Chicago Wolves rookie defenseman Zach Whitecloud has been impressive in his first year in the AHL, putting up five goals and 16 assists in 46 games. He consistently has ranked at the top of the league in plus/minus as he stands third overall and first among all defensemen with a +27 rating.
We caught up with the Brandon, Manitoba, native to chat about the chance to play closer to home this week and found out what some of his jobs were before going pro.
(As an added bonus, he’s taking over our Instagram Stories during this two-game road trip to face the Manitoba Moose: Follow us @chicagowolves and enjoy!)
Q: You get to go back to Manitoba this week, how much are you looking forward to that?
A: It’s actually a quick turnaround because I went home for the All-Star break. The weather is not as nice there as it is here, but it’ll be nice to go home and see some family and obviously getting to play in front of all my family and friends. To get to be home for a good stretch there, for four or five days, it’ll be good to play in front of everyone and get back to visit and get to work again.
Q: This is the second week of a four-game road stretch, but the team is doing well on the road this year. Why is that?
A: I think it is just knowing the importance of going in on a road game, that first period and your first 5-10 minutes. Holding yourselves accountable right off the hop because if you don’t get off to a good start it could be a long night. Every home team comes out with a little extra fire when they’re playing in front of their own crowd. You want to take that away from them as quick as possible. We’ve been keying in on our starts and making sure that we take over the game right off the hop and kind of control the pace, control how we want to play and the style we want to play. We’ve been good on the road. Our record shows that. It’s just a matter of executing throughout all 60 minutes and getting off on the right foot.
Q: You said in the most recent issue of Breakaway that you had 8-10 non-hockey jobs – what were some of them?
A: My favorite one, I was a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver; I did that for a summer. It was the most fun job I’ve ever done. I worked on a ranch, I’ve been a cattle rancher, I worked at a grocery store, worked at a golf course and worked at golf tournaments. I’ve done a number of things. A jack-of-all-trades. Essentially just a kid jumping from job to job just trying to earn a dollar.
(Delivering pizza) was in Brandon, so it’s not that dangerous of a place. I got to visit with people, too. I’m a big people person, so it was always fun to go visit people and kind of hang out on runs. I’d take five orders at once and stay out for two hours. It was perfect.
Q: You also said you send 20-30 snapchats a day. Who receives the most snaps from you?
A: Me and my buddies have a group chat. On Snapchat now you can FaceTime with like six different people, so we just figured that out, like, two weeks ago and hopped on there with five or six of us and we were just having a time for an hour.
We finally figured that out, so we’ve been doing that a little bit, that’s probably the group I snap the most. At random times, too, whenever I’m cooking food or lounging on the couch with the dog. Just weird snaps at random times. One of my buddies is in the military, a couple other guys go to school, a couple play hockey. It keeps you on your toes a little bit, you never know what you’re going to get.