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Illustration by The Globe and Mail. Source photo: PAUL CHIASSON/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Never mind Freedom 55: P.K. Subban is making a delightful case for retirement at 33. Since hanging up his skates last fall, after 13 seasons in the NHL, Subban has become one of the most entertaining elements in ESPN’s hockey coverage, as on-point dissecting styles of play as styles of player fashion. And he’s been greeted with a hero’s welcome wherever he’s gone, including a pregame mutual love-in with Habs fans at Montreal’s Bell Centre last month.

Now, Subban has signed on as an ambassador of Kraft’s Hockeyville promotion, which gives local communities a shot at a $250,000 hockey arena upgrade and the chance to hold a preseason NHL game. “We just didn’t have these programs when I was growing up,” he told The Globe and Mail.

“I started off from very humble beginnings, being someone whose parents weren’t born and raised in Canada, growing up in a small community in Toronto, a non-traditional hockey community. To be able to align myself with a program that wants to act as a catalyst in bringing people together, and building a bridge to make hockey more accessible, and more importantly, grow the game in these communities across Canada, I’m all for that.”

While chatting about Hockeyville, Subban submitted to the inaugural weekend question-and-answer feature in Globe Sports, SATURDAY WITH …

What do you value most in your friends?

To challenge me. The one thing that I’m most proud of is that my friends around me are real people, and we keep it real with each other. So, just having a real perspective of what life’s all about.

On what occasions do you lie?

I don’t think I ever need to lie. I think that’s what being happy is all about – owning everything that you do, both in your personal life and your professional life. I don’t recall the last time I’ve lied.

Who are your favourite writers?

I’ll give you two. Malcolm Gladwell – my sisters have given me a couple of his books that I have not had a chance to read yet, but I have plans to read them when I get a little bit more time. But I’ve heard great things about his literature and what he writes. And one that I can speak to is Tim Grover. His book Relentless, which I love, I would tell any athlete to read it and any person, anyone who’s interested in the mental understanding of approaching something and wanting to be successful in setting your goals. I think it’s a great book.

What is your chief characteristic?

I would say honest. I would say transparent. And I would say considerate.

Who are your favourite characters from history?

Michael Jackson. I admire him as a performer and an entertainer, and he’s probably the most important reason of why I have such an interest in fashion. I love his fashion and how he carried himself. Also his dominance in the music and entertainment industry.

What contemporary person would you like to meet?

Michael Jordan, definitely. I really hope I get to meet him one day. Viola Davis, the actress. I don’t know if I’m supposed to say actor or actress – I want to be politically correct – but I think she’s unbelievable at what she does and I would love to meet her.

What would be your favourite journey?

I really want to go to Africa, and I would love to document that whole thing, because I’m just fascinated with life over there, with wildlife and safari and all of that stuff.

Where would you like to live?

I like my home, I like Toronto. Wherever my family is, I like to spend time there. So Toronto, for sure. I live in New York right now, which I can tell you is as close to feeling like home as I’m probably going to get. It’s not far from home and it’s just the best city in the world.

What is your most treasured possession?

I’ll give you a couple, because I can’t make a decision, but I have a Tom Brady-signed game-worn jersey. He won the division [in 2019] and I brought him one of my all-star captaincy jerseys. I knew I was going to meet him after the game, and I signed a jersey for him and he’s like, Well if you give me a jersey, I’ve got to give you one, and pulled his game-worn jersey out of his locker, signed it and gave it to me. So that’s pretty awesome. I think also the medal of honour that I received from the Governor-General of Canada [for helping raise money for the Montreal Children’s Hospital] is pretty special. And – let’s go for the hat trick – I would say the painting of Jean Béliveau that Elise Béliveau gave to me when I was in Montreal just a few days ago. She pulled this painting of Jean off her wall and handed it to me. I would say that would be right up there with the others, if not the most prized one.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Clothes. I’ve never really actually bought a watch or a piece of jewellery. But I spend the majority of my money on clothes. That’s my thing. I love clothes, I love fashion, I really have a passion for it.

What is your greatest fear?

Waking up being someone else, or trying to be someone else.

What is your greatest regret?

I have zero regrets. Not that I have a problem with your question, but that question to me just brings negativity. I’d rather be so positive than look back and think of something that I would have loved to change. I believe everything happens for a reason. I mean, were there things that I would have done differently? Of course, but that’s the whole happiness about growing and evolving – is, like, being able to do things differently moving forward. So I don’t have any regrets.

What is your greatest achievement?

Just being myself. In a world of people that try to change you and mould you into what they feel is best, still staying true. I’m sure that I lost opportunities that maybe I deserved, because of that. But I think probably the most important thing in your life is to be able to look at yourself in the mirror. So I would say my greatest achievement is just sticking to being myself and not changing. Learning and growing, but not changing who you are.

What is your favourite investment vehicle?

I actually own only one vehicle. Only one car.

Oh, sorry – I meant what do you like to invest in? But you can tell me about your car if you’d prefer!

I’m not a big car guy at all. I started playing in the NHL at 20, and I bought my first car when I was almost 28. I purchased a Ford GT. It’s one of [an edition of] 500 cars, and for three years it’s been at a car housing place and has not moved. The stickers are still on it. They run the car, they turn it on, it’s still there, and I love it. Maybe one day I’ll go and drive it.