Last Updated: September 29, 2008 1:07 PM
Ken Wolff Minor Memories
Dan Cleary of the Detroit Red Wings. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)The 29-year-old forward became the first NHLer from Newfoundland and Labrador to inscribe his name on the Stanley Cup when his Detroit Red Wings won the top prize in 2007-2008. To celebrate, Cleary brought the Cup with him to his hometown in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, on Canada Day.
CBCSports.ca: How did you get into hockey?
Cleary: "I got into hockey when I was four years old. Like every other Canadian kid, I grew up playing street hockey and skating on frozen ponds or lakes. My dad made me my own outdoor rink, and it was awesome."
CBCSports.ca: What was the first game you can remember playing?
Cleary: "The first game I can remember playing was when I was eight years old. We had a game at 6:00 pm, and I was outside on my outdoor rink playing all day. I was always walking on rocks to retrieve pucks, and when I went to play the game, I couldn't stand up because I had no edge. My dad thought it was funny, but my coach didn't."
CBCSports.ca: Who was your funniest teammate?
Cleary: "I had a lot of funny teammates throughout the years. Very tough to pick just one guy, but there was one who would always make me and the guys around me laugh. He was always playing jokes on players and coaches. It was my rookie year in Chicago, and it was Doug Gilmour. He had a great sense of humour."
CBCSports.ca: Where was the most memorable tournament you ever played?
Cleary: "I was in peewee, and it was the Hostess Cup in P.E.I. We were an unknown team, and we went on to win the championship. I was fortunate to win MVP and top scorer, and this was the stepping stone for me to leave home two years later to go to Kingston, Ontario."
CBCSports.ca: Where was the worst arena you've ever played at?
Cleary: "It was the old Windsor Spitfires arena (the Windsor Arena). It was small and cold, and they had really bad fans behind our net."
CBCSports.ca: Where was the coldest game of hockey you ever played?
Cleary: "The coldest game I played was when I was younger and we played out on the ocean, where I grew up. Wind was blowing, as was lots of snow. My fingers and feet were completely frozen, but nobody went home. But we didn't play on the ocean again."
CBCSports.ca: Who was the most memorable hockey parent you ever met?
Cleary: "The most memorable hockey parents I ever met were my dad and mom. They were always at every tournament for me. Never told me how to play, but always wanted me to have fun".
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