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Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of profiles on the Carolina Hurricanes’ players and staff designed to give people a better look at the players behind the pads. We’ll be asking them about hockey, of course, but also about life — hobbies, interests, special moments — to better understand what makes them tick.

Jordan Martinook of the Hurricanes is a heart-and-soul player every good team has and needs.

The forward doesn’t score a lot of goals. He’s not among the team leaders in minutes played. But he’s a max-effort guy with a can-do attitude, willing to give Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour everything he has during games, filling any role.

Martinook serves as an alternate captain for the Canes along with defenseman Jaccob Slavin. It’s a responsibility he takes seriously as he tries to provide leadership on and off the ice.

Martinook has been called Andrei Svechnikov’s cheerleader — the loud, chatty guy in the tunnel or hallway in those Canes’ pregame video clips shouting “Mis-ta Svech-ni-kov.” He does do that, but he also has offered advice to the young winger, especially in Svechnikov’s rookie year, on how to navigate the NHL and handle the grind.

Martinook, 28, is a fan favorite, and it’s easy to see why. Before a recent game at PNC Arena, he spotted a 12-year-old Caniac named Emma Izzo, who has Down syndrome, near the glass and gave her one of his hockey sticks. It was a special moment for Emma but also for Martinook, a husband and father.

In an exclusive interview with Chip Alexander of The News & Observer, Martinook talks about being an alternate captain, Mark Wahlberg and Tom Brady, how the infamous “Mista Svechnkov” ritual started, and the pop-star treatment given his dad, Mark, whose outsized personality is bigger than his son’s and became a Canes tailgating favorite during the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Chip Alexander: How did the ‘Mista Svechnkov’ thing start?

Jordan Martinook: “It started the first year (Andrei Svechnikov) was here, the first year we both were here. It was just something to keep Svech loose. He was 18 years old and obviously it’s nerve-racking. We were both new to the team, and it’s something I picked up with him. It didn’t start with the Mister Svechnikov thing. It started in Arizona. We had this parking attendant when you showed up he’d go, with the guys I’d show up with, ‘Ah, Meester Conner and, ah, Meester Toby.’ I kind of used him as inspiration. He actually passed away last year so it’s come full circle. Lou, the parking attendant in Arizona, he’s the inspiration behind that.”

CA: What’s the best thing about being a father?

JM: “I think it’s just watching him discover things for the first time is something you take for granted but, and this is going to be funny, but we just potty trained him. And to see how excited he gets just from that. … I don’t know, just the little things we take for granted that they think are the biggest wins in life are something you learn to appreciate.”

CA: What does it mean to be selected an alternate captain for your team?

JM: “When I found out last year, it was a big honor, especially in that I felt I had a pretty big impact on the team my first year. Then the second year here, it just shows the kind of respect I’m kind of granted. Obviously, I try to help any way I can and do anything for this team. If they told me to do anything I’d do it, so it’s definitely an honor and I don’t take it for granted, and I appreciate the responsibility.”

CA: Reading your bio, who would you rather meet if you had to make a choice, Mark Wahlberg or Tom Brady?

JM: “ I’d probably say Mark Wahlberg because anything that he touches is pretty impressive and usually makes it work. I’ve just seen that he has a docuseries (Wahl Street) coming out on HBO. I’m excited to watch that.”

CA: Another thing from your bio says your first job was an RV detailer. Could that have been a second career for Jordan Martinook?

JM: “I don’t know (smiles). It was nice at the time because I got paid pretty good. I don’t know if that was for me but it was a nice summer gig and I got paid pretty good, and I liked the people I worked with. But I don’t know if that was a future thing for me, that’s for sure.”

CA: Your dad took on rock-star status here with the tailgates and the “Marty Parties.” Is that something that surprised you or is that just his personality?

JM: “No, that’s just who he is. I think I turned 10 when the roles reversed and I became the father and he became the son, and it’s been that way ever since. He’s always the life of the party and he’s always having a good time and it’s rubbed off on me, that’s for sure.”

CA: You just played your 400th career game and Jordan Staal is hitting 1,000. Is it hard to wrap your head around that figure?

JM: “That’s an unbelievable accomplishment. I haven’t said this to ‘Jordo,’ but you see him with 1,000 and then you look at Patrick Marleau and he’s going to pass Gordie Howe with more than 1,700 and you say, ‘How do you do that?’ You can’t say enough good things about Jordan, his family, just the way they treat people, Obviously, his resume speaks for itself.”

CA: Your teammates kid you about your eating habits on the road. What do you like?

JM: “I always love Italian but I like going to sushi restaurants on the road. The best meal I’ve had on the road was in Chicago, and it was at “Alinea.” It has a Michelin star chef and it was a pretty amazing dining experience, We did that last year. That was by far my best meal ever.”

CA: And your sin food?

JM: “Ice cream. I feel like a lot of guys like ice cream. Or cookies. My wife makes unbelievable chocolate chip cookies. That’s at home where I get those.”

CA: If hockey had walk-up songs, what would yours be?

JM: “’Rockstar,’ by Nickelback.”

CA: You have a well-rounded hockey team this year. What do you think is the strength of this hockey team?

JM: “I think whether it’s our best player or not, the work ethic is the same for each guy. There’s no letdown from any player. Everybody understands the bar that’s been set, and I think everybody for the most part usually plays to that standard. When you have a standard that’s been set it’s something that will make you successful. It’s been a couple of years of growing that and to be able to say we have a work ethic, a standard we know we can get to and we know we need to be at it probably is our biggest strength.”

CA: One last hockey question, do you get excited thinking about the day the arena will be full again, with 18,000 plus?

JM: “I’ve told people many times, you go back to that run we had two years ago in the playoffs and I’ve never, ever heard a building like that. So I’m excited for that.”

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