coming into this season? Did you guys believe that you would have such a strong start? And how do you continue with this early success going forward?
A: Win a national title. I would say there is actually disappointment in the way we started. We expected to be 8-0, but as long as we keep up the work ethic we show in practice, I feel as if our goal isn’t too far out of reach for the team we have this year.
Q: What team do you most look forward to playing against this season, and why?
A: Oakland in the outdoor game, because playing out on the ponds with friends is something I always enjoyed doing growing up. But now that I’m here I don’t have that opportunity, and this is my chance to get back to playing outside.
Q: Any interesting or weird facts that you would like to share with the MJ?
A: My team nickname is “The Bear,” because of my hair.
Q: Favorite superhero?
A: The Ninja Turtles (Michealangelo).
Q: Favorite sports movie?
A: Mystery Alaska.
Q: Favorite Hockey Player?
A: Evgeni “Geno” Malkin.
Q: What hockey player do you most try to model your game after?
A: Dustin Brown. Actually, I model my game after Jeremy Klotz.
Q: Why Jeremy Klotz?
A: Klotz, because he is the longest serving member of the team from the downriver express…and us downriver kids stick together.
Q: With the game on the line, what is your signature go to move?
A: My go-to move is a shot low blocker.
Q: What high school did you come from?
A: Riverview Gabriel Richard, but I live in Allen Park.
Q: What was your team’s record in high school? Any special accolades?
A: 22-4-1 my senior year, and I went all-state twice.
Q: Any reason why you chose UM-Dearborn, other than the Downriver location?
A: I went to Tiffin University to play D-2 baseball, did it for a semester, but I missed hockey too much. My past with Coach Chris was my ‘in’ back to hockey, which landed me here.
Q: Where did you first gain your passion from?
A: I started playing when I was three and over time I just fell in love with the game, and the atmosphere surrounding the sport.
Q: If you had the chance to go pro, what team would you choose, and why?
A: Chicago Blackhawks. The tradition they have with the fan base, the style they play is fun to see, and I like the uniforms.
Q: Any pre-game rituals?
A: Before games I always eat Snickers and Laffy Taffy. Along with Olgas before every home game, with Jeremy Klotz.
Q: Favorite flavored Laffy Taffy? And favorite meal from Olga’s?
A: Watermelon…Mountain Dew with a cup of cream broccoli and a side of curly fries.
Q: When it’s all said and done, what type of legacy do you want to leave behind?
A: I want the national title, and everything that comes with it, from the banner up in the rafters to the ring on my finger.
Q: What’s your major?
A: I want to double major in social studies and business administration.
Q: Do you have any encouraging words for a youngster chasing the hockey dream?
A: Just keep chasing the dream, and don’t ever give up on it.