Looking back, my time at the Tampa Bay Lightning prospects development camp in Victoria last week was definitely something I’ll remember for a long long time. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ll ever forget it. I mean, I’ve interviewed some pretty big names in the past, but I’ve never actually been part of the “media” at an actual event (aside from accompanying Shaheed and Nabil from The Press Box into the confines of the Pacific Coliseum after a Vancouver Giants playoff game a few years back, or interviewing my old high school’s basketball coach for the school newspaper after an early exit from the playoffs.)
Last week I got a very good taste of what a life as a reporter/journalist is really like, and I enjoyed the flavor so much that quite frankly, I can’t wait to go back for seconds. (Ba-doom-CH!!)
First off, I had a nice chat with David Carle on Tuesday morning as we watched one of the on-ice sessions in the stands at the Juan De Fuca Arena. This was followed by our interview with Justin Courtnall and Ty Wishart; we caught up with them just after they came back from some dry-land training, and just before they hopped on to the bus heading back to the Bear Mountain Resort. We then hopped into our own car and did the same; however, not for the same reason as Justin and Ty.
The press conference for the Steven Stamkos signing was being held at one of the conference rooms at the Bear Mountain Resort, and that was our next stop. Aside from some hotel staff, we were the first ones in the room. We set up our nice little handheld camcorder at the back of the room on a tripod, claimed our seats, went over our questions, and waited for Stamkos and co. to arrive. Once they did, Lightning owner Len Barrie announced the signing, Stamkos made a speech, and then the floor was opened up for questions. This was our time.
After a few minutes, Shaheed asked Steven a question about Vincent Lecavalier and how his situation from years ago is now similar to that of Steven’s. After some extensive contemplation, I decided to throw out a question of my own, if not for any other reason, just to say I did. I acknowledged that Stamkos had put up big numbers at every level he played at, then asked him what his personal goals and expectations are for the upcoming season. While the question didn’t come out as smoothly as I would have hoped, it wasn’t as bad as I imagined either.
After the presser, we conducted one-on-one interviews with Stamkos, and owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules. At that point, we could all positively acknowledge that our expectations for the day had been met, and in my case, they had definitely been exceeded. However, our day wasn’t over yet.
We then headed back to the Juan De Fuca Arena for the intra-squad game. While Shaheed and Zameer recorded their podcast for The Press Box, I went around getting footage of the game from as many different angles as I could. Unfortunately, there weren’t many I could find, as the arena was jam-packed with fans. Lastly, we headed into the dressing room area after the game to conduct our final interview, with fellow Nanaimo native Torrie Jung.
For anyone that knows me, and most likely for anyone that doesn’t, by now you probably realize why this is a day I’ll never forget.
A HUGE thanks to Tampa Bay Lighting Director of Public Relations Jay Preble for facilitating this experience for us.
Looking ahead, I have three articles coming up that should see the light of day in the next few weeks or so. Here they are:
1. Anders Franzon (Nanaimo Clippers, BCHL) feature (chatted with Franzon a few weeks back, pretty interesting story).
2. Canucks player development feature (recently had the opportunity to chat with Canucks’ Director of Player Development Dave Gagner).
3. Kyle Turris feature (Kyle has agreed to answer a few of my questions).
You can expect to see these three pieces by the end of the month for sure, and it’s possible that you’ll see features on Dan Gendur, Jason Krog, and a maybe a few others as well. I’ll see what I can muster up before I leave for Ottawa on the 29th, because I don’t expect to be very active on the writing front once September rolls around. Check my column at Inside Hockey for these articles and more.
I’ll be also receiving a Sundin update from Mats Wennerholm in the next few days. He’s currently in Japan covering the Swedish track and field team, and will be going to Beijing shortly after, but he expects to have a little chat with Sundin on the phone in the next couple days, so stay tuned for that.