The subject of this interview is Tristan Foltz. Tristan was a player on the first two teams that I coached. He went on to have a great travel career and was named Captain of his high school team. He is in his first season with the Topeka Roadrunners of the North American Hockey League.
Tristan grew up in Houghton Michigan and grew very fond of hockey at an early age. His first exposure to hockey came when he was very small. His parents were given tickets to a Michigan Tech Hockey game; thinking that he would sleep the whole game, they brought him along. His eyes did not come off the game and from that point on his parents knew that he would be a hockey player. His dad started him out skating at a small outdoor rink a few blocks from their house when he was 2 years old. His dad was also his coach for his first year of organized hockey. Although nobody in his family grew up playing hockey they all adapted and soon learned to love the game as much as he did.
Mike Lowery: How and why did you start playing hockey?
Tristan Foltz: Hockey was something I learned at a very young age and became a way of life for me. My father spent long hours volunteering his time with many other neighborhood dads trying to restore the old rink, so I ended up spending most of my free time in the winters skating while he worked.
ML: What are the biggest challenges you currently face with your career in hockey?
T.F.: The biggest challenges I am recently facing have come from the change in levels. The NAHL is much faster than high school and the players are much bigger and stronger. This makes the training a lot more intense and more frequent.
M.L.: What are some of your biggest accomplishments to date?
T.F.: Made first team All-State my Senior of high school. Played for Team Michigan my Junior and Senior years. My biggest accomplishment has been making the Topeka Roadrunners.
M.L.: What are your future goals in the game of hockey?
T.F.: I wish to play Division 1 College hockey. I would really love to play for Michigan Tech. It would mean a lot for my family as well as give me a good start to my life with a great education.
M.L.: What do you like to do in your spare time?
T.F.: I enjoy golfing in the off season, hanging out at the beach with friends, hunting and boating
M.L.: Who and what have been your biggest influences to get you to this point in your career?
T.F.: My biggest influences have been my coaches throughout the years along with my family and friends.
M.L.: If you could change anything about your career up until this point, what would you change?
T.F.: I have really enjoyed all of my hockey career. The one thing that I might have changed would be going to Junior tryouts earlier. Living in such a small town and rarely traveling far for hockey did not leave me with a ton of exposure. But I am very grateful for the chance I have been given to play for the Roadrunners.
M.L.: Can you provide me with some advice to share for prospective players trying to play in the NAHL?
T.F.: Advice that I would give…..Workout and then workout harder. You can never be too strong or too in-shape. Have fun with hockey and try not to rush your hockey career. It’s a game, don’t take the fun out of it.
M.L.: What does your in-season training and off-season training consist of?
T.F.: In-season training is a lot of injury prevention. Making sure that your muscles stay strong and you do not waste all of your hard work from the off-season. This means a lot of running, weight training, and plyometric jumps. Off-season is a lot of weight training in order to get stronger for the upcoming season. Running is also a big part of summer training.
M.L.: What are some of the best things you have been taught or learned about the game?
T.F.: Some lessons I have learned from hockey are patience and hard work. You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it stay focused on your goal.
M.L.: What are some of the best things you have been taught or learned that you can use
outside of the game?
T.F.: Many of the lessons that I have learned in hockey will transfer over to life. Things such as determination and passion. Dedication is something that has been very big for me.
M.L.: What is life like playing in the NAHL?
T.F.: Playing in the NAHL has been a very big change for me. Hockey is more like a job than anything else at this level. The dedication it takes to play at this level is much more than I have experienced playing at other levels. It is a very fun style of hockey and is a great level to play at.
M.L.: What are your future goals outside of hockey?
T.F.: I am not totally sure of what my plans are after playing hockey, I have thought about coaching and possibly becoming an engineer, but I have not set anything in stone.
M.L.: What was the biggest adjustment from High School to Junior A Hockey?
T.F.: The biggest difference between high school and juniors is the speed. Playing juniors is a man’s game. It is a lot more aggressive and skilled.
M.L.: Favorite Five: Pregame Meal?/Player of All-Time?/Pro Hockey Team?/Hockey Memory?/Place to play?
T.F.: My favorite pre game meal is chicken with noodles and Alfredo sauce; Duncan Keith is my favorite player to watch; I am a Blackhawks fan; my most memorable hockey experience was my freshman year on the Houghton High School hockey team; and my favorite place to play is the Dee Stadium in Houghton, Michigan.