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Q&A with the CBJ: Pascal Leclaire

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets

It takes a unique person to goaltend in the NHL. After all, if most people saw hard objects blistering toward them at more than 100 miles per hour all the time, they would dive out of the way. Netminders, on the other hand, live to step in front of screaming slap shots and to knock them down, guarding the net like it’s the Holy Grail. Pascal Leclaire has guarded his holy grail quite well for the Blue Jackets recently, posting his first career shutout not long ago and performing consistently all season. It should come as no surprise that “Pazzy” has a few interesting character traits. Read about them in this week’s “Q&A with the CBJ.”

( – Q: What is it about hockey that you love the most?

(Pascal) – A: It’s doing something with a team. The team aspect of the game is really fun. You come in every day, and that team becomes your family. It’s fun, you know, to hang out with the guys. You always have friends, and there’s always somebody around. To me, that’s why I like the game a lot.

( – Q: What are your personal and team goals for the season?

(Pascal) – A: From a team aspect, you want to do as well as possible, get better as a team and hopefully, have a shot to be in the playoffs. It should be the team goal for everybody. You hope to get in the playoffs and after that have a shot at the Stanley Cup. That’s what you play for. It’s all about winning. To have a winning season as a team…that’s the most important thing. As an individual, I don’t really talk too much. I just want to improve every day. I’m young, so I still have a lot to learn. I just want to come in and work on my consistency–be good every night and be reliable.

( – Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your family and growing up in Quebec?

(Pascal) – A: I grew up in a suburb 15 minutes out of Montreal. We watched a lot of hockey, the Canadiens, and played a lot of street hockey. Back home in Canada, that’s all you do. You go to school, and then you run home and grab your stick. There’s a hockey game on the street in every neighborhood. I played a lot of hockey in the basement, too. My dad was great with me. After work, he would come in, I was all ready and geared up, and he took the time to play with me.

( – Q: Who were some of your heroes growing up?

(Pascal) – A: I remember watching a lot of Patrick Roy. Patrick Roy was a big influence. I liked being a goalie, so he was my idol growing up. I liked a lot players, though, even if they weren’t goalies…Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, all the big names. If you were a forward in the street, you were Mario Lemieux. If you were a goalie, you were Patrick Roy.

( – Q: When did you decide that you wanted to be a goalie?

(Pascal) – A: I started playing organized hockey at 5 or 6 as a defenseman. My dad wanted me to learn how to skate first before I was a goalie. My cousin played some college hockey, and he was a goalie, so he always gave me his old gear. It was really expensive gear, too. When I was 10, I had the nicest stuff on the block. That’s how I started to play goalie. I love the gear. I love the mask. I love the pads. I was obsessed with it all. At about 11 or 12, I started being a goalie full-time.

( – Q: What’s been the highlight of your hockey career so far?

(Pascal) – A: My first NHL game in Phoenix (playing for the Jackets) was probably the biggest thrill. You work all of your life, talk about it, and you get to the first regular-season game. It’s really exciting.

( – Q: What’s your favorite food?

(Pascal) – A: Lamb. Rack of lamb. I take a beating because, being French, back home we eat different things. I mean, I love the pork rinds, cheeses, stuff like that. I’m into that kind of stuff, so I ‘m a little different from my buddies.

( – Q: What kind of music gets you pumped up?

(Pascal) – A: A lot of rap and R&B. Some techno. I listen to most everything but mostly rap. I like Kanye West. He’s probably my favorite right now, but I also like Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, whatever.

( – Q: If you weren’t playing pro hockey, what would you be doing right now?

(Pascal) – A: I’d probably like to do something on TV. I don’t know if I could be an actor, but something where I’m in front of the camera. I talk a lot, and I like to be in the spotlight. But I really don’t know. I always wanted to be a hockey player. That was my dream.

( – Q: Who’s your funniest teammate?

(Pascal) – A: ‘Chimmer’ (Jason Chimera.) He’s just like the Energizer bunny. He’s non-stop. Before games he’ll come in and say something funny, everyone will laugh and then everyone will be relaxed.

( – Q: Describe Pascal Leclaire in one word.

(Pascal) – A: I like to talk, so one word is tough. I’m always in a good mood, so how about “happy?” Yeah, “happy” is it.

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