Five-time Stanley Cup winner and Jets assistant coach Charlie Huddy talks about the Oilers’ glory years.
Status: Winnipeg Jets assistant coach. Former NHL defenseman from 1979-1997 for Edmonton, Los Angeles, Buffalo and St. Louis. Won five Stanley Cups as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.
HT: 6-0 WT: 200 pounds
DOB: June 2, 1959 In: Oshawa, Ont.
First Hockey Memory: “I think just getting started playing hockey. I didn’t play hockey at the start. I went to power skating classes and took those first and then got into hockey from there. I actually started as a forward playing minor hockey which is kinda funny. Then changed back to defense later as I moved up in the age group.”
Hockey Inspirations: “I think just watching hockey on TV. Watching Hockey Night in Canada on Wednesday and Saturday at home with my dad. Like any kid you had dreams of playing in the NHL someday. It was something we always did as a family.”
Greatest Sports Moment: “Winning the first Stanley Cup, I think had to be it.”
Most Painful Moment: “All the years that I haven’t made the playoffs. While in the NHL.”
Favorite Uniforms: “Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “Hurt my leg. Had a charley horse. Had to have surgery on it and didn’t know what was gonna happen after that. Didn’t know if my career was done or not. (With Buffalo?) No, it was with Edmonton. Against Detroit in the playoffs. (How did it happen?) I got hit. Had a charley horse. It started to re-bleed. So they had to kinda slice it open to let all the blood out. I didn’t know what was gonna happen. I was fortunate that everything worked out fine. (Who hit you?) I think it might have been Kris Draper but I’m not 100 percent sure.”
Most Memorable Goal: “Probably my first one. In Chicago Stadium against Tony Esposito.”
Nicknames: “Huds. That’s about it. Pretty basic.”
First Famous Player You Met or Encountered: “I think it might have been Davey Keon. I went to a Leafs game with my cousin and tried to get some autographs. I ended up getting his autograph down there at Maple Leaf Gardens.”
Funniest Players Encountered: “Kevin McClelland in Edmonton is a pretty funny guy. And Dave Semenko would be the other one.”
Strangest Game: “Nothing I can think of off hand… Oh, you know… the year in the playoffs when the lights went out in Boston.”
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “Probably lots of them [smiles]. Not that I can think of off hand.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “Just every day in the dressing room in Edmonton when I played there for the ten years we had a lot of laughs. They were pretty much every day. (Any specific examples come to mind?) There’d be donuts in the dressing room – the cream filled ones got filled up with shaving cream. Guys take a bite out of ’em … [smiles]. That worked for a little bit. So that was pretty good my first years when I got there some of the older guys would do that to try to catch the young guys. (Who were the antagonists?) Probably guys like Dave Hunter or Dave Semenko.”
Closest Hockey Friends: “You know what? Lots of ’em. Probably guys on the 80s teams because we won a lot of Cups together. A guy like Paul Coffey. Obviously I played a bunch of years with him and then we roomed together. So he’d probably be the one.”
Fiercest Competitors Encountered: “I think there’s a lot of ’em. None in particular stand out. It was every night. Playing hard every night.”
Favorite Rinks To Play: “Probably the old ones like Maple Leaf Gardens. I played my first NHL game in there. And then probably the old Montreal Forum.”
Personality Qualities Most Admired: “Just good, up-front people. Just good, honest people. Tell it like it is.”
Mark “Scoop” Malinowski is the author of tennis books “Facing Federer” and “Facing Hewitt” which are available at amazon. He’s currently working on “Facing Probert.”