I am Bret Hedican, I played in 3 Stanley Cup Finals, 2 Olympics and lifted the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes AMA!
Hi Reddit! Bret Hedican here, I played 17 years in the NHL, in three Stanley Cup Finals and lifted the Cup with Carolina. Now I'm an analyst for Comcast Sportsnet covering the NHL and the San Jose Sharks. Ask me Anything!
My Proof: http://imgur.com/6A9Oa88
***Edit: Thanks everyone I'm off to watch Game 2! Great questions and enjoyed connecting with NHL fans! And if you play a team sport make sure to check out RosterBot a FREE team management app. We've been working hard to Take The Work Out Of Play!
So happy I lived to tell the story! We played vs the Canucks early in the year, & I remember saying, "that's a team I'd love to play for!" So, next time we played them, I was going to make sure I was noticed. Problem was, I didn't realize when I ran the Canuck over it was GINO! Oh, NO! Survived the fight, and was later traded that year to the Canucks that went on a great Stanley Cup run! Just think, Gino's fight changed my life in some way!
Bret, I'm a huge canes fan, so it's awesome to talk to someone who helped get us to our only cup victory. My question is: if you could play for any team, past or present, what team would it be?
The 3 teams I played on that went to the Stanley Cup all had great attributes. I was always chasing that in my career to find again. We had 6 good years of it in Carolina because of the great veteran group we had that controlled the room and kept everyone honest, hardworking & humble! Answer - Carolina 2006! (duh)
Who's more competitive, you or your wife, Kristi Yamaguchi?
Oh man! Certain things, she's way more competitive! I can't sit next to her watching our kids sports, or Sharks play hockey! She's crazy competitive! Although, you don't play 17 years in the National without being a little crazy competitive!
Do you think there is any credibility to the rumors Thornton and/or Marleau might get traded?
Yes, I think those rumors are credible. When Doug Wilson & Todd MacClellan both come out and say they want different leaders next year, I believe they're talking to them. But would you want to stay or go somewhere else? Decision will probably be their own to make, but the writing is on the wall.
HEY Bret.. Thanks for bringing the Cup to Carolina!
Just thought this would be a good one: Who was your most eccentric roommate on the road, and why?
Roomed with Mike Commodore for a while, he had those nice Robes he'd like to wear! Reminded me of Hugh Hefner!
On a scale of 1-10, how good was his afro?
His fro, was an 11.
Kings or Rangers?
Kings - (Justin Williams is too clutch)
Which one of you teaches your kids how to skate?
Neither! You know how kids are! Their own parents know nothing! (If they only knew their parents were a Stanley Cup winner & a Gold Medalist). For now, others teach our kids, and we have to sit in the stands pulling chewing our nails!
What was the toughest moment you had to overcome during your Cup run with the Hurricanes?
Tore my labrum in my hip in Game 1, and my right thumb ligament in game 3. Survived the rest of the series. I remember walking in the locker room after the game, Rod Brind'Amour pouring champagne down my throat from the Cup, and right after going down on my hands and knees puking my guts out for 10 minutes. I gave it all I had for 7 games, and "that's all I got to say about that.."
What's the best thing you learned playing with the '94 Canucks that got so close?
I loved watching you, Bure, Linden, Ronning, etc. Thanks for the memories, and I was happy for ya when you raised the cup.
I learned what a team looked like in 1994 with the Canucks. There wasn't a guy that ever pointed the finger at another teammate when a mistake was made. Truly inspiring and a reason why some teams do great things, and it all comes down to trust & accountability.
When the horn sounded at the end of Game 7 against the Oilers, what was the first thing that went through your head?
You think of all those guys you've fought with all year, your family, wife & kids, and the moments you kept believing in yourself when you wanted to give up. When you didn't think you could do it any more. When you didn't think you were good enough, or a coach didn't think you'd make it. You think at that moment, I'm glad I believed in myself & trusted my spirit.
I promise Im not trying to be condescending, and am asking this with the best of intent. What about the 2 times you sent to the finals and didn't raise the cup. What went through your head then?
This is a great follow up, and you're not being condescending. Those two losses sat inside me and ate away, but it also inspired me to train harder and be more committed then ever to get back there. Loosing exposed weaknesses in my game & knowing I had to train harder to make sure my body was ready for everything the playoffs can throw at you. Learn from your failures, and don't make the same mistakes twice. Use "IT" or "IT" will use you.
As you know, its fairly tough for athletes to find their "next thing" after playing as a pro. Can you talk about your transition from being a pro athlete to becoming a civilian again? When you've done so much already what keeps you from hitting the snooze bar until noon? Where did you find your inspirations?
Great Q! It was so hard for me to just shut off my throttle! I jumped right in, by going back to school for a while, helped build RosterBot.com, help my wife with TsuyaBrand.com, worked on AlwaysDream.org, and I know that seems like a lot, but at the end of my days, when I have 6 feet of dirt on my head, I want this world to be a better place then I left it! My advice to athletes transitioning, rest when your dead!
1) Who is the toughest player you ever played against?
2) What is the best play you personally ever made?
- Claude Lemieux / Glen Anderson - both dirty as hell, but would compete like hell too.
- 2-1 game in Carolina, Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final game, under a minute to go in the game, pulled goalie by Edmonton, the puck was shot off the boards about 3 feet high, I knocked it out of the air, over to Eric Staal, he passed to Justin Williams to put the puck in the empty net to ice the game. I use to juggle all the time to help my eyes multi-task, and that moment was worth all those days of throwing 3 balls in the air.
Wow! That was really cool to watch your point of view on that goal, and to see that! Man, that choked me up! One great group of men & proud to call them all teammates.
Huge Sharks fan here. What was the mood among the rest of the broadcast team after the first round debacle against LA? Do they get as frustrated as us fans do?
We live and die with the Sharks as well. And we definitely feel the heartbreak along with everyone else. Yes we need to be objective, but we care about these guys and want to see them do well & raise that Cup.
What was your favorite part of your time in Raleigh, aside from winning the Cup in '06?
My favorite times were, both my kids being born there, amazing teams I played on, yes winning the Cup, but the overall feeling of knowing I was appreciated for what I brought to a team! Advice to all people that manage people out there, show your teammates pride and respect for what they do, and they'll run through a wall for you!
How did you break your nose? Did Brodie Brazil have anything to do with it?
The first time when my nose ended up on the other side of my face was by this guy - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Konstantinov He tripped me and then jumped on the back of my head as it hit the ice.
No, Brodie had nothing to do with it!
Hey Bret, first, thanks for your time spent with the Canucks!
Second, I've been playing hockey for about three years now and play D as well, other than the obvious skills of skating, shooting, stick handling etc., what's one aspect of his game that a defenceman should master that's often overlooked?
I tell young defensemen, to be the best passer on your team! Work on it every day! Take pride in every pass you make on the tape! Be a master!
What was your greatest moment?
Winning the Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes! When you raise that Cup, you reflect on every person that helped you get there & your so proud of every person that helped you get to that moment! Your family, friends, coaches & teammates! This group was special!
I heard there was some sort of ball hockey game at the Winter Games this year in Sochi in the Olympic Village? It sounds awesome ... how did that all come together? Did you play? Who won?
Yes, it was great. We had the USA House vs Canada House. It ended up in a tie, although the Canadians had a net that was about 12 inches smaller then ours.
Hi Bret. I'm a recent convert to Hockey (it's not that big here in the UK), have loved it for the past few years. Who do you support when you watch NHL nowadays?
I really enjoy guys like Jonathan Toews & Zach Parise! These two guys play the game all out every shift! I love that! I know the way they train, so I know they can handle the grind and the ability to push the pace of play throughout the whole game!
Who's the funniest guy/biggest joker you've played with? Any stories?
Adrian Aucoin! I lived with him for a year, and I thought I was living with Ace Ventura! The guy is funny 24/7! Great guy & Friend!
What was your favorite visiting arena to play in? What was the worst visiting arena?
Favorite was the Old Chicago Stadium! Since tearing down, the new Montreal Forum! Worst, New York Islanders Nassau Coliseum! Painful place!
Hi Bret! I wanna say you're one of my favorites to watch and was wondering if you'd answer me just one question:
How cool is it that we both share a birthday on the awesome day of August 10th? :)
Very cool! Let's have a toast this August 10th! What's your cocktail of choice? First, are you of age?
Coolest part about working with the Sharks, day in day out?
Staying involved in this great game of hockey.
I currently attend North St. Paul where you used to go, and I was at the ceremony where you brought the cup home. I want to say thank you for providing easily one of the coolest moments of my young life, touching the cup. My question for you is, while you were at North St. Paul, did you ever think you would make it to the NHL, let alone win the Cup?
That moment was one of my proudest! I brought it home because the year before i won the Cup was the first time i saw the Cup in person up close. It was so inspiring for me and re-focused & made me more driven then ever to win that trophy! If bringing it home inspired one child, person, that would have made me happy for a lifetime!
Which hockey player (professional or not) was your biggest inspiration?
As a kid, I looked up to my two cousins that both went on to play college hockey for Michigan University! One was a short fast forward, the other a smooth defenseman. I tried to copy them both. But growing up I loved the Chicago Blackhawks even though we had the North Stars.
Which player have you gotten along with the most and least?
Theres not too many players I didn't get along with! Hockey players are the best dude's in sport! Straight up, no B.S.!
Here's a question I've wondered for some time since watching you play in the NHL, who's the better skater, you or your wife?
Hands down - Yama.
What do you think about next year's SCSU hockey team?
Love it. We've got really good culture going on right now at SCSU. That says a lot about last years seniors and this years seniors. I want to say thanks to all those guys who continue to uphold our great culture we started back when I was there. I have a lot of pride in SCSU!
Hey Bret, big fan and was so glad to see Carolina win the cup, as Eric Staal is from my hometown of Thunder Bay. My question is how did you find him as a captain?
I never had him as a Captain. I hope that he had good guys to learn from starting with Rod Brind'Amour. I know guys like Andrew Ladd & Staalzy, learned a lot from our veteran group.
What do the refs say after they break up a fight?
I don't think you really remember. Lucky I didn't get in many, but they just step in and separate. The Refs are great at what they do!
Bret, I truly think your one of the finest analysts In all of the 30 teams tv people. One thing I've always wondered about your career is what was it like playing for herb brooks at St.Cloud state?
Thanks! Actually I never played for Herb, but he did have an impact in my career. Because of his foresight, and wanting to provide another Division 1 program in MN, I was a recipient of that and would never be where I'm at today without Herb! (RIP Herb)
What is the worst injury you or a team mate has played through?
My labrum tear in my hip, or my back pain was tough to grind through.
Hi Bret! Who wins in a fight between Brodie Brazil and Kevin Kurz? It can either be on or off the ice.
I think Kurzy wins that tilt. Although Brodie may break Kevin's nose before he looses the fight.
Hey Bret! How fun is it to work with Brodie? And which shark do you think is the funniest?
Brodie has been amazing to work with. He's a true professional and is working on his craft every day trying to get better, which he continues to do. I learn so much from him and appreciate my time working with him.
Do you think particular effort should be made to increase the popularity of the NHL in the US? I'm always disappointed that the NFL has hour long shows on ESPN during its offseason while the NHL doesn't get any hour long shows during its postseason! I don't at all mean to disparage the NFL (I love football), but I would really like to see the NHL get more attention. Do you think the NHL should be making more active efforts to increase its national importance?
If so, what steps do you think should be taken/would be most likely to achieve this goal? To me, it seems to hinge on a general lack of understanding of the sport. Many of the dedicated sports fans that I know personally love baseball, basketball, and football, but seem unable to follow hockey because they don't understand the basics. But what can the NHL really do about this? Or does the problem (if it even is one) actually stem from some other source?
Regarding the Sharks: I'm a bay area native and have followed the franchise from its inception. I have a lot of respect for the players and the organization. However, in recent years, I've had a difficult time getting excited about the team. I feel as though I can predict from the beginning exactly what will happen: they'll play great in the regular season, probably having home ice in at least the first round, and then they'll inexplicably fall apart at some point in the playoffs. So which season new season begins, I find it difficult to really build up any excitement about watching them, given that I already feel confident that they're inevitably going to play below their potential in the playoffs. So, my question is: why should I get excited when the 2014-2015 season begins?
Thanks for doing this AMA!
The current rating in these playoffs are breaking records so maybe more people are getting on board. Ultimately, more people will start to understand our great athletes and how we're all just normal guys giving it all we have on the ice. Sharks will make changes this summer that will hopefully make next season and others to come, unpredictable.
What's it like working "inside the glass" during a game? Do you hear a lot of chatter between the two teams? And any chance you can do more of it next season?
I'm hoping the Sharks will finally get me closer to the ice and truly be "Inside The Glass" instead of "inside the hallway." If they fix that, I'm sure I'll hear more chatter and make me better at truly seeing the little things going on during the game. Thanks
What's the funniest road-trip story that you can share?
Since you were a player for a long time, you must have quite a few interesting stories to share, would you ever consider writing a book like Jamie McLennan or Sean Pronger did?
No interest in writing a book. But, my first day as an NHL hockey player was one I'll never forgot. Signed my contract, met the Blues in Montreal, and after practice took me straight to a "lady establishment" to buy beers for the team! That was back in 1992! Believe me the game has changed since then.
Hey Bret, first off I want to congratulate you on your successful career. I know you've helped with rosterbot and work with the sharks broadcast team but is there anything else out there you'd like to get in to like coaching or management in hockey? I haven't played competitively since juniors but it still kills me to see other people playing and involved directly with the game and I just want to lace em up and jump out there. Can't imagine it's much different from how you feel.
Yes, I'd love to get involved with a team someday on the Management side to help build the team of players that understand what it takes to Win. RosterBot.com has been a great outlet for me to help build a team along with helping people enjoy playing sports & activities together without the hassle of organizing! RosterBot.com is the best at it & our team is amazing!
Who was the most talented player you played with?
For a period of about 6 years, Pavel Bure was the most talented player in the world that I had ever seen or played with or against. His injuries effected him, but wow was he incredible for many years.
Thanks for doing this Bret (channeling Pierre there for a moment)
This years playoffs will probably be best remembered by fanatics as the year of the nut check, water bottle, and embellishment. As a player, which of those upset you the most? And which, if any, made you roll your eyes at the amount of fan attention given?
Only thing I don't like, is diving or embellishing. I love the game of Soccer, but when guys embellish and flop on the field, I turn it off. I can't handle that when soccer players do that.
Would it have meant more to you to win the Cup or Olympic gold?
Any Olympic medal would have been amazing! The one I missed in 1992 in Albertville when we were all young college amateurs, was one I really wish we could have won that Bronze. But, to win the Stanley Cup, and knowing how hard that is to accomplish, its pretty special. Neither would mean more, just knowing that a moment in time was special.
When your ring of the Stanley Cup eventually gets removed to make room for the new names, will you be disappointed or happy to see it make its way to the hall of fame?
The etched names in my brain can never be taken away from me or removed to be put somewhere else. That's all I need, are those moment's to hold on to.
Hey Bret. You're born in the same year as Teemu Selänne. What would you say about his career which sadly ended this year (probably)?
Incredible human being Teemu is. I'd watch him every year after I retired and would say, "you go brother!" Really proud to call him a teammate in Anaheim, and playing against him in the 1992 Olympics as an amateur. Great, great teammate! Lesson to learn from Teemu is, never get too high on yourself or too low/down on yourself, just come to the rink with a smile on your face & bring your best every day like he did for over 20 years. Anything you enjoy, you'll do longer!
Bret, Thanks for doing this!
I see since retiring from the NHL you have been involved in several businesses. What is the biggest similarity between playing professional sports and starting a business?
All great teams have the same qualities & similarities. At RosterBot.com we're building a great experienced team, but making sure we're all accountable, and with that more trust gets built. When you trust each other and have each others back, you can do great things. I'm really excited about both my projects RosterBot.com & TsuyaBrand.com and both will continue to grow.
Hockeyfights.com says you once fought Gino Odjick. Why would anyone want to do that?
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