by Patrick Hoffman on 09/29/09 at 09:30 AM ET
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but XM NHL Home Ice truly is one of the best hockey finds out there. The channel has terrific and experience hosts that provide all the hockey news, happenings, interviews and content known to man.
Yesterday, I was lucky to do an e-mail interview with one of its hosts, Terry Mercury. He was kind enough to talk about how he got into hockey, how he got himself into the industry and gave us his thoughts on the upcoming season.
Continue after the jump to learn more about Terry Mercury and learn why he was one of the best on XM NHL Home Ice.
PH: How did you first get into hockey?
TM: I got into hockey the same way most Canadian kids do….I got a pair of skates for my 4th Christmas….and was out learning to skate before the day was done. I grew up in the east end of Toronto….and in my neighbourhood if you didn’t play sports…especially hockey…you spent a lot of time alone! From there it was just a matter of time before I joined the local hockey league….and started playing organized hockey. It was love at first shot!
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team? How about your favorite player?
TM: Amazingly…my favorite team has always been the Montreal Canadiens…much to the frustation of my father. He still can’t figure out how he could have a son born and raised in Maple Leafs country…and have him turn out to love the Habs!! My favorite player growing up was Jean Beliveau….then as I got older…Larry Robinson. Right now it’s Jarome Iginla.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be involved in hockey?
TM: From the afternoon I played my first game in the Cedar Hill Hockey League at age 6…I was hooked on hockey. It’s never changed.
PH: How did you first get involved with the hockey media? What are some of the outlets you worked for?
TM: I started out in media at a company called CKO All-News radio in Toronto. I covered the Maple Leafs a bit…but mostly did news stories. I left to go to Cambridge, Ontario where I did everything…including local sports. From there I went to television in Kitchener, Ontario….where I was strictly a news reporter…before leaving to work for Rogers Television…where I was the color commentator for broadcasts of the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League for 6 years. Those were some of the best times I’ve had covering hockey…especially the 2002-2003 season…when the Rangers won the Memorial Cup as Major Junior “A” champions of Canada. That’s also were the guys from NHL Home Ice first saw me….and 2 years later I was working for XM Satellite Radio.
PH: How did you get involved with XM’s Home Ice Hockey Channel? Tell us about your various responsibilities and the shows you work for?
TM: I was hired to work for NHL Home Ice specifically. I co-host Ice Cap…the nightly look at action around the league….I’m the station’s Maple Leafs beat reporter…covering all home games…I also produce and record the Hockey Hall of Fame feature… and do Around the Rinks in 90 Seconds….a regular update on the day’s hockey happenings.
PH: What are you trying to bring hockey fans that listen to your channel/various shows?
TM: I can only speak for NHL HOME ICE. We know that hockey fans are some of the most exacting…detail-oriented fans in all of sports. That’s why we have to be sure we’re on top of what’s happening around hockey….and get it out to our subscribers as quickly as possible. Accuracy….in-depth accounts…and up-to-date information is our stock in trade for anything that happens in the NHL…or in hockey in general for that matter.
PH: What direction do you think XM Home Ice will go in over the next couple of years? Do you think your channel will explore any new media opportunities as it seems to be the way hockey content is going in.
TM: I think we will definitely branch out in our coverage of the hockey world. We recognize that while the NHL is the big fish….there are other fish in the hockey pond…and fans across North America want to hear about what’s happening in these other leagues. I think we’ll use just about any media developed to keep people informed…as proof I refer you to our NHL HOME ICE blog….and we’re well into using Facebook and Twitter.
PH: Now for some actual hockey talk: In your opinion, who are going to be the teams to watch this season? Any surprises? Any disappointments?
TM: In the East…You have to stick with the champs. Pittsburgh is going to have another outstanding hockey team….but keep an eye out for cross-state rival Philadelphia as well. If Ray Emery works out in goal…the Flyers are going to be a load. Boston was no fluke last season….the Bruins will be very good. Washington may the most exciting young team in the league…but they’re goaltending is still a big question mark. I think Toronto could surprise a lot of people. Everyone talks about how tough they’ve become…but the Maple Leafs have some talent…and with addition of Phil Kessel this could be a dark-horse playoff squad. I also think that if Buffalo stays healthy they could surprise some people.
In the West….San Jose will be San Jose all regular season….but they still have to show me they can handle the playoff pressure. Dany Heatley…and his attitude…is a big question mark there. Chicago has all kinds of potential…but I still think they’re on a learning curve. Close…but no cigar just yet. When you have the foundation players that Detroit has…you’re always in the hunt for a Stanley Cup. I think Minnesota will surprise people now that the shackles of Jacques Lemaire’s system have been taken off…and Vancouver and Calgary should be right there at playoff time as well. Anaheim could be in trouble. They lost Chris Pronger… and I’m not sure how much gas is left in the tanks of Teemu Selanne…Scott Niedermayer and Saku Koivu. Getzlaf and Perry alone aren’t enough in the tough West.
PH: Look into your crystal ball: If you had to pick the 2010 Stanley Cup winner right now, who would you pick? Why?
TM: Right now…with all teams healthy and everyone playing to their ability…I’d go with Philadelphia in the East…and San Jose in the West. The Stanley Cup winner? Philly in six games.
PH: Any words of wisdom for our readers here at Kukla’s Korner?
TM: It’s the greatest game on earth….despite the many attempts by various morons to kill it. The Stanley Cup is the toughest trophy in pro sports to win…and the people who play the game have become so international and diverse..it’s absolutely amazing to see. I have to repeat that Kukla’s Korner is one of the best hockey blogs out there for my money… and the growth of hockey blogs is testament to hockey’s continuing popularity. Is hockey perfect? NO! But a game played properly between two good teams can be a breathtaking sight. The speed….physicality…skill and endurance needed can lead to some incredibly entertaining play. I count myself very lucky to be doing this for a living.
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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 email@example.com.