Posted by: Adventures in Pucking | August 2, 2011

Man of the Day 8/2: Zach Parise

Zachary Justin Parise

Born July 28, 1984 (age 27) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Left winger and alternate captain for the New Jersey Devils

Parise just had two big milestones recently: first, he turned 27 (happy belated birthday!) and second, he signed a one-year deal with the Devils, avoiding arbitration. Hockey runs in Parise’s family: his dad JP played (Zach was born while he was assistant coach for the old Minnesota North Stars) and his brother Jordan is a goalie. In fact, he played his high school years at the famous Shattuck-St. Mary’s while JP was working in the program. He was named Best All-Around Athlete in his senior year! He then went to the college level, playing at the University of North Dakota, scoring a hatty in his very first game as a collegiate athlete. Seriously. He racked up more college-level awards and became eligible for the NHL draft after his freshman year. The Devils picked him 17th overall in the 2003 draft, so he is homegrown talent. He did go back to North Dakota for his sophomore year, though, though he left after that to go pro.

A winning smile!

How was he to know his timing was poor, though? He signed a contract with the Devils just before the lockout started. In the Year That Never Was, he played with the Albany River Rats. Once the big show was back on, Parise repeated the first-game luck he had in college, scoring a goal in his first NHL game. The following season, he set a Devils record by scoring 26 seconds into a game. 2009 was a very good year for him: he was named alternate captain, went to the All-Star Game, nominated for the Lady Byng and was Devils team MVP. The next year, he was named to Team USA for the Vancouver Olympics and given an A for that jersey too. He produced well for America there, scoring both goals in the 2-0 shutout against Switzerland as well as the game-tying goal (with 24 seconds left!) to send the final game against Canada into overtime. Of course, he took home silver, but all that glitters is not gold.

His most recent season looks a little shorter because in November, he tore the meniscus in his right knee and had to have surgery that basically ended his season–he returned to play the same night the Devils were knocked out of the playoffs, but he’ll obviously be back next season. He played 13 games, scored 3 goals, got 3 assists and spent a mere 6 minutes in the sin bin. At the start of summer, I was able to see him on Versus’ discussion roundtable for 2011 Worlds games and he seemed to me like a nice guy who knows the game in and out. Hope he has a good season!

Yep, a nice guy who would be fun to interview.


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