During his decade-long career in the NHL, Anson Carter played a total of 674 games, 38 of which were with the Washington Capitals. The right-wing began his career with the team during the 1996-97 season and played 19 games before being traded to Boston. During the 2003-04 season, Carter returned to the team where he made his professional debut.
WashCaps.com (WC): What is your most memorable moment from your time with the Capitals?
The Quebec Nordiques’ 10th round pick in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, Carter was acquired by the Capitals from Colorado on April 6, 1996 for Washington’s fourth-round draft choice. Carter made his debut with the Caps during the 1996-97 season opener, an unforgettable experience for the Toronto native.
Anson Carter (AC): “Playing my first game with the Capitals against the Chicago Blackhawks. You dream your whole life about playing in the NHL and [the first game is] so surreal. That would probably be the biggest thing I took away from the Caps.”
WC: What do you recall about your early experiences with the NHL when you began your first season with the Capitals?
Carter made the Capitals’ roster following the team’s 1996 training camp. Soon after, he was assigned to the Capitals' AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates. In the Pirates' next 27 games, Carter recorded 19 goals before being recalled to the Capitals midseason. As a whole the experience helped Carter further develop his skill set for the NHL.
AC: “I started in Washington and I came out of training camp and it wasn’t your typical story. I was a 10th round draft pick. I made the team, played two games and was sent to Portland. [With] Barry Trotz in Portland – I learned a lot under his tutelage so by the time I got called up it was a pretty easy transition.”
WC: Your debut in the NHL was with the Capitals during the 1996-97 season. While you were traded the following year, you returned to the team in 2003 when you were acquired from the Rangers. What was that experience like for you, returning to the team – and fan base – with which you began your NHL career?
In the midst of his debut season with the Capitals, Carter was traded to Boston with Jim Carey and Jason Allison in exchange for Adam Oates, Rick Tocchet and Bill Ranford. He returned to the District nearly six years later when he was acquired from the New York Rangers for Jaromir Jagr in 2004. Returning to the team with which he began his professional career was an appealing opportunity.
AC: “I was pretty excited to go back. To be honest I started [in Washington] and I didn’t want to leave there. I loved my first run in Washington. I was pretty pumped when I learned I was traded from the New York Rangers back to the Capitals.”
WC: As a Capital you played under Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld and Pirates coach Barry Trotz during the 1996-97 season. When you returned during the 2003-04 season, Glen Hanlon was coach. How did your style of play develop under these coaches?
Looking back on his early experiences in the NHL, Carter credits his experience with the Portland Pirates, the Capitals AHL affiliate, with preparing him for the NHL level of play.
AC: “My first run there, Barry Trotz had the most pull on my development. When you come up [from the AHL to NHL] you have to be ready to play. Coming back, it was just a matter of trying to fit in there with [the system] they had already.”
WC: Can you tell me about what you’ve been doing since your retirement from the NHL? I understand you founded Big Up Entertainment and co-founded Shirt of My Back in 2010.
In addition to the Capitals, Carter played for the Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets before completing the 2006-2007 season with the Carolina Hurricanes. Currently Carter serves as CEO of Big Up Entertainment, a hip-hop record label and film production company based in Atlanta. He also is co-founder of the Los Angeles based Shirt off My Back (SOMB), a clothing company that serves the community.
AC: “Big Up Entertainment – I founded that in the lockout year [2004-05]. I was recovering from abdominal surgery and sports hernia surgery. I caught the entertainment bug at that point. Bald was our first feature film. It’s a hilarious coming of age comedy about a kid going bald in college. [With Shirt off My Back], we wanted to do something that helps the community and that’s where SOMB came from. For every item we sell we donate a school uniform to a child in Africa.”