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Earlier this summer, forward Josh Melnick signed a contract to return to the Wolves for the 2023-24 season. The 28-year-old is coming off his best season as a pro, notching 16 goals–three of them game-winners–and 19 assists in 71 games. In Part 2, Melnick discusses setting goals, his idols growing up, what he enjoys when he’s away from the ice and much more.

Do you set goals for yourself each season?

“That’s something that’s changed a little bit throughout my career. Early on, I would just go out there and play. Last year, especially, I sort of set a goal for myself early on in the year for where I wanted to be by the end.

And I did like a monthly thing of where I wanted to be and also every game when I was on my way to the rink, I try to visualize how many shots I wanted and things like that. But you can’t really put too much pressure on yourself.

You set goals—especially writing them down to remind yourself—and that’s good, but at the end of the day, things aren’t always going to work out how you want them. So you can’t let those things affect you if you go into a little bit of a slump or anything.”

Does the Wolves falling one point short of the playoffs last season provide extra motivation for 2023-24?

“That run we went on toward the end of the year (19-7-2-2 in the last 30 games) was special and in my opinion the most fun time of the year.”

Falling short definitely fuels a little fire so I think we’ll be coming back with a little fire in our bellies.”

Who were your idols growing up?

“Obviously, my parents, I always looked up to them and I’m very grateful for all the things they did for me to help me get to where I am.

In terms of hockey, (former Bruins forward) Patrice Bergeron was always my favorite player. He’s part of the reason I wear No. 37 now and I feel like my game is somewhat similar to his. He was a very reliable two-way player, solid in the defensive zone all the time and now my hope is to just contribute offensively a little bit more, just as much as he did. But I always looked up to him.”

Have you had a chance to meet Bergeron?

“I have not. I actually did go to Boston’s development camp when I was in college, but he wasn’t there. That was still a cool experience, getting to go there and see his name and pictures up on the wall.”

Was it always hockey for you when you were young or did you do a lot of other sports?

“I was a kid growing up who just played a ton of sports. I started skating when I was probably 4 or 5 years old. So I always knew sort of in the back of my mind that hockey was my favorite sport, but I played tons of others growing up.

Probably in middle school or early in high school I knew for certain that I wanted to continue with hockey.”

What do you like to do away from the ice?

“I’ve picked up photography a little bit so I try and do that as much as I can. I also picked up a guitar last summer and that I would say is probably my biggest hobby now. I try and play at least for a little bit every day.

I also love to golf and play video games with my buddies every now and then. There are a bunch of things that I try to do to keep busy.”

Wolves teammate Nathan Sucese has also started to play guitar. Are you going to form a band?

“It’s funny: We sat next to each other in the locker room for most of the year so we’d talk about it all the time. We’re learning new songs and sending each other some videos every once in a while of what we’ve been working on.

So, we’ll probably get together and play a couple of songs.”

What kind of music do you like?

“I sort of like all types—country, rock, rap—it really just depends on my mood.”

What do you like most about Chicago?

“I really like the people, honestly. Pretty much everyone I’ve met has been super nice.

There’s a lot to do in the city, especially with the water there.

I’ll tell you what I don’t like: The traffic.”

What has been your offseason workout routine?

I’ve been on the ice a couple times now after I took about a month off after the season. It’s not like I wasn’t like doing anything and just sitting on the couch all day, but I’ve been doing some rehab stuff.

But I’ve been back in the gym about three, four times a week, probably since the middle of May. I started skating at the beginning of June and been on the ice a bunch since then.

It’s good to let the body rest but it’s about that time to kick things into high gear and get ready for the season.”

For Part 1 of the conversation, go here.