During training camp, there were no guarantees for Adam Hall.
He was with the Penguins on a trial basis and didn’t know where he’d end up or if he’d even have a contract.
Through hard work and attention to detail, Hall filled in the blanks for many of those questions as he earned a spot on the Penguins’ opening-night roster.
“A lot of hard work went into it,” he said. “But, I can’t stress how much fun it is to be around these guys – not just how talented they are, which fans get to see every night. But, being in the locker room with these guys and getting the chance to spend some time away from the rink with them, they are just fun guys to be around.”
When he first came to Pittsburgh, Hall wasn’t sure what to expect. He knew the team was relatively young and extremely close. However, it didn’t take long for the players to welcome him into the Penguins family.
“They all get along and they all know each other so well that you kind of might feel a little bit like an outsider, but everybody here has been so great and so welcoming,” he said. “They’ve made me feel like such a part of the team right away. It’s great.”
And, he discovered many of the Penguins have colorful personalities.
“There are a couple pretty good ones out there,” he said with a laugh. “Whitney and Armstrong might be a couple of the top ones, but there are a lot of funny guys in here who help pass the time pretty quickly.”
Now in his sixth NHL campaign, Hall, 27, brings a steady presence to the Penguins’ offense. In 306 career games, he has 102 points (49+53). Listed as a right wing, he can play all three forward positions and his versatility and experience allow him to come through in crucial situations.
“I have a little bit of experience here in a lot of situations, so anything I can bring to this team to help, I will absolutely do it,” he said. “No matter what position they need me to play or what time of game they need to put me out there, I am willing to take that on and do whatever I can.”
A native of Kalamazoo, Hall stayed close to home and attended Michigan State University. He had a distinguished career with the Spartans as he totaled 126 points (79+47), added 190 penalty minutes in 159 games and captained the team his senior year. So, he has thrilled to see Michigan State, including Penguins prospect Tim Crowder, claim the national championship last season.
“It was incredible to go back there in the summer, near where I live, and see those guys have some success,” he said. “It was great, especially for them to come a little bit out of nowhere – the middle of the pack. They are great guys, hardworking guys. It’s just good to see them succeed.”
In addition, Hall has plenty of experience on the international level. He captained Team USA at the World Junior Championship in 2000 and played in the 1999 tournament. He captained the U.S. Under-18 team during the 1997-98 season.
“Playing for Team USA is something that has been close to my heart, ever since I was young,” he said. “To be able to pull that jersey over my head and play for your country is just a great honor and a privilege. I have had a lot of fun going overseas with that team a few times.”
Now, Hall is looking forward to the regular season.
“This time of the year is the most exciting because there are a lot of expectations and a lot of questions,” he said. “Everybody is just so excited after a whole summer to get back at it. So, it’ll be a lot of fun.”