|Jimmy Hayes poses for a photo after winning Team USA's Best Player Of The Game award against Belarus (Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images).
FloridaPanthers.com caught up with Jimmy Hayes as the Panthers’ forward skates for Team USA at the World Championship in Minsk, Belarus.
Hayes picked up an assist in Team USA’s first game against Belarus on his way to earning Best Player of the Game honors and has helped the Americans to a 2-0-0-1 record in their first three games of the tournament.
“(The experience has) been great so far. Belarus is a pretty unique country. It’s been really cool to be a part of this tournament and to get a chance to see the different types of cities of the world.
Pre-game meals are a little different (than what we’re used to in the NHL) but the staff here tries to get it as similar as possible for us but it’s a little different. It’s a lot of pasta, pretty basic stuff. As far as the pre-game routine goes, I’ve been doing the exact same thing for each game that I’ve been doing for every game in the NHL.
In our downtime we’ve been exploring a lot of the city of Minsk and are going to different restaurants at night. That has been the most memorable experience so far, that and seeing their lifestyle (over here).
|(Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images) |
Opening up the tournament against Belarus was great. The fans here are a little different than in North America. They’re always standing up and screaming and stuff so it was a really cool experience to be a part of that.
We have a lot of great guys on the team. There are a couple of guys that are really vocal and get us going but Tim Stapleton and Peter Mueller have been great guys in the locker room for us.
I’m rooming with my little brother, Kevin in a really nice hotel. The hotel is a lot better than I expected. Playing with Kevin is awesome. It’s one of the main reasons I wanted to come over here and play, to get a chance to play with him, so it’s been a really cool experience. We’ve always had that type of chemistry so it’s been nice to come over here and play at a high level on the same line and contribute.
There can be that brotherly competition. It’s always good to push one another and get the best out of one another. It’s like having a little competition."