The Chopped Leaf is proud to announce our partnership with star defenceman and assistant captain of the NHL Edmonton Oilers, Darnell Nurse. As a long-time fan of the brand, Darnell is excited to represent The Chopped Leaf by connecting with fans of the Oilers, The Chopped Leaf and fans of hockey all over North America. Welcome to The Chopped Leaf team Darnell!
“Partnering with a brand that focuses on health & nutrition was a no brainer for me.”
Q & A with Darnell Nurse
Q: How old were you when you first put on a pair of skates?
A: Age three. My dad let me walk around the house in them, so that’s my first memory on skates.
Q: What inspired you to start playing hockey?
A: I was inspired by watching the NHL. Also, my grandfather had a PEI old timers league that ran in Hamilton. I would go watch them and I thought that was the “mini NHL”. Boy was I wrong.
Q: Did you always love hockey?
A: Yeah, I always loved playing hockey. I loved playing outside on the outdoor rinks, and I still have that love today.
Q: What was your diet like growing up?
A: It varied. My diet was very carb heavy with growing up. But I had a great metabolism so I could burn it all off.
Q: How has your diet changed?
A: I focus more on vegetables and proteins, less on carbs.
Q: Did you ever envision yourself going pro?
A: Ever since I started skating, I had dreams of playing in the NHL when I was growing up. Once I turned 13 or 14, I thought “maybe I can make this dream a reality”.
Q: Who was your favourite player growing up?
A: Jerome Iginla was my favourite player.
Q: What does your gameday ritual consist of?
A: The whole game day is a long process. Every game day looks the same. Wake up in the morning, take the babies and the dogs for a walk. Have my coffee, cold shower, go to the rink, pregame skate. After pre-game skate I have my pre-game meal. A big salad, gluten-free pasta and chicken. Then I have my nap, wake up, have oatmeal, a protein shake, bone broth, then I head to the rink.
Q: Do you have any “pump up” songs? What’s your go-to?
A: I’m a big Drake fan. I put on any of Drake’s albums and hit shuffle.
Q: What is something that people don’t really know about you?
A: I still take classes to this day. Whether it’s real estate or finance, I like to keep my brain sharp.
Q: What are your personal goals in hockey?
A: To win a Stanley Cup. I think once you make it to the NHL, that is the ultimate goal.
Q: What sport would you play if you didn’t play hockey?
A: Football. I tried basketball but I wasn’t very good at it.
Q: Who wins a game of 21? You or your sister Kia?
A: Oh, my sister. It’s not even a question.
Q: What’s the hardest thing about eating on the road?
A: Not being able to control the oils & sauces that go into your food.
Q: What would your last meal be on death row?
A: A Chopped Leaf salad. Haha.
Q: What is your favourite meal from The Chopped Leaf?
A: The Southwest salad. No cheddar cheese.
Q: What is your super food?
Q: What was the food your parents made you eat that you weren’t a fan of?
A: Broccoli. I wasn’t a fan of broccoli.
Q: What is your favourite style of food?
A: I’m a steak & potatoes guy.
Q: Have you ever had a nutritional fail that hindered your on ice performance?
A: I had bag of chips before a game one time. I felt extremely flat. By the second and the third period, I had no energy.
Q: What is your philosophy around food and nutrition?
A: I think you must fuel your body for performance. You can’t take any meals or food for granted. Everything you put in your system will impact how you feel.
Q: Who were your idols growing up?
A: My parents. The sacrifices they made to drive me back and forth from Hamilton to Toronto to play hockey five days a week, I’ll never be able to repay them for that.
Q: What keeps you motivated to keep improving?
A: Just trying to win. I’m a huge competitor, so every time I get on the ice I just want to win.
Q: Besides the temperature, what’s it like living in Edmonton?
A: I love Edmonton. It’s got a very home-y feel. There are some great restaurants and great people. It’s a hard-working town like Hamilton where I grew up.
Q: When did you first try The Chopped Leaf?
A: It would have been 5 years ago. Jujhar Khaira brought me to the Commerce Place Chopped Leaf and we’d go three or four times a week.
Q: Do you recall what you ate for the first time?
A: I’m a big build-your-own salad guy. I got pita chips, cucumber, carrots, tomato and all the balsamic they had. I’m a big balsamic fan.
Q: What’s your favourite source of protein?
A: Beef. I love steak.
Q: What is your favourite signature dressing?
A: Chopped Balsamic.
Q: If you could choose a wrap, salad or bowl, what would you choose?
Q: Where was your first hockey game in Hamilton?
A: The first one I can remember is Timbits hockey in Lawfield Arena in Hamilton.
Q: What Hamilton arena had the best snacks?
A: Chedoke Arena. They had the best fries.
Q: What was your favourite experience in Sault St. Marie?
A: The Soo. Ah. My favourite experience would be playing at the SR Centre. We had some great teams and some great fan support. Those were some great memories just being able to go out there and play.
“I’m proud to partner with Chopped Leaf and encourage Canadians to choose nutritious options when eating on-the-go. As an athlete, I rely on meals to fuel my performance on the ice.”