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Goal Line Report

An E-mail Interview with Elliotte Friedman of HNIC

This man needs no introduction.

Our fearless leader links to him every single week and probably every hockey fan has gotten used to seeing his mug on CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada every single Saturday night.

With that in mind, it was an absolute honor and pleasure to do an e-mail interview with Elliotte Friedman:

PH: How did you get into hockey?
EF: I’m Canadian. Don’t know if there’s another way to answer that question.

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player?
EF: Initially, I liked the Maple Leafs. But when I was 10, my dad took me to a game at the Gardens against Chicago. It was a 2-2 tie, and after the game, several Blackhawks signed autographs for me. Reg Kerr, Tom Lysiak, Bob Murray, Doug Wilson. That made me a Blackhawk fan for life. Tough to admit that on a website full of Blackhawk fans.

My favourite players were Guy Lafleur, Borje Salming, Bob Clarke (loved the missing teeth) and Bob Gainey.

PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to cover hockey for a living?
EF: Very young. Well, I realized I wasn’t going to play at that level. So, reporting or commentating was my dream. I was one of those kids who
turned down the sound to “broadcast” the games at home. No wonder my family can’t stand me. I do miss covering some other sports like baseball and basketball, but it’s not as if I’m complaining.

PH: Prior to working at CBC, what outlets did you cover hockey for?
EF: FAN 590 radio in Toronto was my big break in 1994. In 1997, moved to The Score. Went to HNIC in October 2003.

PH: How did you get your current gig at CBC/CBC.ca? What are your primary responsibilities?
EF: Scott Russell left HNIC after the 2003 Stanley Cup Final between New Jersey and Anaheim.

So, there was an opening. A few months later, a CBC producer called to ask if I would be interested. He wasn’t offering me the job, but asking if I would apply.

So I did. There were two separate interviews, and I almost blew the first one. There was a human resources person who asked if I had a temper. I said, “Yes, but it’s usually directed at myself.” Let me give all of you some advice: if an HR person asks if you have a temper, say no.

Anyway, I was in Detroit the day Curtis Joseph first reported to the Red Wings when Joel Darling, then the executive producer, called to tell me I got the job. I was in the passenger seat of a van (our cameraman was driving) and almost caused him to drive off the road I was so excited.

As for responsibilities: they’ve changed a little this year. I’m not working as many games—instead spending more time in the studio. There’s the idesk between periods and the Hotstove. For the website, I write the 30 Thoughts on Mondays.

PH: You obviously have a big following on Twitter. How do you think Twitter has changed the landscape of hockey coverage on the Internet? Do you see it growing any further?
EF: I love twitter. And it hasn’t only changed hockey—it’s changed everything. You need it to follow players and other reporters. There are agents and executives who have accounts (but don’t tweet) to keep track of everything. It’s great for linking stories, like a wire service.

If you don’t use it, you’re not doing your job properly.

PH: Now for some actual hockey talk, what are some of your thoughts regarding what has happened so far on the ice this season? What has impressed you? What has disappointed you?
EF: Too early. The best part of the hockey year is the start of the season and the start of the playoffs. So, it’s exciting now. But, it’s too early to draw conclusions.

PH: If you had a crystal ball, who do you think could end up winning the Cup this season? Why?
EF: My Eastern Conference picks are Pittsburgh, then Washington. My Western teams are Vancouver, than Detroit. But, the Penguins are my choice right now, because I think their players gained so much confidence from how well they played after both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin went down
last season. They finished strong, and probably should have beaten Tampa. They realize how good they were, and how good they can be once both are back. Confidence is critical in this game.

PH: Any other thoughts you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
EF: I love the blog. Check it several times a day. Keep up the great work.

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: cbc, elliotte+friedman, hockey+night+in+canada

Comments

Nathan's avatar

Love this… seems like he’s hitting the web hard with these interviews. It’s really great—I know the gap is narrowing and people from “traditional” and “untraditional” forms of media are getting closer, but Friedman seems to really be the perfect guy with the perfect outlook to help bridge the gap even more.

In general, he just seems like one of the “good guys” out there. I can’t really say I’m a “fan” of any hockey media the way I am of my team and the game itself, but Friedman is one of the only media types (that isn’t a former player) I’d definitely approach and love to chat with for a minute if the opportunity presented itself.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 10/12/11 at 10:27 AM ET

Nate A's avatar

Posted by Nathan

Agreed. Friendman’s work is always topnotch and often covers a slightly different angle than you can get from any other media. He gets those interesting stories and bits of info that don’t quite make the big news but still needs to have insider contacts to access. Good stuff.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 10/12/11 at 11:50 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

That made me a Blackhawk fan for life. Tough to admit that on a website full of Blackhawk fans.

Hey, Patrick, nice interview. But was the above a typo, or did Elliotte misspeak? I think what he meant to say was “...a website full of Red Wings fans.”

Let me give all of you some advice: if an HR person asks if you have a temper, say no.

And never, ever tell the HR person their company’s Web site is terrible until you know for certain she isn’t the one responsible for its creation. smile

I love twitter. And it hasn’t only changed hockey—it’s changed everything.

Personally, I hate Twitter and everything it represents (like the distilation of all thought into a convenient little 140-character blurb). But I can see how it can be a useful tool for sports writers and sports fans. So I guess it has at least impacted hockey in a positive way.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 10/12/11 at 11:51 AM ET

Avatar

Personally, I hate Twitter and everything it represents (like the distilation of all thought into a convenient little 140-character blurb). But I can see how it can be a useful tool for sports writers and sports fans. So I guess it has at least impacted hockey in a positive way.

Posted by OlderThanChelios on 10/12/11 at 10:51 AM ET

Twitter’s pretty awesome because of the ease of communication between one person and another. I think it was colby Armstrong’s brother who was able to shoot down rumors of his death with “I’m not dead, I’m in Canada”

And like you said, it makes for a great journalism tool.

That said, if I never see another hashtag, it will be too soon.

Posted by steviesteve on 10/12/11 at 01:32 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

“I’m not dead, I’m in Canada”

And, of course, the obligatory American response to that would have to be: “How can you tell the difference?”  smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 10/12/11 at 03:21 PM ET

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About Goal Line Report

Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.