Journeyman defenseman Jassen Cullimore talks about winning a Stanley Cup in Tampa — and the off-ice antics of the current Canadiens general manager.
Status: Former NHL defenseman from 1992-2012 for Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 235 pounds
DOB: Dec. 4, 1972 In: Simcoe, Ont.
First Hockey Memory: “Growing up in Canada our front yard used to flood in the winter time and it would freeze over and we would go out there and skate. Right down the road from us a friend of our’s, Rob Blake, who played in the NHL, he would come over with his brothers. We would get out there and play against ’em.”
Hockey Inspirations: “Growing up I didn’t really have one player that I idolized – or one team that I enjoyed watching. My inspiration was more the youth coaches that I had. The one in particular – Fred Bridgewater – who helped me learn how to cross-over because I was very frustrated with it when I first started [smiles].”
First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “Was Rick Walmsley – he grew up in my hometown. He was a goaltender in Calgary when they won the Cup. Was lucky enough to get him to sign the trophy that I won that day.”
Greatest Sports Moment(s): “Winning the Stanley Cup here in Tampa. It was one of those things I never thought would happen when I got here. The way the team was and the struggles that we had early on. I was here for seven years – the first three years we were losing 50 games a year. To be able to stay with the team and be able to realize the inspiration that all kids have of winning the Stanley Cup was really great.”
Most Painful Moment: “When I stopped playing [smiles]. There were a lot of injuries and a lot of that as far as physical pain. Yeah it would be when I stopped playing.”
Favorite Uniforms: “Chicago Blackhawks.”
Favorite Rinks To Play: “Well it’s gotta be this one – Tampa.”
Funniest Players Encountered: “Believe it or not he’s someone right now that people take very seriously – he’s the general manager in Montreal. Marc Bergevin was one of the funniest guys that I ever played with. He’d dress up in different costumes – he would come into the room during a meeting or before a game wearing costumes and putting on little skits for us. He was quite the character. (Any memorable costumes?) Obviously when he dressed up as a woman [smiles]. That kind of stood out [chuckles].”
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “The most embarrassing thing for a defenseman is putting the puck in your own net. Unfortunately that happened to me more than once in my career. Luckily none of them were a turnaround actual shot on my own net. I was trying to clear the puck and put it on the boards.”
Strangest Game: “The strangest game I was ever involved with was in Germany. I played a year in Germany in my last year and we played an exhibition game in an outdoor rink which is great to do but the issue was it was a little warm outside. So there was so much fog on the ice we played I think five minutes and cancelled the game.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “There were a lot of pranks that the guys pulled on each other. The best one I saw was someone opened up the sunroof of the player’s car and went ahead and filled the whole car with popcorn. (Who?) It was probably one of the Courtnall brothers [laughs]. (Victim?) No I don’t remember exactly who it was.”
Fiercest Competitors Encountered: “He’s someone that’s still around the area – Vinny Prospal. He wants to win at everything and he just loves scoring goals. Doesn’t matter if it’s game or practice.”
Most Memorable Goal: “Probably my first one – it was against Calgary and Trevor Kidd was the goaltender. I was playing for Vancouver. We had the Courtnall brothers on a line together. They assisted on the goal. They made the play – it was basically just a rebound that I was lucky enough to come in from the point and put in.”
People Qualities Most Admired: “Just people that are understanding. Able to understand different situations and different perspectives of things. Not being straight-forward and stream-lined what they’re focused on but they can understand that other people are going through things themselves.”
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