Q & A: Meet the Captains of the Steamboat Wranglers
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Adam Albert, 18, of Alvada, and Cooper Walsh, 19, of Littleton, are the captains of the 2019 Steamboat Wranglers, a junior team in the Western States Hockey League. Both have been playing hockey since they were three, but the similarities don’t extend far beyond that. Walsh is smaller and plays center, while Albert is one of the tallest on the team and a defender. One likes the Red Wings. One likes the Maple Leafs.
Can you guess which one has never taken to the slopes to ski or snowboard? Which one has never broken a bone? Steamboat Pilot & Today’s Sports Editor Shelby Reardon got the answer to those questions and more.
Why do you love hockey?
CW: I love the physical aspect of it and just being able to go out with the boys and have fun.
AA: It’s an awesome sport. I grew up playing quite a few different sports, and hockey was always what I came back to.
Have you played for Steamboat or another Western State Hockey League team?
AA: This will be my fourth year of juniors. I played two for the Superior RoughRiders in the Western States League. This will be my second year with Steamboat.
CW: This is my second year of juniors. Last year, I played up in Canada. Now, I’m in Steamboat.
What are your thoughts on Steamboat Springs?
CW: I love Steamboat. The town is amazing. I love the coaching staff and all around it’s a great club.
AA: I haven’t ever said anything bad in Steamboat. It’s a place to be. It’s like no other. Being from Colorado, obviously I was familiar with it before I got to move up here. It’s done nothing but surprise me every day.
What do you think of the Wranglers fans so far?
AA: I think the fans of Steamboat are huge for us. They’re big momentum in a game, just having them around, coming out and supporting (us). We’re out there competing, so it makes it a lot more fun when there’s people to play in front of. It’s always fun hearing the crowd go a little wild.
CW: I’ve only been here for two weeks … so far, from what I’ve seen, the fanbase is amazing up here. Just having that support for a small town and having people come out to watch the games is awesome.
Who is your favorite hockey player, which is your favorite team?
AA: My favorite hockey team is Ian Laperriere, little older guy, doesn’t play anymore. He was a tough guy, really showed who he was in his character. My favorite hockey team is the Toronto Maple Leafs.
CW: My favorite hockey player is probably Gordie Howe, also an older player. (He was) just a very physical guy, and that’s how I like to play hockey. My favorite team is probably the Detroit Red Wings.
What would you say is your strength as a hockey player?
AA: I think my strength for me is my size. I’m a bigger guy, and I like to lay a body a little bit more. Just being able to move as a bigger guy, that’s what’s helped me along the way.
CW: I’m not really a bigger guy, but one of my strengths is definitely my physical aspect of the game. I like to go out there and bang the body. It’s a lot of fun. That’s probably what I’m best at.
What do you think your weakness is?
AA: I definitely have a weakness. I think any hockey player can always be faster. That’s something I try to work on every offseason, moving the boots a little bit more and getting up and down the ice.
CW: I’d say my speed and my control of the puck. Those are two things I really need to work on.
Do you have a go-to shootout move?
AA: You sort of just freeze, get the goalie to freeze, quick shot, and they always don’t know where the puck’s going.
CW: For me, it depends on the size of the goaltender. Usually the bigger ones, I like to shoot low and just watch them throughout the game. If they’re slow side to side, I’ll probably make them move side to side.
What do you do when you’re not playing hockey?
CW: Right now, I work all the time. I work out. I like to spend time with the boys when I can.
AA: When I’m not playing hockey, I live on a farm, so I learn a lot of new tricks of the trade during the offseason and the summers and stuff. I like to be outside, hang out with the girlfriend, and I’m a huge fly fisherman.
Have you lost any teeth? Broken any bones?
AA: Thank goodness, I’m not my brother — I still have all my teeth. Broken bones, there’s a few too many to count. My foot’s got two (including one currently), hands got three, broken noses if those count, I’ve got three. It’s just part of the game. It comes along with being tough and blocking shots is really what it is for me.
CW: Luckily, I’ve never lost any teeth. Knock on wood, I’ve never broken any bones, either. I definitely had some sprains, and as you can tell from my face, I’ve gotten hit the past couple of weekends from sticks and elbows.
Do you ski or snowboard?
CW: I snowboard.
AA: Living in Colorado, I’ve actually never skied or snowboarded ever in my life. In the winter, it was either hockey or going fishing with my dad. I’d always go fishing, so I’ve never been on the slopes before.
Favorite pre-game meal?
CW: I really like chicken parm before a game.
AA: Sometimes, I do rice and veggies, a little bit of chicken. Sometimes, spaghetti and meatballs.
Do you have a pre-game ritual or any superstitions?
CW: Honestly, not really. I used to, but I found out they don’t really help me.
AA: For me, it’s definitely putting the right side of my equipment on first. Everything on the right side goes on first.
What is your favorite Halloween candy?
CW: M&M’s or Snickers.
AA: I’m actually not a huge sugar guy, not into a lot of candy, but when I see a Kit Kat or Twix, I definitely will grab that.
Right Twix or Left Twix?
AA: I am definitely a right Twix person, being right-handed.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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