May 13, 2013
Anaheim, Calif. — Ducks forward Emerson Etem found out quickly NHL veterans don't wait for anyone.
Especially a 14-year-old, which Etem was, who wanted to train with NHL stars such as former Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios and Kings star Rob Blake.
During breakfast, Etem was always the last one left, constantly working on his breakfast burrito.
"Eat faster and be a man," said Etem, of what the veterans would tell him. "By the end of the summer, I'd be one of the first."
Being around the likes of Chelios and Blake and various other NHL stars (former Wings forward Jiri Hudler was also involved with trainer T.R. Goodman) proved to be significant to Etem's development.
Goodman's summer workouts in Santa Monica have become a magnet for NHL players.
"To see what they're doing and the fact they're in the gym four hours a day," said Etem, "that mind-set as a young kid, it was great for me to learn and I still have those values today."
The work ethic Chelios has in the gym is legendary, but especially in those summer workouts in Santa Monica.
Etem, for sure, was impressed as a teenager.
"I was watching Cheli but we didn't talk much because he was so intense in those workouts," Etem said. "He wouldn't talk too much. We'd joked around afterward. But to see that intensity it was pretty incredible to see when you're a 13- or 14-year old, to see that stuff, it's helped me today."
Etem, who is from Long Beach, Calif., showed his own admirable determination back then.
For about three or four years, Etem estimates, he would get up at about 5 or 6 a.m. and rollerblade 30 minutes to get to the train station. He'd ride the train 30 minutes to get to another train where he'd go another 30 minutes before taking the bus for another 40 minutes to get to Santa Monica.
"About two hours every day," Etem said. "Then I got my (driver's) license."
COURTESY: Detroit Free Press