Status: Carolina Hurricanes Left wing.
HT: 5-foot-10 WT: 180 pounds
DOB: May 8, 1972 In: Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.
Hockey Inspiration: “Gretzky. The Oilers. I grew up with the Oilers, part of their organization (as a stick boy and later as a player). That would be the inspiration.”
Hobbies/Leisure Activities: “I golf like every other hockey player. I collect wine and classic muscle cars.”
Nickname: “Good ones or bad one? Whit, Willow, I’ve also been called Lord Farquaad. Jeff Rammer, now the TV man for the Columbus Blue Jackets, was our guy in Florida, and he started something called The Wizard. One day I did something on the ice and he started calling me The Wizard from then on after. So that’s been sticking around for the last eight, nine years. Not too many people call me that, and only in jest.”
Favorite Movie: “I like James Bond, the action ones. Not really into tearjerkers or the wife movies. I will suck it up every now and then and go to one. But I like the action ones.”
Musical Tastes: “AC/DC. I’m back from that old generation.”
Last Book Read: “Lone Survivor.”
First Hockey Memory: “It’s the first time I went on skates; my first practice when I was five. My dad lifted me down off the step on to the ice. Went up in the crowd. Didn’t help me, didn’t tell me anything. I skated around the boards, hanging on to the boards my first practice. 45 minutes later, he came, picked me up off the ice and carried me off. Scored one goal that year. That was against the mothers. (Against who? The mothers?) The mothers. The kids played a game against the moms. And they let me score a goal. My only goal that year.”
First Job: “My first real job was washing dishes at a restaurant. But my first one when I had a car, when I was 16, was pumping gas at a gas station back home.”
First Car: “1972 Volkswagen Beetle (red).”
Current Car: “I have a S 550 Mercedes (black).”
Pre-Game Feeling: “I’m pretty relaxed. I usually watch Everybody Loves Raymond or Seinfeld right up until it’s time for me to get dressed. But aside from that, I usually come in, you know, try to carve a couple guys before I go out. I’m pretty relaxed, but once the game starts, I’m a little more intense, but I’m pretty relaxed up till then.”
Greatest Sports Moment: “Winning the Stanley Cup (2006).”
Most Painful Moment: “I’ve had some pretty good moments. Losing 18 consecutive games my first full year in San Jose. We set the league record for consecutive losses (1992-93).”
Most Memorable Goal: “I scored a double-overtime goal to clinch in Game 7 — the clinch was a win over the Calgary Flames when I was with San Jose (’95).”
Closest NHL Friends: “Other than my teammates here, it would be Mike Sillinger, who plays for the New York Islanders right now. He would probably be my best friend.”
Funniest Players Encountered: “Marc Bergevin. I didn’t play with him, but I was with him on a world stars tour — extremely funny. Jamie McLennan was very funny. And a guy on our team here, Chad Larose, is a pretty funny guy.”
Toughest Competitors: “I played against Scott Stevens, he was pretty fierce. Dino Ciccarelli was one of the hardest competitors I played with. There are a lot of guys. If you’re playing in this league, you’re probably pretty competitive.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “I saw Eddie Belfour in overtime two years ago, playing four on four, and we got a power play. He felt like our player dove, so he did six swan dives in a row and ended up getting another penalty. Ended up putting us up five on three and we scored.”
Favorite Vacation Spot: “My wife and I usually go to Vegas every year. I believe that was the last one we went on without the kids.”
People Qualities Most Admired: “To me, it’s just more honesty. People who are straightforward and to the point. I don’t like it when people beat around the bush and play the edges. I’d rather you just come out and be a straight-shooter and just say it the way it is. That’s more how I am.”
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