Rangers rookie defenseman Adam Fox of Jericho, L.I., and Harvard catches up with Post columnist Steve Serby for some Q&A.
Q: What is it like looking up in the stands and seeing your family?
A: Yeah, it’s awesome. My parents were pretty fortunate to come to most of my college games ’cause it was pretty close. I was able to see them a little more there. Not as many people in the crowd could spot them pretty easily (smile). I kinda like when they’re there. It’s nice having them there and watch me play. My dad hasn’t had season tickets for a few years now, but I think I could kinda hook him up now with some tickets to games, which is nice (smile).
Q: Your dad was a Rangers season-ticket holder for a long time.
A: He’s not necessarily watching as a diehard fan anymore — he’s watching as a parent, so [that] definitely changes his view on each game, for sure (smile).
Q: Did you ever imagine playing for the Rangers growing up in Jericho?
A: I would have liked to, but I didn’t as a kid ever really think it would come to fruition.
Q: Are you more like your mother or father?
A: I’ll say my mom. I always watched her shows growing up with her — like we’d watch “Friends” together and that. But I have a little bit of both. Me and my dad play golf together and do all that. It’s a healthy mix of their personalities.
Q: Tell me about Nico.
A: I was friendly with his brother [on Long Island]. My mom got pretty close with their mom, and we went to their house a bunch. He kinda became a big fan of my hockey career and followed me throughout different tournaments. He was calling me during the World Juniors and everything. He passed away two years ago, and it was definitely a tough moment. He was one of [very few] people ever with chromosome 11 deficiency. He was pretty normal up until, I think, 3 years old. I’m pretty sure he hung on a lot longer than he was supposed to. He always had like an oxygen tank with him and trouble breathing and all that. He was stuck in a wheelchair for most of his life later on. We would always go there and have hide-and-seek Nerf wars or whatever. He was a really nice kid, too.
Q: How old was he when he passed away?
A: I think he was 21.
Q: How long did you know him?
A: Probably seven, eight years.
Q: You were an inspiration to him then?
A: Hopefully. He was definitely a supporter of mine. I’d say more he was an inspiration for me more than me to him, probably.
Q: How so?
A: When you actually saw him, it was obviously tough, and he was super positive, never once was complaining about anything. Every time you went there, he always had a good energy and made you feel good. So it was definitely tough when he passed away.
Q: The day he passed away?
A: I was at school. My mom called me. I saw a lot of friends posting about it, and they still do on the anniversary of it, so it was definitely a tough one.
Q: Your mentality on the ice?
A: I try and be calm. I try and be poised with the puck and make the right decision.
Q: Every defenseman has his own style.
A: I think I’m an offensive defenseman. I try and create plays and try and just get it to the forwards and kinda let them do their thing.
Q: You’re on the second power-play unit?
A: It’s definitely a nice time to be creative and make some plays.
Q: You’re known for having hockey sense?
A: Yeah, I think I have a good hockey sense. My ability to see the ice and see things develop is definitely a strong suit of my game. Definitely not the biggest guy out there or anything, but I think being able to use that hockey sense definitely helps me.
Q: Artemi Panarin?
A: I think just how deceptive he is. Sometimes it doesn’t look like he’s going too fast, or whenever he has the puck, he doesn’t look like he’s gonna outmuscle you, but he finds a way to do it and always seems to make a play even when it looks like there isn’t one.
Q: Kaapo Kakko?
A: You kinda forget that he’s 18. You look at him — the way he could handle the puck and the way he could skate — [and] he’s definitely a special player. A super-skilled, fun-to-watch player.
Q: Are you fun to watch?
A: I think that’s for other people to decide (smile). I’d like to think so.
Q: Jacob Trouba?
A: He’s a big, strong player. He’s a solid guy on the back end.
Q: Hank [Henrik Lundqvist]?
A: I don’t score on him much. You could tell from that first game how good he is and why he’s been so good for so long.
Q: Coach David Quinn?
A: Played against him my freshman year when I was at Harvard and he was at BU [Boston University]. A coach that kinda understands where I’m coming from and the adjustment I’m trying to make.
Q: Which New York teams aside from the Rangers did you root for growing up?
A: I liked the Jets and the Mets. I was a big David Wright fan growing up.
Q: Athletes in other sports you admire?
A: Steph Curry, LeBron [James], Brooks Koepka.
Q: What is it about Koepka?
A: He’s just fun to watch. He’s obviously got a nice swagger to him. He just goes and plays; doesn’t overthink much.
Q: Harvard coach Ted Donato?
A: He kinda helped me mature as a person, a player, but also let me play my game and didn’t try to change who I was on the ice. He’s got a great personality to him, a lot of fun to be around, so I really enjoyed my time with him.
Q: Favorite Harvard hockey moment?
A: Probably winning the Beanpot [in 2017]. Harvard hadn’t done it in … 24 years when I got there. Also making the Frozen Four [in 2017] was good — obviously disappointed to lose — but those were some fun moments.
Q: What did you study there?
A: I was a psychology major.
Q: Did you have a favorite class?
A: There was a health psych class I took that was kinda just talking about how your mental state affects your overall health, and we kinda took it in the scheme of athletes, too. A lot of athletes took that and I wrote a paper on people who are clutch and kinda what their actual thinking and mental state behind all that is.
Q: What did you learn from writing that paper that you could apply to your career?
A: Just being calm. I think a big thing is understanding that practice is where you’re gonna get better, and then the games, you just go out and play. In practice, you could focus more on specific things. … Just going in confident and knowing that you’re prepared to play is one of the big things.
Q: But a lot of guys are prepared to play and are not clutch.
A: There’s an aspect of nerves and all that and dealing with that, so I think just staying calm. I think even for me, being a rookie, first few games, a lot of nerves going and a lot of emotion, so just controlling that and being able to focus on playing hockey.
Q: Do you consider yourself clutch?
A: I want to be someone who’s relied on in those moments, for sure. You could say, “I’m fast, I’m strong.” I don’t really think people say, “I’m clutch.” How do you describe it, you know?
Q: How do you feel about being one of the few Jewish athletes?
A: It’s definitely nice to represent a community, for sure.
Q: You were 3 years old on 9/11
A: I actually have a friend whose dad passed away in it. I couldn’t tell you anything about the day when it actually happened — I was too young — but obviously being from New York, you kinda see the affect it has on the friends of those families as well and kinda everyone connected.
Q: Winning a gold medal at the World Juniors?
A: That was awesome. Kinda the way we won it [shootout] made it even more special — beating Canada in Montreal, the Bell Centre was sold out, and it was definitely a nerve-wracking ending there.
Q: How old were you when you started skating at Iceworks?
A: Probably like 3 years old. My dad was a big hockey fan, and I have an older brother who played, and my dad kinda had a little roller rink in the basement — you know, the tile and everything — so had me on roller blades down there, just, I guess, walking more than skating (smile). I was the youngest, so me and my brother [Andrew] got thrown in the net, and I wasn’t too afraid of tennis balls, so I just kinda jumped in front of whatever, so, I guess, I was pretty good in there. For as long as I can remember, I had a hockey stick in my hand.
Q: Your first hockey coach, Mike Bracco of the Long Island Gulls?
A: He was a big supporter of me. People were like, “Ah, not good enough,” and “too small,” and he always helped me out and was a big reason I was able to develop some of the skills I have.
Q: How much time did you spend at Jones Beach?
A: I’ve actually gone to a few concerts up there. I actually go to Tobay Beach.
Q: Favorite movie?
Q: Favorite actors?
A: Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn.
Q: Favorite actress?
A: Jennifer Aniston.
Q: Favorite singer/entertainer?
Q: Favorite meal?
Q: Favorite Long Island restaurant?
A: Bracco’s (smile). I love the tuna nachos they have — big fan of those.
Q: Three dinner guests?
A: Dave Chapelle, Robin Williams, Tupac.
Q: What drives you?
A: I guess people that have helped me get to this point. It kinda motivates me to do well and know that they helped me get here.
Q: What do you like best about this Rangers team?
A: I guess just kinda the excitement of it. A lot of young guys on this team, guys who are definitely trying to prove themselves and prove that we could do something this year.