Sometimes I find that the story behind getting an interview or story is often times more interesting than the story itself. As we approach the Sochi Winter Olympics, I’ve been reflecting on how amazing the 2010 Olympics were in Vancouver. Canada won the most medals ever, Vancouver put on a great show and of course memories of the “Golden Goal”. It was a couple of months before the Olympics and like everyone else, I wanted to interview Sidney Crosby. The good news is that I got the interview, although it almost didn’t come to fruition.
The Penguins were playing the Hurricanes in Raleigh, the November before the Olympics. The Canes organization has been pretty good in granting me media credentials when I occasionally ask to do a story for the Canadian Expat Network. On this occasion, I wasn’t so sure. They said that as long as Pittsburgh was fine with it there shouldn’t be an issue. Like many media opportunities, I didn’t find out till the last 24 hours before the game. I was told I’d have an opportunity to ask questions after practice during the media scrum.
The media routine on game day is that the away team practices first and when they got off the ice the media has the opportunity to question the coach and players. Of course with Pittsburgh, you can count on a few extra members of the media in attendance.
While watching practice, a gentleman sat down two rows behind me. I knew he wasn’t a member of the media and thought he might be a parent of one of the players.I came to find out he was a parent of two players, Eric and Jordan Staal. Henry Staal regularly makes trip Raleigh, Pittsburgh and New York to watch sons Eric, Jordan and Marc play (Jordan is now with the Hurricanes). At that time, all three Staals had been invited to the Canada Olympic hockey camp, but he didn’t know if any would make the team.
I asked if I could join him and he said yes and we spoke for awhile. A that point, the practice was finishing and the media were starting to head to the Penguin’s dressing room. I thought Henry would be a great story, so I asked and if could do a brief interview. To be honest, I hadn’t prepared questions, so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. (See the interview below)
After the interview, I hustled down to the dressing room to find out that I had missed the Crosby media scrum. I was pretty disappointed and asked if there was still a chance to interview Sid the Kid. The Penguins media rep said that he’s a good guy and that there was no harm in asking. Sid was very accommodating and gave me a couple of minutes. I asked about the recent Stanley Cup tour in Nova Scotia, the upcoming Olympics and Tim Horton’s. (See the interview below)
As I look back four years later on the interview that almost didn’t happen, Canada won the Olympic gold with Sid scoring the winner and Eric Staal as a line mate, the Pittsburgh Consul arena had a Tim Horton’s the following year and the video has had almost 40,000 views. Certainly a day that I will never forget, but one that nearly had a different outcome.