I am Mike Hartman, a former NHL player. I had a 17 year pro career, and I was fortunate enough to represent the United States on two different occasions. I was part of the 1994 Stanley Cup Champions. I retired pro hockey in 2001. Ask me Anything!

My Proof: http://i.imgur.com/G45nHJR.jpg

EDIT: Thank you for all the great questions everybody! I hope you enjoyed my responses.

Comments: 204 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

Amidoinitwright49 karma

What was your best chirp heard on the ice?

Also thanks for doing an AMA. Hope you enjoy it!

MikeHartman10080 karma

A guy said to me: Hey Hartman, it looks like you had a lot of shifts tonight. Shift right, shift left, shift right, shift left.

roadslaya43 karma

Were you on the bench when the malarchuck incident went down?

MikeHartman10049 karma

Yes. Worst thing I have ever seen in my life.

gvplaya31 karma

Good evening Mr. Hartman, Your Wikipedia page says that you were elected to the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Did your heritage ever cause any problems during your playing days? Thanks for doing this AMA!

MikeHartman10047 karma

To be honest with you, once of twice in my career I may have heard a racial remark, in the minors. Never in the NHL.

dgs5528 karma

Hey Mike,

Just wondering, what NHL team are you a fan of?

MikeHartman10034 karma

Rangers, Sabres, Lightning, Jets.

nkronck17 karma

From Detroit and you don't support the winged wheel!?

MikeHartman10025 karma

My brother does, and I actually played one exhibition game before they wanted to send me to Glenn Falls. I opted out and went to Orlando.

ncraniel28 karma

Who was your best teammate? Not necessarily skill, but someone who keeps the team's spirit up and all that jazz

MikeHartman10044 karma

Eddie Olczyk in New York. He sat a lot in the press box, but he maintained a positive attitude, and was named Player's Player in 1994.

thegreenbastard2325 karma

Who's you're favorite player to watch today?

MikeHartman10044 karma


karmapuhlease24 karma

Who were your favorite opponents? Your favorite teammates?

Funniest story you can remember (either from during a game or in the locker room/bus/hotels)?

MikeHartman10063 karma

I always like playing against the Boston Bruins because you always knew you were in a game. I loved all of my teammates, but Mark Messier is the class of the class.

Funniest story: I was so excited to play my first game in Detroit in front of my home town, the players knew I was excited, so they told me to go out first and I looked like an ass skating by myself in front of 20,000 people.

PolloxOfTroy22 karma

What player or team did you relish playing against the most and why?

MikeHartman10033 karma

I enjoyed playing against Wayne Gretzky, he was a hero of mine growing up.

waffles20 karma

Who do you think are some of the best lesser known players in the NHL today?

MikeHartman10034 karma

Everyone has a role on a hockey team, and some people are highly recognized and some aren't. It takes 20 people to win a game.

thatonesleeper17 karma

What if your opinion on the lockouts that seemingly happen year after year? As a fan, it is making me hate what is going on in this sport. I miss more and more games, because owners are fighting for more money.

MikeHartman10028 karma

Unfortunately, hockey is not only a sport, its a business. The players that only play for short amounts of years have to make sure they are willing and able to live a healthy lifestyle after they retire. The owners have to financially keep the lights on in the stadiums to make NHL what it is today.

thatonesleeper9 karma

Unfortunately it seems to be benefiting the owners more then the players. I'm more then happy to pay an increased ticket price if it meant the players could receive more in the long run. The main problem I see is they end up cutting games out of the season which hurt the bottom line significantly more each year. How much longer can they push lockouts before it becomes unmanageable?

MikeHartman10016 karma

At this point, I am just a fan of the game. I don't focus on the negatives on the lockouts and strikes.

AndTheDanSays16 karma

Hi Mike. Huge Rangers fan. What was the atmosphere in New York like in 1994, especially after winning the Cup? I'm 25, so I didn't really have much of a sense of the meaning of it all back then. Can you draw parallels to what this past NYR season was like and the run that they made?

Thanks for your time!

MikeHartman10031 karma

There are no words that can explain what we went through in 1994. The city threw us a parade that had over 1.5 million people there. They were throwing confetti from the buildings, and it was wild.

The rangers this season over achieved and it was a good year.

AndTheDanSays14 karma

The Cup went "missing" for a while the night of the clincher if i have my story straight... any news on that or would that be breaking locker room code?

MikeHartman10021 karma

Nothing bad happened, one of the players took the cup without communicating.

roadslaya12 karma

What's your take on fighting in hockey?

MikeHartman10026 karma

There should only be a fight if someone maliciously goes after and tries to hurt another player.

thethinglonger11 karma

Mr. Hartman, thanks for taking the time to do this AMA!

Do you have any insight to what was going on when this picture was taken?

Also, what, in your opinion, would be the best advice for any aspiring hockey players?

Thanks for breaking my Devil heart in 1994..

MikeHartman10017 karma

You never know when a picture is taken, and Mark wasn't ready.

Always outwork the person across from you. Also, don't take any shortcuts.

nandini7711 karma

Hi Mr. Hartman!! It's a wonderful honor that you've participated in this.

I understand that you've played in the ECHL and IHL in your playing career and I have one question:

Do you see any form of change in development leagues, like the ECHL, since your playing time? Changes can include: Levels of competition, quality of play, noteriety from bigger teams, fan attendence, etc.

Edit: I forgot to mention /r/hockey is a wonderful place to visit as well.

MikeHartman10016 karma

I was a player coach for the ECHL and that was the Rangers third farm team. It was more of a developmental league, and its a great place to have the young prospects work on their game. The IHL was a league of players for the most part, were done with their careers.

GoSomaliPirates11 karma

Mr Hartman,

As someone who is obviously very interested in hockey, what do you think commissioner Gary Bettman could do to regain waning American interest in the greatest game on ice?

In addition to that, what did you do with your "Day with the Cup" in 1994?

MikeHartman10035 karma

He already is taking steps to making the game faster by eliminating obstruction. Today's game is quicker, and thanks to Gary Bettman, the game is heading into the right direction. The NHL had one of it's best financial year.

To your second question: I went to the police department with the Stanley Cup, and I took it to a pizza place in Detroit, MI. I had an open invitation to anyone who wanted to take a picture with the cup.

RabbitFeet259 karma

Hello Mr. Hartman,

My question for you is what was your favorite memory of playing hockey in your career? It can be when you were younger, in the Olympics or the NHL.

MikeHartman10019 karma

My favorite memory was my first NHL game. It was an exhibition game against the Washington Capitals and then my first official game against the Montreal Canadians.

oPHILcial9 karma

Shoutout to a fellow jew (you know the handshake)

How did it feel being left off the Stanley Cup at first?

MikeHartman10011 karma

It definitely hurt because I was out for injuries and was a healthy scratch.

luikan8 karma

I asked another question but thought this deserved a new post - My dad played highschool hockey with Jeff Parker; did you ever skate with him? I believe he was playing for the Sabres around the same time as you.

MikeHartman10012 karma

Jeff was my centerman and I just talked to him 6 months ago and hes fighting an illness that I don't want to get into.

heartbeat1238 karma

Hi Mike!

What's your favorite hobby? Besides hockey :)

MikeHartman10013 karma

I like working out.

Mikeydoes8 karma

If you had to come back this year to play on any team AND win a Stanley Cup. Which team would that be?

MikeHartman10020 karma

Buffalo Sabres.

dankre8 karma

Hey Mr. Hartman, do you have any medical complications from the game? Also, how does it feel to represent your country?

MikeHartman10013 karma

I am healthy and playing for my country twice was amazing.

Metrostars10297 karma

Hello Mr. Hartman, I was wondering what you thought of the Rangers run at the cup this past year? Being that it was the first time they returned to the finals since your 1994 team.

Thanks for doing this!

MikeHartman10011 karma

It was truly amazing and done with great character.

Conservance7 karma

How many fights have you been in on the ice?

Furthermore, how many have you won?

MikeHartman10013 karma

The most fights I had in one season was around 30. I had the most penalty minutes for the Buffalo Sabres. 316. I was more of a defensive fighter, I didn't want to get hit. Probably 30% of the fights

dyliep6 karma

Of all the players you fought, who threw the hardest punches?

MikeHartman10016 karma

Joe Kocur and Gino Odjick

nkronck3 karma

Have you read Proberts's book? Quite incredible with a lot of talk about playing with Kocur

MikeHartman1005 karma

I really liked Bob Probet, but haven't read his book.

Mikeydoes6 karma

Right now.

Who is the best player?

Who is the best captain?

Who is the most exciting player?

Who is the best team?

MikeHartman10016 karma

Malkin. They are all good captains. Ovy Right now, Chicago.

quake3016 karma

Hey, Mike Hartman what did your diet consists of during your time in the NHL?

MikeHartman1008 karma

Chicken, pasta, fish, fruits, and vegetables.

I_smell_awesome6 karma

What's your favorite cut of steak?

MikeHartman1009 karma

I love a New York Steak.

Alien6266 karma

Get Mr. Hartman! What was the worst fight- verbal or physical you ever got on with another player?

MikeHartman10012 karma

I got punched in the jaw by Joe Kocur.

Alien6265 karma

Break anything?

MikeHartman10011 karma

He broke my orbital bone.

RevanFlash5 karma

I'm sure you get asked this a lot, but here it goes. What is it like having your name on the Cup? As a hockey player I'm sure it's something that you dreamed about everyday of your life. What is it like knowing your name is on the greatest trophy in all of sports?

Also, who is the most skilled player you ever got to see in person? I'm guessing Mario.

MikeHartman1004 karma

My son has a picture in his with my name being engraved on a fat head. It's more of a family thing than a personal thing. Mario is correct.

eggskullplaintiff5 karma

How was working in the German league different, worse, better than in the US?

MikeHartman1007 karma

It was a really good experience to play in Europe. But there is nothing like the NHL.

notleonardodicaprio5 karma

What do you think the NHL could do to make hockey a bigger and more popular sport in the US?

MikeHartman10016 karma

They are going that way by speeding up the game. They took the red line away.

austin_16x5 karma

Most memorable/satisfying fight?

MikeHartman10013 karma

Lyndon Byers in Boston. About 5 years ago, he sent me an autographed picture of us fighting!

shavingourbeards5 karma

What is your favourite food?

MikeHartman1006 karma

Lobster and chicken parm.

TomB72225 karma

As someone who was pro athlete for 17 years, how did you notice the change of focus towards strength training and athleticism throughout your career? How much did strength standards increase over those 17 years? And who was the strongest player you ever played with/against (if you know any gym numbers, that would be awesome)?

Thanks for doing this!

MikeHartman1009 karma

Every 5 years, training becomes more advanced. Since 1994, they train almost the same way they do today, and the same testing is done, as was done back in 1994. Adam Graves could do 145 lbs 60 times in a minute.

luikan5 karma

One of my dad's highschool teammates went on to play in the NHL for a handful of games in the 80s, spent most of his money on a nice cabin in northern Minnesota and a small yacht, both of which he had to sell to pay bills a few years later. Did you spend wildly when you first made it big? or were you more conservative with that first big payday

MikeHartman10014 karma

I was very conservative and I didn't play for the money. I played for the love of the game.

Banana_splitz5 karma

Hey Mike, huge Rangers fan here.. Never forget reading about what a nut Keenan was coaching the 94 team.. Smashing sticks over crossbars in practice, leaving Kovalev out for 5 minutes shifts.. Was the story in the book on the 94 team accurate about Iron Mike calling for Mike Gartman to take a shift and neither you or Gartner knowing who he was talking to?

Also how would you describe the feeling of winning a cup?

MikeHartman1009 karma

That story is 100% accurate. He told me that life isn't fair. I was a small piece to a big puzzle, but its somthing I will never forget.

Banana_splitz7 karma

Follow up question..

How did it feel to find out your name would be engraved on the cup after originally being left off due to not meeting the requirements?

MikeHartman10014 karma

It made me cry, because I had the team go to bat for me.

EpicTaco99015 karma

Everybody says that goalies are crazy, do you have any experiences with this?

MikeHartman10011 karma

Some goalies are just different. You have to be different to stand there and get pucks shot at you!

youraveragewhitebro4 karma

Do you still skate during your free time?

MikeHartman10010 karma

Not as much as I used to.

waffles4 karma

Did you play any hockey video games when you were in the NHL? And if so, how did it feel to see yourself in the game?

MikeHartman1008 karma

I played myself on NHL 93, but technology has changed today and the games are a lot more fun.

Penman23104 karma

Did you have to get another job/career once you were finished in the show?

MikeHartman1007 karma

Yes. I do life coaching and I sell promotional products.

nkronck4 karma

How did you mentally and physically handle all the bruises, fights, hits you took? Obviously racking up those penalty minutes has to do some wear and tear on the body! (Thanks for stopping by!)

MikeHartman1006 karma

I work out 6 days a week and I feel great.

ohyouknowhangingout4 karma

Hockey is my favorite sport to watch in-person and (in my opinion) a mediocre sport to watch on TV. What more do you think the sport can do to get people in the stands to realize how beautiful of a game hockey is to watch live?

MikeHartman1007 karma

You are 100% right, but unfortunately they tried to do a red light puck years ago, and it never worked.

The7404 karma


MikeHartman1005 karma

It was a really fun going into new organizations because you get a fresh start.

lancerevo983 karma

Hey Mr. Hartman!

I am a fan of the St. Louis Blues, and today a massive fan favorite player, Vladimir Sobotka, left to the KHL instead of completing negotiations as an RFA. Understandably, this left many fans questioning his motivations i.e. money or a cup as well as upsetting many.

My question is, if you were his teammate as this happened, how would you feel? I will gladly accept any other opinions you have, because I am sure you have a great perspective having been present during the intro of former soviet players to the NHL. Thanks for doing this!

MikeHartman1007 karma

I played the first year with Alec Mogilny in 1989 and sometimes player want to come over here a handful of years and go back to Russia. That's why the NHL is the best league in the world, the pick players from everywhere.

preggit3 karma

Hey Mike!

Big Sabres fan here. When you were traded to the Jets you were part of a larger deal. Did you find it easier to mesh with your new team since you went there with some existing teammates compared to when Tampa Bay selected you in the expansion draft?

Additionally, what was it like joining a team its very first year of existence?

MikeHartman1007 karma

It was joining Tampa because I knew 5 of the players already. The city was really excited in Tampa Bay.

youraveragewhitebro2 karma

Coke or Pepsi?

MikeHartman1007 karma


Hoky_122 karma

Who was your least favorite opponent to play against?

MikeHartman1005 karma


dan_cody_2 karma

Of all the cities you played for, which one did you like the most?

Did you have a favorite team to play against?

MikeHartman1008 karma

I liked playing in Buffalo because it was a simple life. New York was very high paced, but I loved playing on an original 6 team. Boston Bruins.

dexter_cantalope2 karma

Mr. Hartman,

Depressed fan of all Buffalo teams here. Will the Sabres ever win the cup? What do you think of our acquisitions this offseason? How was your time in Buffalo? Thanks for doing an AmA! Would love to see more NHLers on reddit!

MikeHartman1005 karma

Buffalo is my favorite place I played, and I would love to see a Stanley Cup in buffalo, and you are going to have to wait for the season to start to see if the acquisition were good.

mtolley272 karma

Who were the funniest guys that you played with? i.e. best chirps, kept the locker room laughing, etc. Thanks!

MikeHartman1006 karma

Mark Bergebin and Joe Reekie

curias002 karma

What's your favorite hockey movie of all time?

MikeHartman1003 karma

I don't have a favorite hockey movie, but my favorite baseball movie was the Rookie.