Good athletes often have a special pre-game ritual.
Erik Baskin’s is simple.
“I eat my mom’s famous spaghetti about four hours before game time,” revealed the Minnetonka High School senior.
Baskin is a forward on the Minnetonka varsity boys’ hockey team and was the team’s leading goal scorer last season.
Baskin is also team captain. The key to that role, he said, is “being a leader on and off the ice and putting the team in front of the individual.”
"Erik's strengths as an athlete are his size and hand eye coordination," praised Brian Urick, Minnetonka's varsity hockey coach. "If he has the puck in front of the net, it is most likely to end up in the back of the net."
Urick added that Baskin is a very analytical person and his preparation for hockey and school shows his maturity.
"The other players look up to Erik because he has had success in very difficult hockey games, and they all strive to do the same," said his coach.
Baskin started skating at age four at the Cottagewood Park rink in Deephaven. He’d skate there when visiting his grandmother nearby.
Baskin’s mother, Ann, eventually signed him up for hockey.
“I just wanted to play baseball and soccer, but I didn’t need too much encouragement,” Baskin said. “I loved to play sports and I’ve always been competitive.”
In addition to hockey, Baskin played baseball for several years until deciding to focus solely on hockey this year.
The highlight of Baskin’s high school hockey career?
“Playing in the 2010 state tournament my sophomore year,” he said. “It’s every kid’s dream.”
“Working with kids is one of the most fun things I do,” said Baskin. “I know how much younger kids look up to high school kids, and I try to be a good role model and example for them.”
Baskin says his role model is Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. “He is the best hockey player in the world,” said Baskin.
Baskin is an accomplished scholar as well as an athlete. He has been on the honor roll every quarter of high school and earned an academic letter.
How does Baskin balance sports with school?
“My parents always stressed that academics come first, so that's just how I was raised,” said Baskin. “I try to pay attention in class and get a lot of work done in class so there's not much to do after school, and it works pretty well for me. I try to use my time efficiently.”
His favorite subject is math– an interest he attributes to his father, Peter Baskin.
“When I was a little kid, my dad would test me and give me math problems on napkins at every restaurant,” Baskin recalled. “He really got me going on it.”
As a senior, Baskin has some friendly advice for freshmen.
“Starting out high school with a good year academically is huge,” he said. “Freshman year was my worst and almost everyone in my grade wishes they could do it over.”
Baskin also encourages students to participate in extracurricular activities.
“Get involved in something whether it's a sport or a club,” he said. “Being part of something is a great way to meet people and keep out of trouble.”
Baskin plans to attend college and is considering a major in software engineering or business management.
“I would love to continue playing hockey in a junior hockey league or college,” he said.
Where does Baskin see himself in ten years? “Living on Lake Minnetonka with a great job,” said Baskin.
When he’s not studying or skating, Baskin likes hanging out with friends and playing video games, like most teens.
One thing that makes him unique?
“I can’t stand chocolate."