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Kevin Weekes

Kevin Weekes

NHL Studio Analyst

Kevin Weekes and I first met back in 1991 in Kamloops BC, at the one of the best Bantam tournaments in the country (Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament), best known by its acronym KIBHIT…

Kevin Weekes

Ex NHL Player, Current NHL Analyst

Episode 22. Season 1. June.21 2020

At the time I was playing for the stacked Sherwood Park Flyers and more than halfway through the season we had not lost a game, but the Toronto Red Wings and Kevin Weekes were the talk of the tournament. 

The Toronto Red Wings traveled a long way to be there and we heard they were a powerhouse, but they also had a lightning quick BLACK goalie that drew much of the conversation.

Before the tournament even started, it seemed destined for us to meet in the final, and both teams lived up to the hype. Although I managed to get one past Kevin on a partial breakaway in the second period, it was not enough, and Toronto ended up besting us 4-3. Mr. Weekes and the Red Wings handed us our first loss of the season and they took the tournament title.

Given the current social climate and the BLM movement, this conversation with Kevin provided me the opportunity to revisit the KIBHIT tournament and my personal reaction at 14 years old to Kevin being black. Like many other players from the rural west, I had never competed against a black player to that point. A hockey rink was not a place where I was familiar with seeing people of color. 

My acknowledgment and curiosity were innocent and innocuous. Unfortunately for Kevin, that wasn’t always the case.

Kevin drew attention. 

The color of Kevin’s skin made him different – so did his athleticism in the net. He was damn good. 

People were always watching. Most were supporters, some were detractors, but Kevin knew from an early age that he was ALWAYS auditioning.

This conversation allowed me to contemplate the gravity of what it might have been like to be Kevin Weekes as a hockey player. His experience was unquestionably much different than mine. 

Not only did he play the most isolating position in the sport, but he was often the only black player in the locker room.

Years after KIBHIT, Kevin and I got drafted by the Florida Panthers where we became teammates and friends and I got to witness Kevin daily and he earned my respect and my admiration.

Kevin has earned respect throughout our great game from all levels of the sport. He is respected for is reverence and knowledge of the game. For is journeyman 11 year NHL career with 7 different teams and his pivotal contribution to the Carolina Hurricanes run to the 2002 Stanley Cup final. He is respected for being a trailblazer and the first black analyst in the history of the sport and his ability as a broadcaster to connect the fans to the person behind their favorite player. For his dedication and commitment to constantly improve and master his craft. And most importantly, Kevin is respected because he respects EVERYONE he meets. In my opinion Kevin Weekes has a Master’s Degree in what he calls, Human 101.
 
Given recent events surrounding our game and the events surrounding our country, Kevin has been a rational and experienced voice on the need for change within the game. He is campaigning for greater access, for greater inclusion, and for people of all colors and backgrounds to be welcomed and celebrated within the sport. 
 
Kevin says the NHL should be about putting the best people available in the room and I agree. 

And whether you are able to make it to the greatest league in the world, hockey should be a safe place for everyone who plays it at all levels.

Let us take a class in Human 101… please enjoy my conversation with Kevin Weekes.

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Stacy Roest

Stacy Roest

Assistant GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning

I try to find guests with unique stories and a depth of knowledge and experience. Stacy Roest checks all the boxes.

Stacy Roest

Ex NHL Player

Episode 21. Season 1. June.14 2020

When you have played, coached, been responsible for developing NHL ready prospects, worked as a GM at the pro level, and are raising a son who wants to be an NHL player, you have perspective and experience!

Our guest for episode 21 is Stacy Roest and he has done it all.

As an undersized junior talent, Roest played for the Medicine Hat Tigers, where he produced 3 consecutive 100 point campaigns. His offense was not rewarded by NHL scouts however and he was passed over in the Entry draft. But that didn’t stop him.

Stacy preserved though and was awarded an NHL deal by the Detroit Red Wings. Roest went on to play 3 seasons in the AHL with Adirondack where he developed his game and matured as a player. He led Adirondack with 92 points during the 97-98 season and was rewarded with roster spot on the big club the following year.

Roest went on to play 244 NHL games with the Wings and the Wild and then spent 9 seasons in Switzerland playing for Rapperwil-Jona.

Upon retirement, Roest joined the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2013-14 as Director of Player Development and the Asst. Coach of the Lightning’s affiliate Syracuse Crunch. Roest held these positions until 2019-20 when he was promoted to GM of the Crunch and the Asst. GM of the Lightning.

It is not often someone has experienced the game at such a high level from so many influential and developmental positions. I also respect that Stacy is supporting his son, Austin, an Everett Silvertip prospect, navigate his own journey.

I love his story and I love his philosophy as we both share a passion for the importance of mindset.

Stacey wears many hats and we are lucky to have him on the podcast!

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Bryan Mccabe

Bryan McCabe

+1100 NHL Games Played

Bryan and I first crossed paths after the Spokane Chiefs and the Medicine Hat Tigers made a blockbuster trade in 1992. The teams exchanged 5 players each and Caber became a teammate and a friend over the next 2.5 seasons.

Bryan McCabe

Ex NHL All Star

Episode 20. Season 1. June.06 2020

Caber was drafted 40th overall in 1993 by the New York Islanders and played his first game for the Isles in 1995. He was their captain two years later. McCabe ended up wearing the jersey of 6 NHL teams: Islanders, Canucks, Blackhawks, Maple Leafs, Panthers and Rangers.

Bryan McCabe was one of the leagues top defenseman in the 2000’s. His cumulative stats sit alongside names like Lidstrom, Zubov, Chara, and Niedermayer.

He was a two-time Canadian World Junior Gold medalist, NHL All-Star, Canadian Olympian, gold medal winner at the World Championships and captain of the Islanders and Panthers.

With over 1100 NHL games and now the Director of Player Development for the Florida Panthers McCabe brings a wealth of experience and perspective to the podcast.

McCabe is an open book. He is a father and a husband and man who cares about his players and his teammates. He even shares a story that brings him to tears.

If you are a Toronto Maple Leaf fan this episode is a must listen. Brian covers the joys and the perils of playing in Toronto and he would know. From being celebrated to being booed on every possession McCabe saw the best and worst of Leaf fans.

This interview is candid, raw and honest and one that you will enjoy.

Meet my friend and teammate… Bryan McCabe.

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Jared Bednar

Jared Bednar

Current NHL Head Coach
Colorado Avalanche

It was 1992 and I had just turned 16 years old. I joined the Spokane Chiefs for the last two games of their regular season in Victoria. I was the youngest on the team, didn’t know anyone and I walked nervously into the dressing room.

And that was when Jared Bednar walked over and introduced himself.

Jared Bednar

Current Head Coach of the Colorado Avalanche

Episode 19. Season 1. May.31 2020

Bedsy was 19 and he made me comfortable. He talked to me on the bus, invited me to play cards and hang out with the guys. He made me feel like I was welcomed and that I belonged.

Jared understood that he could make a difference.

Unfortunately, Jared got traded early into the next season. We never kept in touch and he probably never knew the impact he had on me.I never forgot him but I also never had the chance to thank him.

I got the opportunity in this episode.

If you are reading this, you know Jared Bednar is the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. You probably know he was nominated for the Jack Adams Award as the top coach in the NHL in 2018. You also might know he won a Kelley Cup in the ECHL and the Calder Cup in the AHL as a coach… 

…but you might not know what type of person Jared Bednar is.

In this episode of Up My Hockey you get to hear from Jared Bednar the player, the coach, AND the person.

Bedsy is one of the best people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting. He is approachable, relaxed, caring, warm and loves a good laugh – traits you might not automatically attribute to a NHL head coach of one the league’s top teams. 

I believe that is what makes him great. 

He embodies what is right about the new style of coaching in the NHL. He cares about his players because he understands they are people first. As he says in the interview “happy players are better players.” He wants his team to be happy.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

The NHL is a league about results and often coaches get caught focusing on the wins and losses. But when a coach like Bednar can place emphasis on the well being and growth of the people (players) first, often the results will take care of themselves.

I welcome you to get to know Jared Bednar.