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This Old House

Defenseman Chris Casto Takes His Talents from the Ice to Home Improvement

To call hockey work makes the game sound far more ho-hum than anyone would ever intend.

For Chicago Wolves defenseman Chris Casto, hockey is one of his passions. The 25-year-old Minnesotan has dedicated his life to the sport and strives every day to better himself and his game to reach the next level.

As all hockey players do.

Dedication to a craft like hockey rarely leaves much time for anything else. Between on-ice practices, off-ice lifts, games and travel, what else does a hockey player have time for?

The summer months – after a season that has, hopefully, spanned October to May or June – are when Casto really digs into his other interests.

Between conditioning sessions with trainer Erik Rasmussen and catching up with friends and family, Casto demolishes kitchen walls and adds the finishing touches to his nearly complete master bathroom.

Nestled in Minnesota’s capital city, St. Paul – about 20 miles away from his hometown of Stillwater – is Casto’s modest 1920s-era five-bedroom home that his friends graciously occupy during hockey season.

“It sounds way more lavish than it actually is,” Casto said. “It’s an old house with a lot of little rooms. I want to keep the classic style but I want it to have a contemporary, open flow.”

As with most hobbies, Casto spends plenty of time researching and like any modern American, Casto’s favorite home-reno resource is none other than Home and Garden Television – also known as HGTV.

Some of his best inspiration comes from watching Wisconsin transplants Eric and Lindsey Bennett bring Midwestern charm to Palm Springs, California homes on “Desert Flippers.”

Casto also enjoys the Vegas spinoff of the beloved “Flip or Flop” franchise.

“Those shows definitely get you excited for the possibilities,” Casto said. “I always watch for my next project.”

Admittedly, Casto has zero experience in construction and recognizes some things are better left to the professionals. However, the handyman-in-training isn’t afraid to take a lesson or two.

“If you spend your time studying and learning from people that are better than you, it shows in your work,” said Casto, who hired a contractor for part of his master bathroom and closet renovation.

While hammering two-by-fours and operating a nail gun isn’t hard, Casto understands skill and precision are of the essence and appreciates the attention to detail necessary for home improvement.

“You have to be an extreme perfectionist,” he said. “If you make a small mistake early, it turns into a huge mistake later.”

Casto takes great care to measure twice and cut once.

“If you cut corners in the early stages of your project, your results are not going to be what you want them to be – in hockey or home improvement,” Casto said. “It applies across the board.”