The Hockey News: Michael Peca Q & A

Lesedauer: ca. 3 Minuten

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

world.

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

Islanders.

 

The

Hockey News - Heading into the free agency period,

were the Leafs always your No. 1 choice?

Mike

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.

 

THN

- Being from the Toronto area, what obvious fringe benefits

are there – mainly off the ice – that go with being a Leaf?

MP -

 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.

 

THN

- Did your days of watching Darryl Sittler on TV

have anything to do with you wearing No. 27?

MP -

 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

old.

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.



To read the rest of this story and other great features from the world of

hockey, you can buy this issue


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