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Eric Lindros' secret talent revealed

Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2016 member plays trumpet, fans learn

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

TORONTO -- Did you know that Eric Lindros, Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2016, Hart Trophy winner, Olympic gold medalist and one of the best junior hockey players of all-time, is some kind of trumpet player?

"I played trumpet all the way through middle school and into high school," Lindros said. "Kiwanis and all city bands … all that stuff."

Did you know that Pat Quinn, two-time Jack Adams Award winner, decorated international coach, longtime NHL executive and also a Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2016 inductee, was quite the dancer and singer?

"He and my mom danced quite a bit together," said Quinn's daughter, Kalli, of her late father, who is being posthumously inducted into the Builders category. "It didn't matter what it was, he would sing anything and he had a pretty good voice."

These little nuggets about the members of the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame class, Lindros, Quinn, Rogie Vachon and Sergei Makarov, were dished and discussed Saturday at the annual Fan Q&A.

The event began in 1999 when Wayne Gretzky told the folks at the Hockey Hall of Fame that he wanted a way to talk to the fans during his induction weekend. It has become a staple of the festivities since.

The latest edition didn't disappoint, and even included Lindros telling the packed audience inside Esso Great Hall what he plays on his trumpet because of his young kids -- Carl Pierre, 2, and twins Ryan Paul and Sophie Rose, 1.

"It sounds horrible, but you can kind of make out 'Happy Birthday,' and I've got 'Wheels on the Bus' down, things like that," Lindros said.

Lindros may have gotten off easy with the trumpet question, but appeared stunned when a young fan from Philadelphia asked him which he enjoyed more: playing for the Flyers or the Maple Leafs.

Lindros answered without actually answering the question.

"Well, growing up in London and later in Toronto, obviously you've got a lot of Leaf hockey on TV. Everything was Leafs," he said. "Getting traded to Philadelphia and having a chance to play there was just fantastic. All the Canadian cities like Montreal, hockey, hockey, hockey, or Toronto, hockey, hockey, hockey, but sometimes in the (United) States you come into cities that aren't up there. Philadelphia is not that city. Philadelphia knows hockey. It's a great place to play. I did get a chance to come back home and play here. I played 33 games and had some wrist issues and that was it. But I did get a chance to come. I wasn't nearly as effective as I was in Philly, but still to come here and play was a great thrill.

"You play here, you have a game, you wake up the next morning, go to the diner on the way to practice, and everybody in that diner knows for the most part if you had a great game or a stinker the night before. This is one of those environments that is certainly fun to play in."

"How was that for a good political answer?" Gino Reda, the master of ceremonies, said. "He's got a career in politics. Well done Eric. He can still stickhandle, eh?"

Quinn, whose father coached the Flyers from 1979-82, chimed in.

"Pat used to say the fans in Philadelphia are great hockey fans, but they're better Flyers fans because it didn't matter how the team or was doing or what, they had the back of those Flyers," she said. "He said that was one of the hardest buildings to go into because it didn't matter what team was in there, they're Flyers fans first and foremost."

Vachon, who played through the 1970s, jokingly couldn't take it anymore.

"Yeah everybody thinks the Philadelphia Flyers are wonderful," he said, leaning over to Quinn and Lindros. "Well you didn't play against the Flyers back in the '70s."

Lindros revealed on Friday that former Philadelphia Flyers general manager and current president Paul Holmgren offered him a comeback opportunity after watching him in the alumni game prior to the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park.

On Saturday, Reda brought it up to Lindros, who laughed as he spoke.

"Paul Holmgren called me and said he watched the outdoor game, and of course it's in that great big baseball stadium," Lindros said. "He said, 'Come back, we've got cap space, I know you can do it.' I'm thinking, 'Where were you sitting? Were you in left field?'

"It was a short conversation in terms of that. Paul has always been a great guy. It was fun. We laugh about it now."

But a fan asked Lindros if he would get back into hockey as a coach or an executive for the Flyers?

"Oh geez," Lindros said. "I've got three kids under two and a half right now, so I've got my hands full at home. But certainly it's something to think about down the road. I love hockey. I always will. We skate a couple times a week. It's what you love to do, right? That will never change."

 
Vachon's reaction to getting his Hall call

Every inductee has a story of where they were when they got the call telling them they had been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Quinn said she began crying when she heard Hall of Fame chairman Lanny McDonald telling her that her dad was going to be a Hall of Famer.

"It was just so wonderful to hear those words from Lanny," Quinn said. "You can't describe the feeling. I've always been proud of him, but at that moment, all the emotion came out in tears."

But Vachon, who was in his 31st year of eligibility, easily had the best reaction of the four.

"I was in Venice, California at home and my son was working at the desk, so I got a call in the kitchen and I picked up the phone," Vachon said. "On the other end, he said, 'This is Lanny McDonald.' So I said, 'OK.' I hadn't talked to Lanny for years, what would he want? He said, 'Congratulations, you're in.' Again I paused, 'OK, I'm in what?' So he said, 'You made the Hall of Fame, congratulations.' It was a total surprise. I went to the office and I was still talking to Lanny and I told my son (whispers), 'Hall of Fame.' We went crazy."

 
Even Lindros had a question

Quinn, when asked by Lindros if she was ever able to influence a trade while have dinner with her father, said no, but added she once did influence a draft pick.

"I was home one time and it was back when you could bring in players before the draft," she said. "There were two players that came in. One night we took one player out to dinner, and the next night we took another player out. And he did ask my opinion. So I'm going to take credit for one of his draft picks. I won't reveal who it was. That's the only time he ever asked me."

 
Vachon's evil hockey card

Vachon, answering a question about what it was like to see a picture of him on a hockey card, said there is one out there he absolutely despises. It's his 1971-72 Los Angeles Kings O-Pee-Chee card, No. 156 in the set. His head was literally put on someone else's body.

"They put a face on the card from me and it's so bad that when I sign it, I sign it right on top of the face so it doesn't look at you," he said to a chorus of laughter.

 
If you didn't have hockey

One question raised to all four was, what they would have done if they didn't play hockey?

Makarov said he'd have been a soccer player because he played it a lot in the summer months.

Lindros said he likely would have gone to work in the economics field, crunching numbers in some capacity.

"I'm not certain, but I probably would still be milking cows on the farm we used to have," Vachon said.

"With your rough hands, I'm sure there are a lot of happy cows," Reda replied.

Quinn said her dad, who once entertained the idea of becoming a priest, likely would have been working in the steel mills in Hamilton, Ont.

 
Idols

At different times in the Q&A, Vachon said his idols were Hall of Famers Jacques Plante and Jean Beliveau. He even pointed up to the ceiling to thank the late Plante for wearing a goalie mask so he could eventually wear one too.

"Thank God it changed for the young kids," he said.

Makarov said his older brothers and fellow Hockey Hall of Famer Valeri Kharlamov are his idols. Lindros quickly answered Mark Messier.

"I'm going to tell you my favorite players, and they're Flyers," Quinn said. "One was Bob Dailey. Dad started the fitness regime back in the day and I used to be a swimmer, so I had to be mindful of that. Pat Croce did our body fat testing and his comment to me was, 'You and Bob Dailey both have fat knees.' I loved him for that. The other one was T.J. Gorence, because when T.J. was not in the lineup he used to meet me at the ice cream line and buy me ice cream. That's why I had fat knees."

 
One more great story

Pat Quinn coached Canada to its first Olympic gold medal in 50 years in 2002. Kalli Quinn assisted Hockey Canada at that time by being the point person for all the family members. Here's her story of the day Canada won gold:

"The game went how we wanted it to go, and the security rep we had with the team came up to the stands and grabbed my mom and my sister and I and ran us past the building security," she said. "Dad had asked him to go get us and we weren't supposed to be down near the dressing room at all. We were on the bench, hugging and crying and all that good stuff.

"When the team went out on the ice for the celebration photo, my dad grabbed me off the bench and said, 'Come on, we're doing the photo.' I said, 'I'm not in that photo.' He said, 'Yeah, you're in the photo, because you worked just as hard off the ice for these players as they worked to bring the gold medal home.' I will never hear the Canadian national anthem and not think of that moment. That's my favorite memory."

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