There is nothing small about Garrett Zemlak.
The barrel-chested goaltender is conservatively listed as 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds on the Kings’ rookie camp roster. If he seems larger, it’s because of his peculiar summer passion — MMA and kickboxing — that keeps him in good enough shape to double as an enforcer.
His summer passion also influenced his mask design, in part. There are boxing gloves in the back. In front – well, it’s very green.
Outside of that, it’s tough to describe.
“I’ve always been into the tattooing scene and lifestyle,” said Zemlak, who’s particularly a fan of the artist Mr. Cartoon. “I took one of his designs to a mask maker in Saskatoon.”
To try and describe the mask at a glance, from a distance, wouldn’t do it justice. It’s an image that demands at least its proverbial 1,000 words – or an actual picture. We’ll try to get one later.
Suffice it to say the mask is unique and consistent with the Mr. Cartoon online portfolio.
After signing with the Reign, Zemlak was invited to the Kings’ summer development camp. Following that audition he was invited to last weekend’s rookie camp, and is now listed on the 60-man roster for the Kings’ main training camp, which begins Saturday.
If it seems like a whirlwind, Zemlak said that fitting in has been easy.
“I went to development camp with a lot of the guys and they were all good to me,” he said. “Coming to development camp was huge. I know I can keep up with these guys. I grew up with some of them.”
Zemlak said that his brief ECHL playing time, at the end of last season with the Charlotte Checkers, helped too. It also proved he can play some. Zemlak went 2-0-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in the regular season. He also mopped up at the end of one playoff game, a 9-5 Charlotte loss, allowing the last two goals.
As one of five players invited on a tryout basis, Zemlak is treating this week as a learning experience.
“Just being a sponge and taking in as much as I can from Bill Ranford and the rest of the coaching staff,” he said.
Actually, there is one small aspect of Zemlak’s persona: His tattoo collection. He’s only got one at present.
“I plan on getting more eventually,” he said. “Hopefully when I get a big signing bonus eventually.”