Archive for the ‘Classy Interviews’ category

Waffle Insight: A small chat with THE Waffle dude

December 22nd, 2010

In typical Burgundy fashion, I have another weird-ass story that treads on ‘WTF territory.’ Here we go…

It’s a normal Wednesday night in Toronto which means it’s cold, I’m tired and I’ve got hockey to play.

On a night that saw my team win, take over first place in our league and me scoring a hat trick (seriously – now I can coast like Alex Kovalev for the rest of the year with no questions asked!), something cooler happened. “But how, Burgundy, how? What could possibly have topped such an epic on-ice performance??”

Kevin Burgundy and the Waffle Man (with a waffle)

The picture is real but the waffle might not be. Well, maybe.

I met Joseph Robb. No big deal.

Who? Joseph Robb. You know, the Toronto Maple Leaf fan facing charges after throwing waffles onto the ice during the Leafs loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Monday night. I’m not even kidding. Where did I meet him? At the local hockey rink of course. My God – Us Canadians are so cliche…

It seems MLSE hasn’t banned him from local hockey arena’s. Yet.

Some teammates and I were enjoying a post-game brewski (or five) after our big win when a few guys from another team entered the dressing room. If you aren’t familiar with unspoken beer league hockey rules, it’s customary to “kick out” the team using the dressing room before you. It’s basically one group of guys telling the other group “Alright, we’ve waited long enough. Get out so we can get dressed for our game.”

As we were leaving, Robb was the first of his team to enter the dressing room. A minute or two later, a few of his teammates jumped into the room with newspaper clippings and screenshots of TSN’s article. They explained (and proved) Robb was and is the waffle guy. Robb was celebrated in the room as though he just won the Stanley Cup. Or as if he was Brian Burke and actually fired Ron Wilson.

Everyone was dying laughing. This man was and is a king!

Robb mentioned he had to take the day off work because his phone wouldn’t stop ringing with national media outlets, radio stations and sports shows all wanting to speak with him.

So I asked him a few more questions.

The obvious one: How did you get the waffles into the building?
He explained he snuck the waffle packages into the Air Canada Center under his coat when entering the arena prior to the game starting. He indicated the waffles (of the Eggo brand) thawed pretty quickly.

Editor’s note: I’m kind of impressed he held onto the waffles for so long (He threw the waffles on the ice in the 3rd period, when the score reached 5-1 for the Thrashers).

The next obvious question: Why did you throw the waffles?
He said he wanted to make a statement. That statement – That he’s tired of the Leafs losing most of their games and playing “like shit.” He couldn’t stress enough how big a fan he is of the Leafs. He wants a better team to cheer for. Tough to blame him there.

Some other bits of info of Toronto’s newest Hero:

  • The beer Robb is holding in the picture above is from my hockey team. It was our last beer and we figured he earned it.
  • According to Robb, he “had to” take the day off work to deal with the amount of phone calls he’s received from friends, family and national news outlets. He said his parents were slammed with phone calls from reporters all day too.
  • A US-based radio station offered to fly Robb to their studio Thursday morning for an in-person interview. He declined because he had a hockey game to play on Wednesday night.Editor’s note: That’s amazing. What a true Canadian.
  • The local bar near Robb’s home apparently has a picture of him with the newspaper clipping that patron’s have cheered for and celebrated since being put up. The picture was brought to the bar by Robb’s father.
  • Robb has been contacted by several Toronto-based lawyers who’ve all offered their services for free on account of “[the pending charges are] total bullshit.” (Sorry for the language – according to Robb, it’s official lawyer-speak).
  • Robb is unsure of his next move, however, he acknowledged it would be wise to keep a low profile for the time being.

Stay classy, Joseph Robb. I hope your crown bares some waffle-like characteristics.

Classy interview with… Kevin Burgundy!?

April 20th, 2010

Have you ever wondered how I got into hockey? Or who my favorite player is?

I think some of the longer serving SC readers might know how started, but do some of the newer readers know?  Perhaps some of the older readers don’t part of the story. - A classy website.

And lastly, do you know who I think might win the Stanley Cup? You can find answers to all of these questions (and more) at Patrick Hoffman, a great writer for KK, recently did an interview with me – click here to read it. I’m calling it a Classy Interview. If you don’t normally read KuklasKorner, you really should. It’s a great site, with quality updates and knowledgeable writers.

Anyways, check out the interview. It was fun to be on the other end of an interview for a change!

Stay classy, Patrick Hoffman, KuklasKorner (Paul Kukla) and… me.

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Classy interview with Sportsnet’s Eric Gage

December 11th, 2009

Is there a better way to end a work week than reading a brand new Classy Interview? Today, we’re lucky enough to sit down with Eric Gage, Rogers Sportsnet’s King of Fantasy Hockey insight. I’m telling you right now, Eric has a great pulse for nearly every player in the NHL and will help you win your hockey pool.

One thing about Eric that I hope comes across in the interview below is his great sense of humour. It’s been some time since I’ve met a sports media professional this light hearted. Eric’s sense of humour is refreshing and helps him stand out in the hockey world. That’s not a critique on anyone else, but Eric’s done a nice job finding a unique niche. Unique niche. Sounds like  Burgundy warm up exercise.

Anyways… enjoy the Classy Interview with Eric! How did you first get involved with sports broadcasting?

Eric Gage: After graduating from University with an arts degree, I “creatively” got myself into Ryerson University. From there, I followed my passion for Racecar Driving and ended up being a web producer for the PLAYERS Indy Racecar team. I spent 7 years doing online videos (in the days of dial up modems!) for PLAYERS before getting into Rogers Sportsnet. editor’s note: I’m sworn to secrecy on what Gage did to get into Ryerson. It may or may not involve a hammer, a 1940s typewriter, a dozen cases of beers, and a large picture of Ian Mendes.

SC: Do you have any specific career highlight(s) that stick out in your mind?

Gage: I love getting positive feedback from readers/viewers, coworkers, etc… and I love the fact that my job at Sportsnet allows me the creative freedom to do what I want. To me, that’s a highlight in itself. Having said that, getting Marian Gaborik to apologize to Fantasy Hockey fans for playing a defense first system In Minnesota was great. Working with and getting to interview the late and great Paul Newman was an amazing experience, as well.

SC: You are the Fantasy Hockey buff. Pick your 6-man dream roster for the new year to the end of the NHL’s regular season (the 6th player must be a rookie).

Gage: Good question! OK… wow… this is tough!

(I’ll avoid saying the obvious names like Crosby-Malkin-Ovechkin, etc…)

Goalie: Craig Anderson
Defencemen: Erik Johnson, Drew Doughty
Forwards: Marian Gaborik, Rich Peverely, Ryan Kessler
Rookie: John Tavares

SC: Have you ever read punctuation incorrectly from a teleprompter in your career?

Gage: Absolutely! All the time, in fact. And everyone else who says they don’t use teleprompters is lying! No one likes admitting they use them… but the people who deny it are probably the ones who rely on teleprompters the most. editor’s note: (LOL) That’s great! That’s exactly what we all thought!

SC: It seems you are a big baseball fan. Who do you cheer for and why?

Gage: No matter what sport, I always root for one team from each Conference. Being from Ottawa, I couldn’t cheer for the Toronto Blue Jays (as a matter of principle), so I started following the Detroit Tigers for the American League. The Pittsburgh Pirates are my National League team. editor’s note: I like your principles, fellow Ottawa resident.

SC: What do you think Sex Panther (Anchorman cologne) really smells like?

Gage: The aroma of Brian Fantana having sex. I mean really, what else would it smell like?

A huge thanks to Eric for taking the time to sit down with us and answer our ridiculous questions. I urge everyone reading this to follow Eric on Twitter (@EricGage100) for all your fantasy hockey tips, news, and updates. Catch him daily on Sportsnet’s Fantasy Hockey Updates.

Stay classy, Eric Gage.

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Classy interview with Jeff Marek of CBC/HNIC

October 28th, 2009

Update: July 5, 2011 – On July 1, 2011, Jeff Marek announced via Twitter that he had left CBC/Hockey Night in Canada. Although his next venture isn’t yet known, some have speculated Marek’s move could be to Rogers Sportsnet. The interview below was conducted in 2009 when Marek was part of the HNIC team.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to CBC News and Hockey Night in Canada anchor, Jeff Marek. Jeff’s been with CBC for two years and is a staple on Saturday night broadcasts as part of the iDesk feature along with Scott Morrison. Maybe you already knew that, but did you know Marek is basically the Ron Burgundy of CBC?

It’s true. Having spent time with Marek at CBC’s headquarters hours before this past Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, I witnessed it first hand. Every employee at CBC has a friendly relationship with Marek as well as a few inside jokes. Marek can’t go anywhere for five minutes without questions, jokes, or microphone fittings coming his way. In fact, the only two differences between Marek and the real Burgundy are scotch before broadcasts and turtlenecks.

Below is the Classy interview with Jeff Marek. Enjoy!'s very own Burgundy at Hockey Night in Canada's iDesk. Extremely classy.'s very own Burgundy at Hockey Night in Canada's iDesk. Extremely classy. How did you first get involved with sports broadcasting?

Jeff Marek: I never planned to get into sports at all. I was actually studying to be an English Professor. While working at a cemetery, my first bury was Harold Ballard (former Toronto Maple Leafs owner) in 1990. By stroke of luck, I met George Stroumboulopoulos and he helped me get a job with Toronto’s Fan 590 radio station. From there, I found my way onto various radio shows covering wrestling, the Leafs (and other topics), and eventually got a job offer from the producers of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. editor’s note: Stroumboulopoulos and Marek actually made a bet to who would first appear on Hockey Night in Canada. Despite Marek’s gig on HNIC’s iDesk, it was Stroumboulopoulos who won the bet.

SC: Do you have any specific career highlight(s) that stick out in your mind?

Marek: Two highlights immediately come to mind. First, the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Being able to call Judo, Table Tennis, Pentathlon, and other sports was a thrill. It was challenging, chaotic, and exciting all at once. Secondly, my first ever appearance and interview on HNIC. It was the Washington Capitals versus the Ottawa Senators and Ron Maclean introduced me doing an interview with Alex Ovechkin. Hearing my name mentioned by Ron Maclean after the HNIC intro music was surreal to say the least. editor’s note: This was the game Ovechkin scored 4 goals against the Senators and threw his glove in the air.

SC: Is it true you play rec hockey on a team called The Ron Burgundys? And if so, how good is your team?

Marek: Yes. As far as skill… I’m good enough to be a bad player on a great team. editor’s note: I don’t know what you mean.

SC: Have you ever read punctuation incorrectly from a teleprompter in your career?

Marek: I’ve never used a teleprompter for my work on CBC! That all changes with my role on CBC’s News Now (which debuts this week). We use teleprompters for those broadcasts and now that you mention it, I fear I may be terrible reading from one.

SC: You’ve got a bit of a history covering professional wrestling. Do you ever miss the personalities of wrestlers when covering the NHL?

Marek: Wrestling does a good job marketing individual athletes – something the NHL should do more of with some of their superstars. The NHL certainly has a variety of characters, too.

SC: Do you think the NHL might do better in some markets (which shall remain nameless) if players had their own entrance music, and came out of the crowd as a surprise after an extended injury?

Marek: I love that idea! You might be onto something here…

SC: What do you think Sex Panther (illegal in 9 countries) really smells like?

Marek: The bowels of the worst smelling part of a hockey bag. Not the skates or the jock – something far worse – the insides of hockey gloves. They are without a doubt the ultimate chick repellent.

A huge thanks to Jeff for hanging out with us and fielding our questions. We like that. It should be noted Marek hasn’t yet seen the movie Anchorman, despite answering the questions above. As a thanks for doing our interview and as unofficial ambassadors of the movie, we bought Jeff a copy. With any luck, will finally make sense to him… and if it doesn’t, all hope is lost.

I highly recommend you do the following:

  1. Add Jeff Marek on Twitter
  2. Tune in to CBC News Now (weekdays; 6am-9am. Jeff tackles sports on the broadcast)
  3. Thank Jeff for doing this interview by leaving a comment below

Stay classy, Jeff Marek.

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Classy interview with TSN’s James Duthie

October 22nd, 2009

Yes, you are reading correctly. Do not adjust your eyes or your computer screen. Two Classy Interviews in the same week! It’s spectacular, I know. I’m pretty happy about it too.

After an interview with Stuntman Stu (Ottawa Senators PA announcer) earlier this week, we turn our attention to a journalist who is well respected in sports, broadcasting, and zoo’s. Today, we’re lucky enough to have TSN’s James Duthie in what might be his first interview since winning a Gemini award over the weekend. Duthie’s win marks his first ever Gemini after a few consecutive nominations. Congrats, James.

Duthie made time in his calendar to talk hockey, the Ottawa Senators, and about his gig as the NHL on TSN’s host. Enjoy the Classy interview.

TSN's James Duthie and Maggie the Monkey are very classy.

TSN's James Duthie and Maggie the Monkey are very classy. When hosting the NHL on TSN, which co-anchor frightens you the most, and why?

James Duthie: Dutchy… because he has no edit button, and I believe that at any moment he will:

A) say something that will get me/him fired

B) say something that will get me/him sued

C) say something dirty about my Nana

SC: With Matt Carkner making a strong rookie impression in the NHL, should teams pay more attention to veteran AHL players?

Duthie: Bad teams should, but I think Carkner might be more of an exception than a rule. Usually if a guy has been in the A for a while, there is a reason. And it will eventually show up at the NHL level.

SC: Have you ever read punctuation incorrectly from a teleprompter in your career?

Duthie: You mean, “For Sportscentre, I’m James Duthie?” No Burgundys yet… I actually don’t use a teleprompter.

I can’t read. You didn’t have to know how at Carleton. editors note: Uh-oh. One of the Stayclassy writers actually graduated from Carleton University.

SC: What do you think would hurt more? Blocking an Erik Karlsson slap shot or taking a hit from Anton Volchenkov?

Duthie: C) being Dany Heatley’s PR rep.

SC: Of all the classy guys in the NHL, who would you say is the classiest, and why?

Duthie: Tough one. We are fortunate in hockey. There are more classy guys on one team in the NHL than there are in some other entire leagues (cough… baseball… cough).

Alfredsson is right up there…a true pro from the first interview I did with him two weeks into his rookie season. Iginla is impressive. So is Sid. Doan is terrific. Sorry, my list is long.

SC: Ottawa seems to have finally solved their goaltending woes with Pascal Leclaire. Where do you think fans will point to now for their post-season inadequacies?

Duthie: Your assuming they get to the post-season? Kidding… I think they’ll get in. But I still think scoring might be an issue come crunch time. But if all else fails, blame Lalime.

SC: What do you think Sex Panther (illegal in 9 countries) really smells like?

Duthie: A combination of dead raccoon, the mill across the river in Thurso, and Ron Jeremy after a six-hour film shoot.

A huge thanks to James Duthie for taking the time to talk with us and answering our silly questions. You can catch James “Gemini”  Duthie and Canada’s favorite game show – The Quiz - on the NHL on TSN, Wednesday nights.

Stay classy, James Duthie.

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Classy interview with Stuntman Stu (Ottawa Senators PA announcer)

October 19th, 2009

Happy Monday morning/afternoon, good readers. Today is a good day as we have a Classy Interview with the official Ottawa Senators PA announcer, Stuntman Stu. Stuntman Stu is another great name in the Classy Interview series that’s included favorites like Steve Warne and Ian Mendes.

Stuntman Stu - Ottawa Senators PA Announcer being classy

Stuntman Stu - Ottawa Senators PA announcer being classy

Stu has been a part of the Ottawa Senators organization for years and a staple in the local charity circuit even longer, supporting the Ottawa Senators Foundation, the CHEO Foundation and the QCH Foundation. Stu has been heard on morning talk radio (previously the Team1200 as part of the TGOR show and currently on the 93.9 Stuntman & Shark show) and local rock radio (106.9 FM, back in the 90s) as … wait for it … Stuntman Stu.

Stuntman Stu took the time to talk to us about the Ottawa Senators and one of hockey’s better gigs – enjoy the Classy Interview. As the PA announcer at Ottawa Senators home games, which Senator has the best name to announce, other than Jarkko Ruutu?

Stuntman Stu: Cheechoo…

SC: Have you ever accidentally placed an incorrect emphasis on a particular goal or penalty (potentially from a teleprompter) against the Ottawa Senators in your PA announcing career?

Stu: No, but I have been tempted to announce a questionable Sens penalty with an inflection on the end, along the lines of “are you kidding me ref?”

SC: If you could be the PA announcer in any NHL arena, which would it be and why?

Stu: Growing up in Montreal, I would go back in time and work a game at the old Forum. editors note: We’re betting announcing Vincent Damphousse with approximately three thousand ou’s would be pretty awesome…

SC: We noticed you commented on a recent Ottawa Senators-New York Islanders review of ours. Are you a regular reader of

Stu: I check most of the Sens related blogs to see what fans are talking about. editors note: But seriously Stu, is in your bookmarks, isn’t it?

SC: Having seen virtually every Ottawa Senators home game in recent memory, which NHL team does Ottawa always/consistently struggle against?

Stu: Excellent question! Let me get Dean Brown’s email for you.

SC: If you had to announce “” to approximately 20,000 fans, where would you put the emphasis?

Stu: I would go long on Stay….

SC: Finally, what do you think Sex Panther (illegal in 9 countries) really smells like?

Stu: Probably like my locker in high school when I left a sandwich in there for 6 months.

Again, a huge thanks to Stuntman Stu for taking the time to talk with us and answering our immature questions. Look for him at any Ottawa Senators game at Scotiabank place or on the radio – 93.9 FM weekday mornings between 5:30am-9:00am!

Stay classy, Stuntman Stu.

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Classy interview with Steve Warne of Team 1200

September 25th, 2009

Today, because its Friday and because Steve agreed to it, we have a special treat for our readers. A second Classy Interview! You’ll recall last week we talked with Ian Mendes and we’re following that up with another great interview today.

Stay classy, Steve Warne

Stay classy, Steve Warne

So, Steve who? Steve Warne of the Team 1200 (Ottawa sports talk radio). Anyone who regularly listens to the Team 1200 should automatically know who Steve Warne is. In Ottawa, his name is synonymous with morning drives to work. Steve appears on TGOR (Three Guys on the Radio) weekdays from 5:30-9:00am. He’s also the guy that bails the morning radio show out when a certain co-worker inevitably calls in sick. I won’t name names, Jungle Jim. Which rookie deserves to make the Ottawa Senators more: Zach Smith or Peter Regin?

Steve Warne: Regin has been better. But I’d pass on both. It’s a big jump from pre season to the NHL, almost as big as the one from the AHL. Both of them have looked good in pre season but that’s the Brandon Bochenski effect. The veteran that Regin outshines in September is a veteran for a reason. He’s going all Green Day right now – Wake me up when September ends. So I think that even if one of the players you listed wins a job to start the year, he won’t hold it for long.

SC: What scares you more? The thought of Pascal Leclaire’s ankle getting hurt, or the thought of Jungle Jim in a thong?

Warne: Here’s a photo of Jim in a thong. Once you’ve gouged out your eyeballs, you tell me.

SC: During a live taping, have you ever accidentally added the wrong punctuation to your sentence?

Warne: Is that an Anchorman reference to go **** yourself San Diego? The answer then is yes. I used to tell the town I worked in to go **** itself all the time. They didn’t like it much as I thought they would.

SC: Two Part question: Odd–men out.

SC: Defense – With the arrival of Erik Karlsson, there will likely be a log jam on defense. For you, who’s the odd man out: Chrisoph Schubert or Alexandre Picard?

Warne: I don’t care. Both are ridiculously replaceable. Dump the one that’s paid more. Don’t rule out Matt Carkner either. Clouston digs him.

SC: Forwards – Ottawa has some depth for the 3rd and 4th lines, too. Who’s the odd man (or men) out with upcomer’s like Regin, Smith and a healthy Cody Bass: Jarkko Ruutu, Chris Kelly, Shean Donovan (or other)?

Warne: I don’t dump any of the vets for the kids. Like I said, the vets are saving it for the season. The rookies are going off like it’s game 7 of the cup final. They just want to stick. Once the nightly grind sets in against TRUE NHL teams they’ll be exposed. They won’t keep up the pace that might initally win them a job. Erik Karlsson will be the only newcomer in the discussion by Christmas. He’s a slam dunk. In fact, I think he’s already their best puck mover right now.

SC: Other than the possiblity of interviewing, what is your biggest highlight as far as interviews go?

Warne: Interviewing Wayne Gretzky about 5 minutes after Canada broke the 50 year drought at the Olympics in 2002. He called us live from rinkside as the players were still celebrating on the ice. Crazy.

SC: Do you have a favourite moment in Ottawa Senators history?

Warne: Easy. Alfie in OT in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final. That goal was the genesis of the Church of Alfie. Praise Alfie! (SC: seriously, join the Church of Alfie Facebook group)

SC: What do you think Sex Panther really smells like?

Warne: A mix of Ralph Lauren Polo and cat anus.

A big thanks to Steve for answering our immature questions. Look for him on TGOR when into work on the Team 1200.

Stay classy, Steve Warne.

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Classy interview with Ian Mendes of Sportsnet

September 18th, 2009

When you get the chance to interview a prominent sports figure who covers your favorite hockey team and is someone you respect, you do it. When you have the chance to interview a prominent sports figure who once worked for a Triple-A baseball team and twice filled in as an emergency mascot (RIP, Lenny The Lynx), you jump at it without hesitation.

Stay classy, Ian Mendes. Photo courtesy of Rogers Sportsnet

Stay classy, Ian Mendes. Photo courtesy of Rogers Sportsnet

Of course, the former two-time mascot I’m referring to is none other than Ian Mendes of Rogers Sportsnet. Mendes was good enough to sit down with and answer a few questions about the Ottawa Senators and their upcoming season. In all seriousness, a big thanks to Ian for taking the time to do this. Ian does a great job of covering the Senators and has some great blogs over at We’re fans of his work and you should be too. Having a chance to cover the Ottawa Senators for as long as you have, do you have a favorite player to interview in the locker room?

Ian Mendes: That’s a tough one to answer. Daniel Alfredsson has always been terrific to the media in Ottawa win or lose and I will always give him a lot of credit for that. Jason Spezza might be my favorite guy to interview because he’s a very easy-going, happy-go-lucky guy and that comes through in a lot of his interviews. And Nick Foligno has tremendous upside (from a media perspective!)

SC: How do you feel about the goaltending duo of Pascal Leclaire and Brian Elliot in Ottawa? Is this the strongest tandem the Senators have ever had?

Mendes: That’s a good question. This might be the most stable tandem they’ve had in years. The Emery/Hasek duo was clearly the most talented, but it was only for one year and both of them were not the best illustration of the word “stable”. I think Leclaire has the potential to be a top 10 netminder in this league if he’s healthy. Brian Elliott was thrown into an unfair situation last year, but he showed tremendous promise. This combo has the potential to give Ottawa solid goaltending every night. And when was the last time we could say that??

SC: Have you ever read punctuation incorrectly from a teleprompter in your career?

Mendes: I see this clearly has some Anchorman connection, but I can say that I’ve never had this happen to me for one reason: I don’t use a teleprompter. (But if I did, it would definitely happen!)

SC: Last season the talk was about the lack of mobility in the defense. This season that appears to be remedied. How do you feel about the defense on this team now, and have they taken away too much size in favor of mobility?

Mendes: This is the biggest potential weakness on this team. The forwards have been greatly improved and so too has the goaltending. But the blueline remains thin – but for a different reason than last year. They’ve greatly improved mobility with acquisition of Campoli, emergence of Lee and potential of Karlsson. But what happens when someone needs to be cleared from in front of the net? That’s the million dollar question with this team. Phillips and Volchenkov are the only real physical-type defenseman and they are paired together. That being said, I think Bryan Murray is aware of this potential shortcoming. If this team does make a trade this season, it will be for a big, physical defenseman. But I think it’s easier to add size to your blueline than skill. Look how easy it was for Toronto to add Excelby/Beauchemin/Komisarek in a short period of time. Murray just might need to add one of those types of guys in the next five months.

SC: When you’re standing in between the benches during game nights, what is your biggest fear?

Mendes: Obviously, it’s getting hit with a puck. The game moves at such an amazing speed, that you have to be extremely alert down there. One of the first games I did between the benches was in Pittsburgh and Brian McGrattan told me after the anthems to make sure I keep my head up. If a guy like McGrattan is telling me that, I know there is a reason for concern.

Again, a huge thanks to Ian for taking the time out of his schedule to talk with us. Look for him on Rogers Sportsnet and Molson Senators Overtime!

Stay classy, Ian Mendes.

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