Professional hockey players are often perceived to be as cold hearted as the ice they skate on.
But underneath the helmets and pads,there’s more than meets the ice.
“I’d say some of the toughest guys in the game are the biggest teddy bears off the ice,” Indy Fuel captain Zach Miskovic said. “Not always but for the most part.”
Miskovic is in his second season with the Fuel and he’s been navigating the pro hockey ranks since 2009, playing with the same child-like excitement now as he did when he first laced up his skates growing up near Chicago.
“I thoroughly fell in love with the game then and I still have that passion and drive today,” Miskovic said.
Miskovic learned to skate at the age of two, and he’s now passing on that love of hockey to his one-year old son, Maddox, who often hops on the ice after Fuel games.
“Maddox loves the ice. I guess he's born into being a fan from day one and I think he watched his first hockey game when he was three or four weeks old,” Miskovic said. "I don't want to push him too quick. My dad did a great job giving us the opportunity to play all sports and make our own decision and I would like to do the same thing for him.”
The Fuel organization's emphasis on community outreach, with activities like “Sunday Family Skate, allows Mikcovic to share his passion and create some young Fuel fans along the way.
“They're reaching out and building a program with the youth,” Miskovic said. “I can connect with that and I thoroughly enjoy helping young people and young players like I was helped along the way from university players and even pro players that I got to go out and skate with as a young boy and really looked up to.”
And becoming a father is not the only experience that has given the 31-year-old added perspective this past year. An injury forced him off the ice and the captain took on a coaching capacity, exploring roles behind the bench.
“There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that a lot of people don't get to see and I have a new appreciation for that job and that side of the business,” Miskovic said. “In the future, do I see myself potentially coaching, sure, i think it would be a great opportunity and a great challenge.”
Miskovoic is hopeful to continue his hockey journey playing within his hometown Blackhawks organization while building his family in Indy.
“I think moving my family here, I'd love to be here, if there's an opportunity for me, I'd love to stay. Year-to-year it’s a contract based job and wherever that might be, hopefully that's here. I’d like to play for couple more years and see where this life takes me.”