The Hockey News: Michael Peca Q & A
Die Titelstory der neuesten Ausgabe des nordamerikanischen
Eishockey-Fachmagazins "The Hockey News" beschäftigt sich mit Mike
Peca, der als ehemaliger Maple Leafs Fan nun erstmalig in seine
Heimatstadt Toronto wechselt:
Michael Peca Q & A
By Mike Zeisberger
Michael Peca has a confession to make.
Believe it or not, at one time he belonged
to the so-called ‘Leaf Nation,’ that crazed legion of fans that views
everything in the hockey world through blue-and-white glasses.
Throughout the NHL, these zealots are
mocked for expressing such loyalty toward a franchise that hasn’t won a Stanley
Cup in almost 40 years. These people, the critics claim, live in a fantasy
No matter. As Peca, a Toronto native, is quick to note, the thing
that can’t be questioned is their passion for the game.
And after cheering for the Leafs, the
32-year-old now is one of them. He couldn’t be more excited.
In a candid interview with The Hockey News,
Peca recently sat down to discuss, among other topics, his relationship with
foe-turned-teammate Darcy Tucker, the awful travel schedule the Oilers must
endure and the circus surrounding another of his former teams, the New York
Hockey News - Heading into the free agency period,
were the Leafs always your No. 1 choice?
Peca - Prior to July 1, I sat down with my agent
and went through every single team in the league in order to identify the
handful that would be a great fit for me. It wasn’t just taking geographics
into consideration, but also the opportunity I would receive and the
opportunity the team would have for a chance to win.
That was important, because at this stage
of my career all I want to do is win, and win in a place that would be a lot of
fun to play in while being accommodating to my family at the same time.
When you go over all the things I was
looking for, Toronto
definitely was at the top of my list.
- Being from the Toronto area, what obvious fringe benefits
are there – mainly off the ice – that go with being a Leaf?
For me, it
gives me the chance to be around family and friends that I grew up with.
They are all excited. My family pretty much
is (in Toronto) except for my older brother, who
now lives in Boston.
At least now they can cheer for one team.
In the past they had to split their support between the Leafs and “whatever
team Michael is playing for.”
Now, I have the opportunity to share this
experience with them. When you are playing other places like out West you can
talk with them on the phone, but you can’t really see people and share with
them on a day-to-day basis.
I look forward to getting to Toronto, not just to play
for the Leafs and all that stuff, but also going back to the rinks I used to
play in and watching minor hockey…maybe even run into the people I’m sure still
run those organizations. It’s kind of good to go back and see those things and
get a chance to revisit the grassroots, where it all started.
- Did your days of watching Darryl Sittler on TV
have anything to do with you wearing No. 27?
This is not
meant to be disrespectful to Darryl. He’s a guy I grew up really enjoying
watching. But Lanny McDonald was my first favorite player with the Leafs.
After that, it was a culmination of a lot
of different guys. That’s why now when I see Lanny, one of my favorite people
in the world, I always joke with him about it because he doesn’t like to feel
Sometimes I age him a bit with the stories
of when I was a young kid. As for the No. 27, it stems back from junior when I
was traded from Sudbury to Ottawa. Glen Murray, who was still with Sudbury, told me “You’d
better wear 27,” because we were good friends. He still wears No. 27 today and
I wore it up until last year. When I signed here and they gave me the option of
wearing No. 27, I was pretty excited that it was made available to me.
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