By Jeff Moeller
NFL star Clay Matthews, in this interview with LAKings.com, talks about one of his new passions – hockey.
The Green Bay Packers linebacker, who is from Northridge, also played for the USC Trojans from 2005-08.
Check it out…
Q: You’ve come out STAPLES Center a couple times now, what do you find attractive about the game of hockey?
A: You know it’s so much different than watching it on TV. As a sports fan in general and an LA fan at that, I like to come out and support the local team. I enjoy a new sport, the physicality, the gracefulness of them on skates is so much different than my profession, it’s so much alike so it’s real fun to watch being a sports fan and becoming a fan of a whole different game.
Q: Even being just two miles away at USC … did you ever have the urge to check it out?
A: I never really was a fan until I got my first invite here I was hooked. Like I said, I got to experience down on the ice and up in the crowd with the fan involvement and the team with where we are in the playoff hunt, it was pretty special. Now I’m a fan which is a great thing I guess.
Q: Is it easy for you to learn the strategy and the rules initially?
A: I am still learning kind of by trial and error, but I am learning definitely. I make a concerted effort to try to understand what’s going on. But ultimately if we’re scoring and winning I’m having a good time. But I am learning and it’s fun once you start to learn all of the little nuances of the game it took me 25 years to learn.
Q: Have you skated/can you skate?
A: I have skated, I knocked myself out when I was real young and I have yet to get back on the ice and I think that will remain for the remainder of my life, so bad experience. That is why I will leave it to the professionals and continue to watch and cheer.
Q: You see them drop the gloves and see the big guys go at it, you’re in a physical sport, you talked about the physicality of hockey, but the fighting aspect, is that a different thing than what you’re used to?
A: It’s so different in the fact that I almost believe its encouraged in this sport, its an integral part of the game to which the referees happen to a point before they break it up which is so much different than every other sport in which you’re suspended, you’re fined and in this you get a penalty. So I enjoy it, my first couple games I didn’t see a fight, but I’ve seen two tonight so I’m excited about that as a physical person who plays a physical sport. I enjoy it, it’s definitely a unique part of the game, and who knows, maybe one day football can pick that up.
Q: You play in a cold environment up in the frozen tundra, you’re out here on the ice, you need a coat or anything, or is it second nature?
A: I would say so, I was surprised the first time I was here, I guess I really didn’t realize that we were going to be in an ice rink, and it was a little cold, but it’s part of the game really and you know what you’re getting yourself into. But I’ve played in colder environments so I have no room to complain.
Q: Finally, these guys are really into how their hair flows when they’re out there skating around especially when they take off their helmet. How would you be flowing out there with the long hair and going pretty fast.
A: I almost think it might be too long. At the same time it might be a distraction to the opposing team. I could sneak in a hat trick like tonight. I think it’d be great though, one of the best in the NHL as well as the NFL.