Hockey Interviews

Meet Carly Zucker!

Like most women in the world, Carly Zucker wears many hats in life. She is a radio host for KFAN 100.3 in Minneapolis/ St. Paul. She is a mom to three adorable children and a wife to NHL player Jason Zucker. She runs the GIVE16 Foundation with Jason and volunteers in their community. While her life may be busy, she is able to dedicate her time and passion to the things that mean the most to her in life.

Without further ado, meet Carly Zucker!

Photo Credit: Carly Zucker

1. How would you describe yourself and what you do?

Like most women, I wear a lot of titles, and the one that takes priority shifts nearly every day: mom, wife, radio host, former TV host, volunteer, social content creator. 

I love creating a balance between my family, work, and our GIVE16 foundation. I’m fortunate to be able to dedicate my time and energy to both passions.

2. Who or what inspired you to work in sports? Were you always a fan of it growing up?

My dad was always my greatest influence when it came to sports. He loves ALL Minnesota sports. We grew up attending Twins, Vikings, and Timberwolves games. We were diehard St. Cloud State Huskies fans, the WCHA will be forever missed in our family. 

3. What does an average day look like for you? I’m sure between working in sports, being a mother to three, and married to a hockey player it can be busy at times.

We’re all busy! It’s just what does that busy look like… it changes for us daily. If it’s in-season, days are much busier, because I’m responsible for school drop-offs, pick-ups, activities, lunches, you name it! On top of my work responsibilities. But, I think that is a familiar story to a lot of families. 

Off season is a dream, to be quite honest. Jason is so unbelievably helpful, so I get a lot more ‘me time’ and things are always less chaotic. 

There truly is no average day! Just depends on what work responsibilities I have and the kids’ schedules. 

Photo Credit: Carly Zucker

4. What has been your favorite hockey memory with Jason?

Great question! I have two that come to mind… 

The day he toppled over a kid during warmups and then we got to meet the young boy and his family after the game. It was hysterical because everyone was okay. Both Jason and the young player had a great laugh. 

In 2015, Jason was having the best season of his career when he broke his collarbone in a game. The injury was supposed to sideline him for 3 months, yet he came back in less than two months to score the game-winner in his FIRST game back, which led to the Wild clinching a playoff spot that season. I was so proud of him for coming back from an injury and barely missing a beat. 

5. Covid has affected the sporting world a lot – seasons have been changed, shortened, or canceled while some leagues have been moved to bubbles and hub cities. How has it affected you and your husband this year? 

If you’re speaking in terms of hockey, the greatest change has been the uncertainty of when the season will start, what will it look like, etc. I’m hoping for the sake of everyone who lost a job, because of halted seasons, that we will be able to safely return sooner than we think. However, safety is number one, so we will continue to be patient. 

Personally, the saddest change has been the in-person events we support for GIVE16 and the University of MN Masonic Children’s Hospital. We miss going IN to the hospital to visit families and patients and volunteer in the Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio. My heart goes out to the families and patients who are essentially locked down in the hospital for safety reasons. Even though the staff is incredible, I’m sure the days get long for everyone. 

6. What’s been your favorite part about being a hockey wife? What’s your least favorite?

Favorite: You truly become part of a special hockey family. I’ve made so many great friends and connections that I most likely would not have if it wasn’t for hockey. From the player’s families to the arena staff, it’s full of wonderful people. 

Least: The time we spend without Jason. Me, the kids, we all miss him when he’s gone. The trade to Pittsburgh is a really great opportunity and the organization is INCREDIBLE, but we spend more time apart now, which is harder on the family. We just love having him around 🙂

Photo Credit: Carly Zucker

7. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect as a woman working in sports and being around it like you are?

My challenges are a bit unique… I think a lot of people assume I have my job because of Jason, however, I started in broadcast YEARS before I even met Jason. 

Also, I have to balance what Jason and I talk about privately and what I can share publicly in terms of hockey. Personally, I’m a pretty open book, but when it comes to Jason’s job our conversations are very private. 

For example, many times I know a specific injury because a wife/gf who is a friend told me, I keep that very private and would NEVER share that on the radio, even though it is brought up as a topic during the show. Does that make sense? Basically, I have answers to a lot of questions media members have about the team/players, but I would never share anything that is meant to be kept private. It’s a bit of a balance, though!

8. If you had the chance to talk to or interview one sports person, who would it be?

Serena & Venus Williams (at the same time!)

9. What is the best advice you can give to those looking to branch into sports especially when it comes to the media side of things?

Your first opportunity will not be your last. I think it’s easy to get stuck in the mental space that if you’re not in your dream job day one, that it will never happen. Patience is key in this industry.

10. What’s coming up next for you professionally?

The best thing about our industry – radio, media, etc – is that it’s always changing and that means new opportunities all the time. In 2019, NHL Network gave me an opportunity to host a show called ‘Skates Off,’ it was pretty last minute and I was 9 months pregnant! I’ve always been a ‘say yes’ person and it’s led to some pretty exciting career adventures.

Photo Credit: Carly Zucker

11. What are five things you are currently loving?

a. Decorating for the holidays

b. Cooking new dishes (mostly soups!)

c. Spending a lot of quality time with family

d. Decorating our new home in MN

e. Catan (we’ve become obsessed 😂)

12. Where can we find you online? Any social media handles or any initiatives you would like to support / promote?

Instagram: @carly.zucker 

Twitter: @CarlyAplin

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