On his family moving to Florida at age 12: I don't even know where I had the idea to stay (in Michigan). My dad had gone down there probably a month before the rest of the family went. He called me and said, we are going to be moving the family to Florida, we have a job opportunity here, nothings going on in Michigan and what do you want to do.
I flat out told him, ‘I'm staying’. He said, well, it's your decision. I couldn't believe being a 12 year old kid, your parents leave you that control, but they have always been behind me in that. So I decided to stay and I lived with my grandparents for four years until I was 16 and drafted to Windsor and my parents ended up moving back that summer.
On making his decision to stay in Michigan to play hockey: As far as them moving to Florida and me deciding to stay, you know what, I really wanted to play hockey. I started pretty late, I started when I was seven, seven and a half and I knew from there I wanted to do this and I wanted to pursue it. So when it came down to it, it was a pretty easy decision for me. Probably harder on them than it was on me.
On diner time with nine children in the family: Its crazy. The kids are good, though. Mom puts dinner on the table, everybody waits, nobody touches anything, we get it all served out and nobody touches anything until we pray and mom has got to eat first so everyone has to wait until mom serves her plate. The kids are really good, respectful, good mannered kids. It goes over pretty smoothly. It can be hectic at times. Dinner time is kind of tiring for some of the kids, younger guys and they kind of get ornery and excitable at dinner but normally they are all pretty good.
On being the oldest of nine: It's a lot of responsibility, I mean, having eight siblings underneath you, and one on the way, actually. But having eight siblings underneath you, you carry a lot of responsibility. Mom and dad cannot do it on their own. When I'm at home, it's a lot of work for me but you know what I cherish it. Family is so big in everything. They have always been there for me so for me to help out and give back to them it's a good thing.
On his best family story: Best family story … there are some good ones but you know, the move back to Michigan from Florida was kind of crazy. We had movers come in and they were going to do it and they tried to charge us double the cost for moving the whole house, and we just decided that day, dad said, you know, we are not doing it, let's rent a truck. We rented a truck and dad and I and one family friend, we loaded up the house and him one day and we started out that night. I had a car and my parents had the van and my dad had to drive the truck, so that was crazy. It was a crazy two day trip, kids changing cars left and right to give mom a break. I would drive the van once in awhile so she could rest. It was crazy.
On his style of play: I'm a big body and like to get down low and be physical and create space for other guys and get to the front of the net and put pucks in the net. But also I do a lot of little things right. I kill penalties. I take pride in that. I take pride in blocking shots and doing little things, dumping the puck and getting things going. I try to be a leader all the time when I'm out there and that's kind of the things I think that set me apart.
On his whole family being at the STAPLES Center in June: Yeah. We are working on that but I think so. I think they are all going to be there. Probably the little guys will probably all be wearing their Watson 61 jerseys from Windsor. So they will be easily recognizable.
On the thought of being drafted: It's going to be amazing for them to be able to be there and experience it with me. It's going to make it that much better. When I was 12, I lived away from them and to be able to come back and enjoy it and be a part of it, it's going to be unbelievable. I know for them, too, they are going to be extremely proud and excited for me to have an opportunity like that. It's going to be a good thing.
On his siblings: They all play different sports. None of them really play hockey. I have a brother, the next oldest will be 15 in March, he plays tennis and baseball. He's a good little tennis player, too. So we'll see how he does in that and the rest of them, they are all pretty athletic but can't get all of them in hockey. It's an expensive sport and they are all playing basketball and soccer at their schools and stuff like that. We'll see what happens. But they are all really good little athletes.
On his favorite hockey moment so far: Winning the Memorial Cup for sure. Being able to do that, especially losing the first two games there, I didn't really play much and unfortunately with an injury, don't want to wish that on anybody but gave me an opportunity to go out there and play big minutes and have an opportunity to contribute more to that team.
It was the most unreal experience. You bond with those guys. It's such a great bonding experience. You become like family and throughout that whole year, and now winning the Memorial Cup, you are always going to have that with everybody there.