We’re off to St. John’s to face the Winnipeg Jets as part of the Hockeyville celebrations there and it’ll be amazing for me to be back at home for this pre-season game. Last year, I was there for an AHL exhibition game with the Binghamton Senators, so this year it’ll be fun to play one at the NHL level to show my friends and family the progression I’ve gone through in one year. It will be neat for myself and I think it'll be fun for them, too.
They’re going to love seeing us play in St. John’s. The fact that they’re getting an AHL team again and hockey’s coming back there, and the fact they have this and got it by winning Hockeyville ... it’s a big deal for them. Newfoundland is a small island and sometimes people forget about us, so for us to win that contest and to have an NHL game come to St. John’s is a big deal. People in Newfoundland are very appreciative of it. We are very friendly people and welcoming, so I think that’s going to make it that much more enjoyable for, not only myself, but the rest of the team and everyone else who’s there for it.
Everyone loves hockey in Newfoundland. That’s the biggest thing and we’re no different than the rest of Canada in that way. Growing up, you basically had to start skating or try hockey at some point — I started skating when I was four years old and started playing when I was five. I know a lot of people think, because we’re out there and so isolated, we might be limited with resources, but we still love hockey as much as anyone else. We love cheering for Canada at the Olympics. We take hockey very, very seriously.
I was a huge Doug Gilmour fan growing up. I guess it started because the St. John’s Maple Leafs (AHL) used to be there. So we used to follow St. John’s and when their players got called up, we’d follow them in Toronto. I just started watching Doug Gilmour and I thought he was a phenomenal player back around 1992 and '93. My affiliation kind of jumped for a few years when he got traded to New Jersey and Buffalo and all those places. But I really enjoyed watching him. I loved how he played the game.
If there’s anything about St. John’s I’d like to show the guys, it would be the downtown area. It’s just different and you can’t really describe it. You almost need people to see it and experience it. I want them to see George Street and the harbour and Signal Hill, and to try the food ... the Newfoundland delicacies. It’s just amazing. It’s very peaceful out there and I’ll be the first to admit, people don’t go out there for the weather, but they go for the view. It’s very scenic and I think if guys are able to take advantage of it, they’ll really enjoy it.
Our traditional recipes are quite unique. There’s certain things called fish and brewis, cod tongues and something called salt meat. Then we have something called a Jiggs dinner
— it’s a whole smorgasbord of food. Stuff like that encompasses our culture and how we grew up with the fishing industry. I miss it a little bit sometimes, now that I’m away so much. I got home for two weeks in the summer and was able to get in a Jiggs dinner with my mom and dad. That means a lot to me, because that brings back a lot of memories for me and a lot of nostalgia.