Do you believe in yourself? I mean truly believe in yourself? To keep working hard both on and off the ice until there isn’t anything left in the tank. To grit your teeth because everything you have worked for seems to be coming up empty but you still carry on.
So I will ask you all again, ‘Do you believe in Yourself?’
I have had the great previlage to know a young man who did and still does believe in himself. He worked so hard to get where he is now he is still willing to work even harder to stay there and to move upward. A young player who is so determined to make it big that he never ever takes a night off nor takes anything for granted, he just moves forward. He moves forward when he gets rejected at a main camp and the coaches tell him to work on this and that, which he does. He believes in his God gifted talent so much that he knows in his own mind he will make it no matter what! That to me is a believe that so many of us will never know. A powerfull believe that only a few us will be able to understand and a few of us who will be amazed.
Jonathan Rizzo is this player. This young man who has the God gifted talent to be a hockey player like no one else know’s to be like. A beautiful skater who like a past NHL professional Paul Coffeey, would skate with such ease and grazefully along the white of the ice. Who seems to never get tired doing so night after night, game after game. And just not his skating ability that draws your attention but the way he see’s the whole ice in front him, controlling the play like a General should. The powerfull slap shot from the point is taken and noticed by the opposition goalie so many times that it is heard through out the rinks in Quebec if by chance one of those ‘blazers’ misses the target.
Now just a while back I had the opportunity to speak with Jonathan about where he has come from and where he is now and his own thoughts on his future, lets have a look.
INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN RIZZO
UHS: Jonathan Welcome and Thanks for taking this time to speak with us all.
JR: No problem. Thanks for having me.
UHS: Tell us a little about yourself will you?
JR: Sure, I’m from a small town in Ontario called Ingersoll. A great hockey town which is situated just beside another great hockey town called Woodstock. Along with my dad Ralph and my mom Angela I have a brother Nicolas who is 15 and another brother Daniel age 13. I played most of my minor hockey in Ingersoll and then AAA hockey in Guelph and Brantford. I was playing Jr.B hockey in a small community called St.Marys. It was short stay there but a lot of fun and I was able to play with some of my buddies to.
UHS: Great stuff. Let me ask you this, Did you ever think you would be playing Major A hockey at anytime?
JR: Well when I was younger, the goal was always to get drafted and play at the major junior level. However, after I didn’t get drafted I never thought I would ever be able to get an opportunity like this but I never gave up hope. I continued to your work hard and try to improve.
UHS: What is the difference playing Major A in the Q league then to what you had been playing?
JR: The hockey in the Q is quite a bit faster then Jr.B. Guys are all stronger and smarter with good awareness of the ice. At the beginning I had trouble adjusting with the speed and strength of the players here but I feel like I am getting more comfortable as time goes on. The practices are also a lot harder and the schedule is alot more demanding.
UHS: I guess that’s understandable. Now, so far with the games you have played what do you think you need to work on the most?
JR: I definitely need to work on my size but I am hoping that will come with time and hard work. I need to work on the decisions I make with the puck because guys here are better at anticipating playes. I also need to work on my shot and my one timer plus the 1 on 1 situations.
UHS: Describe your typical day now, what you eat, your routine?
JR: A typical weekday for me starts with a 7am wakeup. I have to be at the rink by 7:30am for a team meeting and stuff and to be on the ice usually between 8-8:20. Practices are always very hard and they go until 10am. After practice I will work out in the work out room for about a hour with some of my team mates until 11:30. Afterwards I will get something to eat, have a short nap if I have time and then go to school for 1pm to 3pm. After school I have the rest of the day to do what I want. Sometimes I will go to the gym or watch some tv or to the movies. On game days I will have a nap for at least an hour. After my nap I will have a pre game meal usually consisting of pasta. I have to be at the rink at least 2 hours before the game where there are meetings, warmups as a team. After all that I will stick handle by myself then tape my stick on the bench and get myself focused.
UHS: Sounds like to have it down to a routine, good for you. What’s your off season training like?
JR: During the off season I go to the gym 6 times a week with some of the other guys that live in Ingersoll.
UHS: Tell us, What are your own goals moving forward?
JR: A goal I would love to accomplish now would be to get the opportunity to experience an NHL camp. I just think it would be a really great experience and quite an accomplisment.
UHS: Ok now for some fun questions for you! As of right now who has been the best player you have played against?
JR: Oh I would say it would be Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Moosehead. He is a very talented 16 year old, someone to watch for.
UHS: Yes we have heard some great things about him for sure. Ok now, Who is your favorite hockey player?
JR: Drew Doughty. He is very talented and smart with the puck.
UHS: What advise would you give for any younger player making the jump to Jr.A?
JR: I would advise them just to enjoy the ride and to work hard. Its a great opportunity and a great life to live. Soak it all in. It can also open up other doors so work as hard as you can to achieve your potential and your goals.
UHS: Any last advise for the young hockey player to try to do?
JR: Just do your best and don’t take it so seriously. It’s good to be competitive but remember it’s just a game. The most important part of hockey is to have fun. The best hockey players are confident in their abilities. Always try to instil the confidence in yourself to be better and to be the best that you can be.
UHS: Great advise. Well from UHS Jonathan, we like to Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule and sharing with us. All the best in the season ahead and to your future hockey career.
Well wasn’t that great. I am so thankfull to know this young man and what he believes in, just not in himself but what got him to where he is and what will get him to where he wants to go!
By Warren Nye, UltimateHockeySource.com
December 10th, 2011