I started a new semi-regular feature on my show called Who Are You. It will feature Oilers and other NHL players, but we don’t discuss hockey, instead we take a light-hearted approach and discuss their off-ice interests.
My first guest was Zack Kassian.
I’m guessing you’ll look at Kassian a bit different after reading what he had to say regarding yoga, Kid Rock, Halloween and more.
Gregor: Do you do yoga?
Kassian: Not even close. I’ve maybe done yoga once or twice. I don’t have the attention span to last through a class (laughs).
Gregor: What was your offseason training that you changed this year, did you do MMA?
Kassian: Yeah, it was MMA. Some MMA stuff, with some legendary fighters, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture. They ran it and it was a cool experience. You don’t really use it too much on the ice, but it’s good for conditioning and it’s good to get into good shape.
Gregor: Were you a big UFC fan before?
Kassian: Yeah I enjoy watching it definitely. It’s a fun sport to watch — who doesn’t like two guys that punch each other in the face until someone wins? It’s exciting stuff. I always tune into the big fights definitely for UFC.
Gregor: Do you have a favourite UFC fighter?
Kassian: Um, no, I’m a fan of the sport. I think that there is so much more behind it than just guys swinging. There is a lot of technique involved and those guys are so good at what they do. It’s pretty special.
Gregor: What did you enjoy the most about the training?
Kassian: Uh, mostly cardiovascular work where you’re working through punching and kicking when you’re tired. It’s relevant in hockey when it’s late in the shift and you’ve got to keep pushing through. It’s one of those things where you just got to keep pushing while you’re kicking or punching. But the hardest part for me was learning how to defend those kicks. It’s hard defending the fists and hands and then you’ve got to worry about the legs too. It’s a whole different ballgame.
Gregor: What type of musical genre does Zack Kassian listen to when he’s training?
Kassian: Training? Oooh, rock, I like rock. Eighties, nineties rock, techno once in a while.
Gregor: And what about then when you’re just driving around or sitting at home?
Kassian: I listen to everything besides country, I’m not a big country fan, but I like rock and roll. I like the Rolling Stones, Metallica, the Guns and Roses, Motley Crew, all of those bands.
Gregor: Favourite concert you’ve been to?
Kassian: Kid Rock in Detroit, outside. He put on a hell of a show.
Gregor: That was easy, there wasn’t any hesitation.
Kassian: I’ve only been to two concerts and one was him (laughs).
Gregor: Two concerts in your life?
Kassian: Yeah, I’m not a concert guy and someone forced me to go to Kid Rock. I heard it was a good show and it was in Detroit; where he’s from. It was a great show.
Gregor: I saw him here at the outdoor stadium at Commonwealth and he blew my mind — it was unbelievable. I wasn’t the biggest Kid Rock fan before but as a musician on stage, he gave it everything and put on a show. So his concert was so good, yet it hasn’t enticed you to see more?
Kassian: Nope, it hasn’t. There have been a couple of concerts here, and, it’s just, I’m not the type to go to concerts. I would rather just download their album on iTunes and listen to it at home on my couch.
Gregor: Does Zack Kassian have a hobby that fans don’t know about?
Kassian: Fans don’t know about? People know that I like motorcycles. I like colouring. People don’t know that. Guys give me a hard time here, but I like to colour (chuckles).
Gregor: So, one of those adult colouring books?
Kassian: Yeah, those adult colour books. I like to do that in my free time, draw. But those adult colour books, I enjoy doing them.
Gregor: So let’s say we bought a white board into the room, could you be a caricature guy, could you draw pictures of your teammates?
Kassian: No, no you give me too much credit (laughs). I can fill in the lines (laughs), stick people maybe. No, I more so enjoy colour in the portraits, stuff like that.
Gregor: Now is that just kind of a calming thing that allows you to escape and not have to focus too much?
Kassian: Yeah, yeah, I find that it’s a good meditation, relaxation. It’s better than watching TV or being on the phone. It’s a good hour. I’ve also carved three or four pumpkins, people probably don’t know that (laughs), from being bored at home.
Gregor: What did you carve in your pumpkins?
Kassian: We did one at Patty Maroon’s one night, I carved a bat. And then I came back to my place two nights later, went to the grocery store, saw a great pumpkin so I decided to get it and I carved a spider, a big spider, and then the other one is a small thing.
Gregor: What did you dress as up for the team Halloween party?
Kassian: A big baby. Me and my girlfriend dressed up as big chubby babies. We figure it would be good, I’m going bald so I had one step in that direction.
Gregor: As someone who is follicly challenged, I appreciate it when guys accept that the dream is over. It’s worse if you try to keep it longer when everybody knows it is going because the thinning look is not a good look.
Kassian: Yeah, I tried to keep it for three or four years there and it was tough. To let it go is really tough to do, it’s really hard but.
Gregor: Did you cry?
Kassian: No I didn’t cry but it was tough. I threw a hat on definitely most of the days. It’s like a breakup with your girlfriend. You’re a little sceptical in the beginning, not sure how to react, how people are going to react, but now I love it.
Gregor: Will you BIC it, will you go to the wood?
Kassian: I’ve had that. The guys are trying to get me to BIC it again. I’m going to try to hold onto the little stubs that I have for some time, see what I can do. Maybe in the future (laughs).
His analogy of breaking up with a girl and having to part with your hair made me laugh, but for some guys it is really hard to accept that your hair is not going to be with you anymore.
I’ll have more of these with different Oilers and other NHL players during the year.
Recently by Jason Gregor: