Feb 14, 2014, 2:11 PM EDT
Every Wednesday, I make the trip over to Compton Family Ice Arena along with other media members to meet with head coach Jeff Jackson and any select players from the hockey team to talk about the series of the upcoming weekend. This week, an unexpected guest joined us. Because he’s on a short break from work, Anders Lee—now a Bridgeport Sound Tiger in the American Hockey League—came back to Notre Dame to visit his old team, coaches, and campus. While he was here, he sat down to answer a few questions for us nosy media members. First question: How’ve you been?
“I’ve been good. The season’s going real well, and I’m just enjoying the pro-game.”
That pro-game he’s enjoying is vastly different from the college-level hockey he had grown accustomed to. First off, the work ethic is different. No schoolwork = more time = new time management.
“Well in college you’re busy almost all the time, and in the pros…you can be done at 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon and have the rest of the day off,” Lee explained, “So you really have to take care of what you eat and what you put in your body and how you mentally get ready every weekend.” He did add that it reminds him of junior hockey—the schedule required and how the extra free time means more caution. “But it’s all hockey, and it’s such a business at that level. You have to take it serious all the time, and as much as you want a mental break or have a fun day, it doesn’t come as often as you’d like. So it definitely can be a grind in that respect, but it’s what we all want to do.”
Hockey fans’ favorite difference between the NCAA and the NHL (or at least what I’v picked up on) is arguably the fights. And, yes, Lee has had fights. “I didn’t have my first fight for probably 20 games, but in the last 20, I’ve had four, so I turned it up quite a bit.” He then joked, “I think the red meat diet has been good. It’s really helping me.”
Lee definitely isn’t new to hockey, but compared to some of the members on his roster, he’s just a kid. “We’re playing against guys who’ve been doing this 10 years longer than us, you know 29, 30 years old. They know how pro-hockey goes; they know the game. At that level, if you make a mistake, you’re taken advantage of.”
But every once in a while, it’s nice for Lee to take a break from the higher-level, faster, fiercer world of pro-hockey and come back to his old team. “Those are my best friends in that room, and I miss them every day, but I keep in touch with them a lot. I’m one of their biggest fans… I just spent the last hour catching up with them, laughing and joking, and whatnot, but they know what they need to do. It’s playoff hockey for them right now and I think they’re going to be great. I’m looking forward to watching them.”
For months, I’ve slowly been working on sitting down with all 27 members of the Notre Dame hockey team to do Two-Minute Power Plays, and I’m almost finished, but I had to add Lee to the list, making it 28. (Hey! That’s how many reasons I gave you to love Notre Dame Hockey!) After all, the team still seems to see him as one of their own. So, after he had answered all the questions about what he’s been up to, I had to ask him if he’d sit down to answer my 20 random questions, and he agreed. Now without further adieu, here’s the Two-Minute Power Play with former Notre Dame left wing Anders Lee.
If someone wrote a book about you, what would it be called? “Leeberr.”
If you didn’t play hockey, what sport would you play? Football. (He’d be a quarterback.)
If you had a time machine, when would you go to? Ancient Rome. I’d love to see a chariot race.
Who would play you in your biopic? Jimmy Fallon.
What is your favorite Notre Dame tradition? All the music that is incorporated into the school and athletic community. I love it all.
If you could be anyone for a day, who would you be? I would be Justin Timberlake.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be an Olympian or a stay-at-home dad.
What’s your favorite song to listen to before games? “White Wedding” by Billy Idol.
Who is your celebrity crush? Jennifer Aniston.
What’s your favorite movie? “Gladiator.”
What is your guilty pleasure song or band? Taylor Swift.
Who is your hero? It’s funny because it was Lance Armstrong…but let’s go with Mike Donnelly.
What was your favorite TV show when you were a kid? I used to love “Power Rangers.”
What’s your biggest fear? Heights.
What surprises people most about you? I don’t know. I guess my brutal sense of humor.
What four people would you want to go golfing with? Jack Niklaus, Mark Cuban, Gordie Howe, and Chris Farley.
What was the best lesson your parents ever taught you? Respect others.
What is the weirdest piece of clothing that you own? I have a pair of red corduroy pants. I’ve worn them once.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Time travel.
What do you miss most about Notre Dame? The community and sense of being at home.
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