Throughout the 2017-18 season, U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
- Name: Hunter Garlent
- School: Saint Mary’s University
- Sport: Men’s hockey
- Position: Centre
- Year of eligibility: Second
- Program: Commerce
- Hometown: Thorold, Ont.
1. What attracted you to Saint Mary’s University?
I was attracted to Saint Mary’s because of the opportunity to live in a new province and experience new things while working toward an education as well as playing the sport I love. I had been to Halifax once prior to coming to SMU during the Canada Winter Games in 2011 and loved the city and beautiful scenery the water presents. Fast forward five years later speaking to a friend who was playing for the Huskies and loving every minute of it, the opportunity to return to Halifax became something I couldn’t pass up.
2. What’s your favourite memory, and your greatest athletic achievement as a U SPORTS student-athlete?
The greatest memories I have as an athlete at Saint Mary’s come off the ice – this is something I think many team athletes can agree upon. The ability to step away from the game we love whether it be a bus ride, team golf tournament, or team dinner are the memories that stick out as special. Connecting on a different level with 22 other guys who over the course of our time, continually become closer and will without a doubt be friends forever.
My greatest achievement as a U SPORTS student-athlete was being recognized and named a First Team All-Canadian at the end of this season. Although a very special individual recognition, it is impossible to earn the honour without amazing coaches and teammates. To be named to this team as a member of Saint Mary’s is something that makes me very proud.
3. Where are you hoping your path will take you after university?
My goal remains to continue to play hockey at the end of my university career. I believe it would be amazing to possibly have the chance to travel the world and see countries in Europe while continuing to play the game I love. University hockey has given me the best of both worlds – to earn a degree while playing the game. At the end of my hockey career, the work I have put in to my academics will be something that I am very thankful for.
4. Who’s had the greatest influence on your athletic career?
My greatest influence on my athlete career is my father. He has always been my role model since I began playing hockey at age four. I do not recall a car ride to any practice, game or tournament without him driving. He was always there to support me and help me through the lows of my career, as well as being so proud but keeping my head on straight during the highs. He passed away in 2014 and until I step on the ice for the last time, he will be who I play for every game. The lessons I was lucky enough to learn from him over 19 years are ones I will be forever grateful.
5. Who is someone in the sports world, past or present, with whom you’d love to have dinner with? Why?
I would love to have dinner with Steve Yzerman. I grew up a Detroit Red Wings fan and he was always my favourite player. Along with the individual and team success he had in his career, he is undoubtedly one of the best leaders to ever play hockey in my opinion. To learn lessons about what made him successful, but also to just hear the friendships and stories made during many years in the NHL would be incredible.
6. What is your pre-game ritual? Do you have any superstitions/idiosyncrasies around preparing yourself for a game?
After my off-ice dynamic warmup I head up into the stands to sit and visualize the game for a few minutes. Always sitting in seat No. 14, once we are exactly 21 minutes and 14 seconds before warmup, I head down to the room to get my gear on. I do this in memory of my dad as his favorite number was 14. Once in the room, I always put my gear on left to right before the game.
7. What’s your go-to song to get pumped up for practice or a game?
Personally I am not a huge music fan before the game. So it becomes whatever the team DJ has on the stereo that day.
8. What’s your favourite social media account to follow?
9. If you could try another sport, what would it be and why?
I grew up with lacrosse as my summer sport, starting at age four. At the end of every hockey season, I remember putting my skates away and picking up a lacrosse stick. When one sport was over the other began, and I think it made me that much more excited to get back to it when you took a break for a few months. I gave up lacrosse at 16 when I started playing in the Ontario Hockey League and I’ve missed it ever since.
10. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you as an athlete?
As a minor hockey player, I recall getting kicked out of a game and being forced to do a skate of shame because the benches were on the opposite side of the dressing rooms. During the skate across the ice I could hear the other team’s players saying things and their parents clapping at the decision of the referee. I then went to step off the ice and lost an edge on my skate, falling hard into the open door. I remember getting up and running to the dressing room embarrassed knowing all eyes were on me.