by Patrick Hoffman on 04/08/11 at 10:00 AM ET
I’ve been lucky to conduct a lot of e-mail interviews during the course of my three seasons at Kukla’s Korner.
Today, I bring to you an e-mail interview with Shawn McKenzie, the son of the hockey insider Bob McKenzie and the brother of AHLer Mike McKenzie. It is a terrific honor to have now interviewed three of the four members of the great McKenzie hockey family.
Shawn was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, his involvement with The Fourth Period lifestyle hockey magazine and web site as well as his part in his father’s book.
PH: How did you get into hockey?
SM: If I didn’t like hockey I probably would have been traded for future considerations. Being born into my family it was less of a choice and more a way of life. When I was born, my Dad was Editor In Chief of The Hockey News and my older brother Mike was already playing. When the rest of your family is so passionate about something you want to be just like them. But let’s be honest hockey isn’t a hard thing to love. It’s such an amazing sport that I quickly became passionate too.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why
SM: When I was six, my Mom Cindy, my Brother and I went to Florida to meet up with my Dad who was covering the 1996 Stanley Cup final between Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers. We caught game four of the series at the Miami Arena. A six year old, a nine year old and a 5 foot 3 Mom taking cabs all over the place. Just one of the sacrifices you have to make to see some playoff hockey. It was game four with Colorado leading 3-0 in the series. It took three regulation periods and three overtime periods before Uwe Krupp scored and won the Cup for the Avalanche. I decided Colorado was my team. It might have been the jerseys or the fact that Krupp’s goal in the 1-0 win gave me my first chance to throw a plastic rat on the ice that I had bought in the hotel gift shop. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an Avalanche fan today but I will always have a soft spot for them.
I currently don’t have a favorite team. Every game I watch I will cheer for a team playing or just cheer for a close exciting game. There is no doubt though that Sidney Crosby is my favorite player. The things that guy can do with the puck and the way he thinks the game is scary good. You can just tell how much he loves the game and how much he wants to be the best and that’s exactly what the NHL needs.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be a hockey broadcaster/analyst?
SM: I had always been around the broadcasting side of hockey whether it was traveling with my Dad or listening to him do radio and make phone calls all day long in his office. The dude isn’t a quiet guy. Try watching a movie a room over with him yapping all day long. I guess the saying goes if you can’t beat him join him.
I always had a serious interest in sports media but the exact moment I decided I wanted to join them was probably the 2006 World Juniors in Vancouver. I spent two weeks there with my Dad. It was long days at the rink watching game after game but everyone seemed to be enjoying what they were doing no matter how long the day. I would be lying if I didn’t say there was some fun nights though, work hard play hard I guess. Watching my Dad work along with the rest of the TSN crew amazed and intrigued me. I just had an urge to learn more and probably asked about ten million questions each night. This was less than a year after I was told I could no longer play competitive hockey due to concussions. I figured if I couldn’t play the game I wanted to be involved in it in one way or another and broadcasting seemed like the perfect platform for that.
PH: We see that you are involved with The Fourth Period. What are you doing for them?
SM: Right now I am their official party attendee. Oh yeah, I also chip in with on-air work for their website doing interviews and covering events.
PH: How do you hope to be more involved with The Fourth Period?
SM: I just want to do as much work as possible and cover as many different events as I can. One of the great things about working for The Fourth Period is that one day you could be at a hockey game and the next you could be hanging out with musicians and the odd model, which isn’t a bad gig. The magazine is great because it is a hockey lifestyle magazine. It goes in depth into the lives of players and also pop culture related to hockey. Whether it’s checking out NHL’ers cars or fashion or talking to Georges St. Pierre about hockey and training the magazine covers some cool stuff you can’t find anywhere else.
PH: Are you involved with any other hockey outlets at this time?
SM: Currently it’s just The Fourth Period.
PH: How has hockey made your family closer?
SM: When Christmas vacations consist of World Junior Hockey in Sweden, Boston, Saskatoon and Vancouver and a family weekend is driving to upstate New York to watch my brother play it’s hard not to bond. Obviously my Dad and I love it and my Mom doesn’t really have much of a choice. Like I said before hockey is a huge part of my family’s life. The love we all share for the game brings us closer. Whether it’s watching games with the family or watching family play the game of hockey, it has brought my family closer in a big way. There have been a lot of ups and downs in both my brother’s and my hockey careers. Experiences like these can become about more than just the game, you learn life lessons from your parents. They teach you life lessons that will carry over into your everyday life.
PH: What was it like to have such an integral role in your father’s book? Is it tough to relive through that?
SM: Obviously you don’t like to relive any bad parts of your life but when it’s something that might help out other people then it’s good to talk about it. Concussions have become such a huge part of not only professional hockey but minor hockey as well. My story of being forced out of the game at a young age due to concussions is something that I’m sure a lot of young kids can relate to. It’s important for them to be able to relate to someone else’s story so I was more than happy to share my story for my Dad’s book.
PH: How are you able to support your brother, Mike, who is now playing in the ECHL/AHL?
SM: I try my best to get to as many games as I possibly can. I usually cheer for him to take penalties and the other team to score. Most ECHL and AHL arenas give out things like free Denny’s breakfast or free Wendy’s chili for power play goals. Ok, I am not that bad of a brother, although that did happen. Let’s just say Mike wasn’t too happy when I offered to take him for a post game chili. In all seriousness I love going and watching him play. I have seen a handful of his games both in the ECHL and the AHL. Knowing you have family in the crowd is always a little bit of extra motivation. I also usually throw a few choice words his way over text message before the game.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.