When we all walked into the Northwell Health Ice Center at Eisenhower Park, our eyes lit up with excitement. We saw the big statues with Islanders jerseys next to them. We could not believe what we were seeing. We were so excited to meet Mathew Barzal and to see all of the other New York Islanders players practicing.
We got to see them practice their power play drills. Power plays are when the team is on a penalty. The players were shooting so hard that whenever they shot and missed it would bang on the boards or glass so hard that it could hurt your ears. At the beginning of the practice, Barzal was making funny faces at us. Then he and right winger Jordan Eberle were doing all of these cool tricks and plays. We got to see how fast they are. In person they seem to skate much faster than what they look like on TV. When practice was over, some of the players waved to us and some even gave us their autographs.
When we met Barzal, he told us he started playing hockey at age 4 and since then he has been playing his whole life (no wonder he is so good and fast). Barzal, when practicing, usually stays for an extra 20 minutes to improve his skills. This explains why he is so good at hockey.
Barzal’s jersey number used to be number 97 for his birthday. His favorite hockey player used to have a jersey that was number 13, but then he retired so Barzal took his number since he was such a big fan.
He told us that the hardest defenseman to go up against is Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Hedman also said that he chipped half of his front tooth playing hockey, but he got it replaced. He told us that he has only gotten into two fights in his professional career.
When Barzal is on a break from hockey, he eats dried fruit, smoothies, and other high sugar stuff. Also when he is on a break he relaxes and watches TV.
We wanted to know how fast he could put all his gear on. He said, 2 1⁄2 minutes! Barzal thought that Kidsday reporter Dylan was fast when Dylan said, “My record is about 2 minutes.”
Barzal also said when he goes on the plane to the opponent’s arena, he sits next to teammate Eberle. The reason he likes to sit with Eberle is because they play Nintendo Switch with each other and he added: “Don’t tell him but I’m better.”
When Barzal was a kid, he liked the Chicago Blackhawks. Now he does not like the Blackhawks but he still likes players Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
We found Barzal to be very outgoing and funny person. When he scores, it depends on the mood he is in. If he is mad he just skates to the bench, if he is happy he celebrates by going crazy. Barzal also told us that he is able to speak two languages: English and French.
When we finished the interview he asked us if we would like to see the locker room! Of course we said, “Yes!” We saw Barzal’s cubby with all of his equipment. We got to sit on the bench that they had and even take a picture with him. We got to see goaltenders Jaroslav Halák and Thomas Greiss.
We also saw the hockey-stick room. The sticks were all organized with the players number above them. The sticks that were under number 13 were all of Barzal’s.We would like to him for taking time to talk to us and showing us all this amazing stuff.