My job, as I see it, is to help bring Canucks fans as close as possible to Canucks players.
This past weekend that involved hanging out with Zack Kassian in his hometown of Windor, Ontario; Jason Steensma, Rory McGarry, Jessica McNeill and myself did what we had to do in the name of getting the best coverage possible.
Sure, we spent an afternoon with Kassian on his boat, but did we enjoy it? Ya, it was friggin’ awesome actually and you’re going to adore the video footage we collected. For now, here’s a recap of our first day adventures with Kassian. (Part II will be published Tuesday)
10 a.m. – We arrive at Kassian’s home in Tecumeh, a suburb outside of Windsor. Nice place, he and girlfriend Cassandra bought it in May. First thing you notice when you walk in is that there’s no furniture besides a leather couch in the den. The couple just finished remodeling, so furnishing the house is next.
10:01 a.m. – The ridiculously adorable dog that is so excited visitors are over is Jax, a three-year-old Havanese named after Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy. If you haven’t seen SOA, do yourself a favour and check it out. “Just do it,” said Kassian. “It’s intense and awesome.”
10:25 a.m. – While Rory, Jessica and Jason set up cameras and lights for an interview with Zack, I try to find Jax for a play. As you can see, Jax is a master of camouflage.
11:15 a.m. – Zack’s backyard backs onto a canal, which accesses Lake St. Clair. We do our first interview on the dock, nothing too invasive, just about his house, living on the water and boating. We also answered a few Twitter questions before my phone died. I’m such a pro. Best reveal from the interview is that Kassian can’t name a single Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. “I grew up watching Arthur, Magic School Bus and Bugs Bunny – nice shows.”
12:00 p.m. – “Let’s hit the water!” I love when Zack’s in charge. After a quick run to the store for bathing suits and sunglasses, we were on our way back to Zack’s – wait, not yet. “We have to make a stop,” said Kass. He came back with four Mr. Freeze freezies. It was honestly one of the best moments of my life; that blue freezie was tremendous.
12:45 p.m. – Boat loaded, away we go! Not so fast. “That doesn’t sound right,” said Kassian, reving the engine once we hit the open water. After some maneuvering, Big Cat (as Kevin Bieksa calls him) had us flying across the water. I notice Zack is driving the boat with the fingers on his left hand crossed. “We’re almost out of gas, I’m just hoping we make it.”
1:03 p.m. – We made it, just barely. The fueling station is conveniently located beside a restaurant called Sandbar, so we drop in for lunch. Cassandra is with us, as is Kass’ best friend Dan Maggio, forward for the Lake Erie Monsters who grew up with Zack. The pair played mini-minor hockey together and battled it out in the OHL.
1:37 p.m. – Waiting for our food, a bug hit Kassian in the head. He looked around, confused. Then I saw it on his shirt and the bug was the size of a pterodactyl, so when I pointed out the bug to Kass, HE FREAKED OUT! Zack was up on his feet with his shirt off in a flash; he almost flipped the table over and was legit scared for his life. In all the commotion he tossed his t-shirt onto Rory, who calmly flicked the bug away. I have tears in my eyes typing this thinking back to how funny it was.
1:50 p.m. – Conversation is still dominated by the bug that attacked Zack. That leads us to a reveal from Kassian: he’s terrified of sharks and snakes and ghosts. “I thought my house was haunted when I bought it.” As of now, Kass hasn’t seen any ghosts.
2:30 p.m. – Kassian delivers a solid nine of a cannon ball. He lost a point for splash height.
2:35 p.m. – Talking to Cassandra, who just finished a communications degree at Ryerson in Toronto. I interrupt what she’s saying to point out that if she and Zack get married, she’ll be Cass Kass. Yep, you’re welcome for that amazing insight.
3:00 p.m. – Every Sunday when the sun is shining all the locals meet on the water at the ‘Swim Hole,’ a huge area in the lake that is only four feet deep. Everyone anchors their boats and the relaxation begins. Sunday was indeed funday. Kassian has a great group of friends, they’re all very proud of what he’s accomplished and said the drive he has is unlike anything they’ve seen.
7:00 p.m. – An amazing dinner at La Rucola to end a fantastic day. No bug attacks, but an adorable cook came out from the kitchen and got her photo taken with Kass. She was beyond stoked.
9:00 p.m. – We part ways and rest up for a busy Monday. Time to go to work.
***** At home with Kassian: Part II will be published Tuesday, July 15th*****
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