EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 23, 2013

Around the Horn with PInkerton volleyball player Zach Sanford

Michael Muldoon
mmuldoon@eagletribune.com

---- — Zach Sanford played volleyball for the first time this spring and made second-team all-state for Pinkerton.

Of course, the 2012 Eagle-Tribune MVP’s favorite sport is hockey. The recent Pinkerton grad will play another year of Juniors then head to Boston College in the fall of 2014.

This winter the Auburn resident scored 16 goals with 28 assists in 44 games for the Islanders Hockey Club. He’s ranked 60th among all North American skaters for the NHL Draft.

In this week’s Around the Horn, Sanford talked about the draft, his decision to play volleyball and teaming up with his ex-Pinkerton linemate J.D. Dudek at BC.

What made you play volleyball for the first time? “A bunch of my buddies, mostly Harry Duval and Ryan Williams, from school got me into it. I was going to play last year but with hockey it was too much. This year I had more free time.”

What was the experience like? “It was wicked fun playing with a bunch of my friends. It was for fun but we were pretty good. All-around it was a great experience.”

Were you surprised you did so well? “Yes and no. Another friend has a beach volleyball court, Teddy McCarran. We play there every summer. He got me into it. Three quarters through the season I still didn’t know where to go! They were good about it.”

What was your volleyball background? “The beach volleyball was it.”

What was the story of you juggling an NHL workout and the volleyball? “There were a bunch of meetings with NHL teams for the draft. I had to miss a practice or two. I tried to schedule the meetings around it. I did the meetings in Derry.”

What are you doing this summer? “The big thing I’m looking forward to is the draft (on June 30). I’m working out a lot trying to get bigger.”

What are your draft prospects? “I’ve been hearing second round or early third, Possibly late first.”

Were you always a top prospect? “A year ago, I wouldn’t even have been in the conversation. This year I had a pretty good season with the Islanders. At the end of the season, I played great (4 goals and 4 assists in 7 playoff games).”

Is thinking about the draft nerve-racking? “A little bit. It’s been a drawn-out process. Not too many nerves. The draft doesn’t really matter. It matters Juniors then BC.”

Are you going back to the Islanders? “I’m not sure. I’ll weigh my options on the Islanders or the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL.”

Which way are you leaning? “To be honest, I’m leaning to the USHL.”

Will that be a tough move? “No, I don’t think so. I’ll have to move away eventually and the year after it will be back to Boston.”

Any second thoughts on your commitment to BC? “BC didn’t come into the picture until late. I was really close to going to UNH and considering Cornell. I really loved BC and fell in love with the school.”

Was it tough playing Juniors instead of for Pinkerton last winter? “It was definitely tough. I went to a couple games and missed it a lot. But it was definitely the right decision. Something I needed to do. We won the state title the year before. Me and J.D. both had to do it.”

What will it be like being reunited with J.D. at BC? “It will be great. I’m really looking forward to it. He’s a great player. Hopefully, we can join back up on the same line at BC.”

How big are you? “6-4, 190.”

Are you strong? “This is my first summer working out hard. I’ve been working out for a couple months at Mike Boyle’s in Andover.”

Do any other hockey players work out there? “A couple kids from Providence, a couple from Maine. (Former Phillips and current N.Y. Rangers star) Chris Kreider, I met him the other day.”

What’s your favorite personal athletic achievement? “Probably winning the state championship at Pinkerton.”

Do you play any other sports? “I was pretty good at baseball. But hockey was the priority. That ended my baseball career. I played my freshman year then I played summer ball.”

What’s been the lowest point of your career? “At the beginning of my sophomore year, my parents got divorced. I had that on my mind all the time. I wasn’t playing well. (Ex-Pinkerton coach Casey Kesselring) helped me out.”

Do you work? “Starting (this) week at a metal recycling shop my friend’s (Jordyn Tetler) dad owns. Winfield Alloy in Atkinson.”

What’s something people don’t know about you? “I really like Justin Bieber.”

What’s your dream job? “Other than playing NHL, I think it would really be cool to be a sports agent.”

Who’s your dream date? “Selena Gomez.”

What is your pet peeve? “When people breathe heavily in class. Like they have the sniffles and you’re trying to take a test.”

Do you have a nickname? “A lot of the kids this year called me Sandy.”

Do you have any pets? “A dog, a mini chocolate Lab, Brody.”

Have you ever met anybody famous? “I met Adam Sandler at a baseball game when I was 13 or 14 and I was playing with his nephew. Kevin James was there, too. I was pitching and I actually hit his nephew in the leg!”

If you were named principal, what’s the first thing you’d do? “I’d change the school lunches. I’m not a big fan.”

SANDY’S FAVORITES

Group or singer: Chris Brown

Song: Beat It by Chris Brown

Book: Holes by Louis Sachar

Website: Stumbleupon

App: Instagram

Actor-actress: Tom Cruise

Movie: Happy Gilmore

TV show: Key and Peele

Athlete: I would say Sidney Crosby but after that last series I’m not liking him too much. I like Derek Jeter a lot.

Are you a Yankees fan? He’s the only one I like. I’m a Red Sox guy.

Food: Steak

Car: Beamer

Restaurant: Longhorn Steakhouse

Teacher: Mr. (Steve) Gundrum for physics