Q&A WITH TRAVIS TURNBULLFeatures | 3/1/2012 10:01:23 AM | Dan Peters
Rochester Americans forward Travis Turnbull is having a career-year in 2011-12. In 46 games, the 25-year-old forward has contributed 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points while also being a consistent thorn in the side of the opposition.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, where he played four years of NCAA hockey, Turnbull was signed out of college as a free agent by the Portland Pirates. The Chesterfield, MO native spent two seasons with the Pirates before the Buffalo Sabres reunited with the Amerks in the summer of 2011.
Travis, however, is not the first member of the Turnbull family to play professional hockey. His father, Perry, was drafted in the first round (second overall) of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues. The elder Turnbull went on to appear in over 600 NHL games with St. Louis, Montreal and Winnipeg.
The feisty Amerks forward recently took the time to discuss an array of topics, both hockey and non-hockey related, to give fans some insight into the player who wears No. 11 for the hometown team.
Q: Which particular hockey moment stands out over the course of your career to this point?
Turnbull: Playing my first exhibition game with the Sabres. I was able to play in a game at the Kraft Hockeyville preseason event in Dundas, Ontario two years ago and that was really cool.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your new puppy.
Turnbull: Her name is Minka and we actually rescued her. We are not exactly sure what kind of dog she is, but when we got her they told us they thought she was a lab mix but didn’t know for sure. We will have to see what she looks like when she grows up. We named her after Minka Kelly, the star of (NBC series) Friday Night Lights. She is a really good dog, really smart and actually hasn’t had many accidents!
Q: How much of an influence did your father have as you grew up and developed playing hockey?
Turnbull: He has been probably the biggest influence on my hockey career over anyone else. When I was younger he put me in every single sport and I just decided that I wanted to play hockey, so he didn’t push me into that. He is very supportive, watches every game, and is very knowledgeable. I talk to him all the time about things and he gives me that outside perspective and can tell me things to work on as well.
Q: Why did you decide to attend the University of Michigan (to play hockey) as opposed to other schools or options?
Turnbull: (Head Coach) Red Berenson was a big factor in that, but also the winning tradition that they have there is second to none. I couldn’t have picked a better place to go and that was definitely the best four years of my life so far. I got to get a great education, play for a great coach and organization with a great history. I was originally drafted by the (Ontario Hockey League’s) London Knights and was leaning towards going there, but Michigan offered me a full scholarship and Coach Berenson called me and talked to me about it so I decided on that.
Q: What are some of your hobbies outside of hockey?
Turnbull: Golf, fishing, and hunting. I like to be outdoors all the time.
Q: Which NHL players did you admire most growing up?
Turnbull: Brett Hull was definitely my favorite player growing up. I was also a big fan of Brendan Shanahan. I liked guys like Dallas Drake too, the warrior-type guys who were always big in the playoffs and battled through it. I didn’t know if I would be able to be a Brett Hull type player so I watched those guys as well.
Q: Who is the best player you have ever played against?
Turnbull: I played against Paul Stastny in juniors and my line always had to matchup against his when I was a rookie. He was dominant in the USHL and he is dominant in the NHL now. He is definitely the best player I have ever played against.
Q: Who is your roommate on the road and how do you guys get along?
Turnbull: It has been Corey Tropp when he isn’t up in the NHL or injured, but I have also had Marcus Foligno for a while. They are both good. I have probably been with Marcus a bit more this year, but we have fun together and play “Hanging with Friends” together on our iPads, so it’s good.
Q: What is your favorite sport outside of hockey to follow and watch?
Turnbull: I am a big baseball fan, and love the St. Louis Cardinals but no other teams (laughs). I don’t know if it has to do with being from Missouri since I played baseball growing up. Also, I love golf and watch that all the time, so it’s tough to choose.