Isaac Howard is aware of the best way to make an impression.
On the 2022 NHL draft, when he was chosen thirty first general by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Howard wore a vivid white go well with, a blue turtleneck and a gold chain, tying all of it along with an American-flag belt buckle. He declared himself “the best-looking man right here” throughout an interview with ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.
On the 2024 world junior championships in Sweden, Howard scored seven objectives in seven video games to assist the Individuals win gold, together with two within the championship remaining in opposition to the house staff.
He goes by “Ike.” He goes by “Ice Man,” a nickname from his dad as a result of he would not ever get off the ice as a child. He is a sophomore star at Michigan State. And he simply earned free Chipotle meals for a yr.
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The place does the gold medal go?
Howard: I have never thought of that but, to be trustworthy. I am considering most likely simply hanging it subsequent to my mattress simply so I can see that every single day, what I imply? It is a enjoyable factor to have a look at, so I am going to most likely simply put it up on, like, a hanger in my room.
The gold-medal sport was superior in opposition to the Swedes. Clearly very intense. What was the take care of the brawl on the finish of the sport? And on prime of that, how would you describe your teammate Lane Hudson’s preventing model?
Howard: The feelings have been excessive in that gold-medal sport. They have been form of on the lookout for one thing on the finish of the sport and a pair issues led to a different. After which Huddy bought in a pleasant little scrap there and I assumed he did good. Like he form of dodged a giant proper hand and was capable of take the man down. And it simply added to how enjoyable the win was. Everybody on the bench was going nuts and loving it.
Did he dodge it or did it simply miss him, contemplating Lane’s listed at 5-foot-10?
Howard: I would prefer to say Lane dodged him.
USA Hockey is kicking tail in all places proper now: the world junior championship this yr, after which loaded nationwide groups with NHL gamers for a global event in 2025 and the Olympics in 2026. What does it really feel prefer to be arising at a time when the U.S. is absolutely making its huge transfer internationally?
Howard: You possibly can see it all through the entire nation. Every state, there’s gamers arising. The depth our nation has is superior. It is simply turning into a extremely cool and thrilling hockey nation, which is superior to be part of.
So the staff will get free Chipotle for a yr for successful world juniors.
Howard: [Laughs] Oh yeah!
Do they provide you a card? How do you redeem the free Chipotle for a yr?
Howard: It begins subsequent week for us. It simply goes by means of our telephone. Proper on our app, they only load it in every single day. I will be trying to abuse that for positive.
Is it limitless? Like, are you able to go 3 times a day if you happen to wished to?
Howard: I do not know but. I have never gotten the complete particulars. However I believe it is both one entree a day or one swipe a day. I am undecided but utterly.
What’s your go-to order there?
Howard: Usually it is a bowl, white rice, double hen, black beans, guac, cheese, bitter cream. After which the French dressing, after all, to prime it off.
What’s it about hockey gamers and Chipotle? Jack Hughes landed an endorsement deal. I do know the boys on the U.S. junior staff find it irresistible and name it “Chipper,” proper?
Howard: It is similar to the right little meal after skates or a exercise or an extended day. Like, you simply need to go get a Chipper bowl. It isn’t deep fried or something. You are getting like actual meat, hen or steak and it is form of simply … it is the bundle. So many guys like hen and rice. Chipotle has that and it is tasty.
I might say I am going to Chipotle like three or 4 occasions every week proper now. I am going to most likely go 5 or 6 occasions every week now. Sport days could be the one day I do not go.
You have been chosen thirty first general. So that you’re proper on the border of the primary and second spherical, however you’re a first-round choose. How a lot does that matter to you to be chosen on the finish of the primary spherical versus the second spherical?
Howard: It was a giant reduction. Like, I did not need to need to undergo that course of once more, what I imply? Get up and head again right down to the rink the following day. So I used to be simply ready to listen to my title referred to as. When it lastly occurred, it felt unreal. It is such an extended course of. I really feel like I used to be there for 4 and a half hours, simply ready. When you’re there in particular person, it simply goes by so gradual. After I bought my title revealed, it felt superior.
Considered one of your extra well-known quotes was with our colleague Emily Kaplan on the NHL draft — you stated you have been the best-looking man there, moments after you have been chosen. Our essential query to you: Have been you the best-looking man on Group USA?
Howard: From a nonbiased perspective, I am going to need to say “yeah” on that one. , stick with what I consider in.
Clearly one of many greatest tales in hockey is Cutter Gauthier deciding that he’s going to not play for the Philadelphia Flyers, after which they traded him to the Anaheim Ducks. What was your response to seeing that entire factor go down with Cutter this week?
Howard: I used to be slightly stunned. Um, , I did not know that that was within the works or something like that. However I assume that is one thing that may occur. It is a enterprise. Trades occur and whatnot. However I used to be undoubtedly slightly bit stunned.
Might you ever think about knowingly making your self public enemy No. 1 to the followers in Philadelphia like Cutter simply did?
Howard: He is bought a powerful thoughts to him. I believe he’ll be simply positive.
While you ultimately get to the NHL, are there any gamers you are dying to match up in opposition to?
Howard: There is a ton of gamers. When you’re lastly on the massive stage enjoying within the NHL, there’s superstars everywhere in the league. It’s going to undoubtedly be actually cool to look over and face off in opposition to some guys that I grew up watching. I believe that is one of many coolest elements about turning into a participant within the NHL.
Who was your man rising up?
Howard: I actually appreciated Ovechkin. I liked his swagger, his objective scoring. He was simply actually enjoyable to look at.
You grew up watching the Minnesota Wild. What is going to it’s prefer to play in that enviornment for the primary time?
Howard: Yeah, it’s going to be candy. That is the rink I grew up watching. It was similar to 25 minutes from my home, so me and my brothers and oldsters would at all times haul down there and catch video games. It is a actually enjoyable barn. So if I bought the possibility to play in there, that’d be unreal.