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Canes Corner: Dougie Hamilton Taking Opportunities

The defenseman sat down with John Forslund to talk hockey, life and chances

by Nikki Stoudt @NikkiStoudt /

Off the air, just before the second edition of Canes Corner began, Dougie Hamilton leveled a snipe at interim Canes Corner host John Forslund: "I wish you were Mike."

Forslund, who stood in for Mike Maniscalco while the latter underwent surgery to remove a benign tumor from his abdomen, warned the crowd gathered at Backyard Bistro of Dougie's "unbelievably dry sense of humor."

And so it began.

John Forslund: I was on social media and I see this thing. There's three guys on scooters. Whose idea was this? You, Andrei Svechnikov and Warren Foegele. And you can't put it on the team.
Dougie Hamilton: It was the team. Everyone got scooters at the end of last year. I mean, we all have them, so it's pretty nice to go around together. We didn't think we'd do it on a video - but we had fun that day.

Video: Scootering with the Three Amigos

JF: You mentioned the word "together." How "together" is this group compared to some teams you've played with?
DH: [We're] very tight. I mean, we're a pretty young team. We're all pretty much at the same stage of life. I think that helps for sure, that there's not too much of a range. The culture of the team led by Rod and the ownership and everybody, I think that's a big part of it, too. When you have those leaders, it's tough to have a not-close team.

JF: Being such an "old guy" on this team … what are you? 26? In that video you've got Andrei Svechnikov and Warren Foegele … and they did say that you were like a big brother. What does it mean to you to help young guys?
DH: I have an older brother and I've kind of just followed him my whole life. For me, I think it's cool to kind of have some younger guys and be that "big brother" in a way. I was new last year and didn't really know anyone. Just to have those guys and to be able to help them, it's fun. I mean, Andrei didn't really speak too much English, he's in a new country. 

JF: He still has an interesting way of saying a few things.
DH: Yeah, I love it. For him, I always try to put myself in other people's shoes and see and think from their perspective, so thinking what I would be like as an 18-year-old going to Russia, trying to live and how hard it would be. He's done so, so well with everything. It's pretty impressive.

Instagram from @dougieham: Hamilton the pig @hamiltondtr 🐷🐽

JF: It's a team, too, that has integrated some new guys. When you look at the roster, there's a half dozen new faces, so it's not something that automatically comes together.
DH: It's not always easy learning new systems, getting used to who you're playing with. 

JF: Let's talk about Rod and how relatable he is as a coach and maybe how different he is from anyone you've ever played for.
DH: Obviously, you wanna learn from someone who has been in your shoes. We have the ultimate respect for him, what he's done as a player and now as a coach. How he carries himself every day.

JF: If you were to compare a year ago today, what you know about the team, the fanbase, the area, how different is it for Dougie Hamilton now?
DH: It has been a lot of fun to be here. It's insane how different it is. I don't know if I knew your name last October.
JF: Yeah, it took you probably four-and-a-half months.
DH: Probably longer.

JF: Your first recollection of playing hockey. When was it and where?
DH: I don't remember, but I saw video footage of me skating or playing hockey for the first time. The game was going on, but I was just skating around jumping over all the lines on the ice - blue line, red line, the other blue line, falling down a couple times.

JF: What is it about hockey? Where did the love come from?
DH: Hockey is a little different in Canada - it's kinda the sport to play. I used to go to Leaf games when I was a kid - I was lucky enough to have that opportunity and dream of being on the ice and being in my idols' shoes. 

JF: Did you think, when you got drafted into the OHL, there was a chance then [to play in the NHL]?
DH: I always thought I was gonna be an NHL player. For sure, there's times when you doubt it, when you doubt yourself. I was a little later growing, I think I was, like, 15. I had to keep working hard. I didn't think I'd be this tall.

JF: You were Scholastic Player of the Year. You took your schooling seriously. Talk about the importance of school for you.
DH: My parents always wanted me to do my best and saw that I had potential to do well in school. I think it was my brother that was the biggest help for me. He was doing so well in front of me that I had to keep up.

JF: I wanna get into your first National Hockey League game. Where was it? What happened? What do you remember?
DH: It was in Boston. I don't remember much.
JF: Why not? We make a big deal about this. We go on the air, we talk about this ad nauseum until the game ends, we show parents … and you can't remember one thing?
DH: Ok, I got something now. I think my first shift was a power play. Maybe. I think it was against the Rangers. I think it was actually Marc Staal - I bumped him or he bumped me - but it was kind of my welcome to the NHL. 

JF: Off you go to Calgary. What was that like as a player in a new city with a new deal?
DH: You just signed a contract, you have a lot of expectations on yourself through the media and the fans. But it's like I told Sebastian [Aho] the other day, just remember how good you are, you're such a good player so just keep playing that same way.

JF: Now that you're in [Raleigh] with this team, you're killing penalties, on the power play, scoring goals ... you're comfortable. Even at this stage and even where you're at, does opportunity beckon more confidence? 
DH: I've wanted this opportunity for a while, just to play in the crucial moments and to be relied on in all areas of the ice. I'm just trying to do my best right now with all the opportunity I've been given and hopefully I can keep going.

Listen to the full episode here, and find other episodes here!

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