When I worked primarily out west for the late game on Hockey Night in Canada for many years one of my favourite segments was After Hours.
The feedback from the fans was overwhelmingly positive. Typically the fans liked the fact that either Scott Oake or Elliotte Friedman and I were able to relax our guests enough to really get a glimpse of their true personalities, which is not always easy to do when talking to athletes.
So with that in mind, I was very excited about my opportunity to be back on the segment this past weekend from Vancouver on Hockey Day in Canada.
One of my favourite players on the ice is Kevin Bieksa of the Vancouver Canucks and I've chatted with him occasionally over the years, but I freely admit I didn't know much about his personality until he was our guest on After Hours.
Wow, was I ever impressed!
If Kevin isn't the best guest we've ever had on the show, he certainly would rank at the very top of the list.
I knew sitting beside him early on that we were going to learn something about him that we didn't know already, plus Kevin also taught us about the game as well.
For instance, I asked him to explain what he looks for when he decides to leave his point position and pinch down in hopes of keeping the puck in the offensive zone.
Bieksa came across as a really thoughtful, bright and articulate person. He answered our questions as though he really wanted to be there, even poking fun at us when he felt the need.
I'm sure most people watching enjoyed seeing this side of Kevin because if we only judged him from his on-ice behaviour and demeanour, we could be lead to believe he's quite gruff.
As a training tool for the players in today's game they should be handed a copy of Kevin's interview so they can use it as the template for their own upcoming interviews if they would like to show their true personalities to the public.
So if you missed last week's After Hours, click here to watch one of the best interviews I've ever been a part of on HNIC.
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