by Patrick Hoffman on 08/08/11 at 09:21 PM ET
When you’re a hockey player growing up in Canada, your dream is to make it into the National Hockey League and win a Stanley Cup.
While this person did not win a Stanley Cup, he was an NHL netminder for the better part of 12 seasons and has now established himself as one of the top analysts in the game.
The man I am talking about is Kevin Weekes. Weekes, who played for the Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, knew from a very early age that he wanted to be a professional hockey player.
“I knew right from when I was 6 years old that I wanted to be an NHL goalie,” Weekes said. “That was my goal. When you work hard enough and are fortunate enough to aspire to it, it can be very fulfilling.”
It was certainly fulfilling for Weekes, who had to overcome a few challenges to make his dream come true.
“I never took it for granted, that is for sure,” Weekes said. “There are only a few black goalies in NHL history so I took/take that responisbility quite seriously.”
For Weekes, there were several different moments that really stuck out in his mind when looking back at his career. The first one is something that New York Rangers’ fans should remember.
“I was in net at Madison Square Garden for Mark Messier’s first night back since joining the Canucks,” Weekes said. “We knew we had to win that game so we played our asses off and I ended up shutting them out!”
Something else that Weekes will always remember is the Carolina Hurricanes’ magical playoff run in 2002, when they lost in five games to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final. During that magical run, Weekes played in 8 games and went 3-2 with a 1.62 goals against averages, a .939 save percentage and 2 shutouts.
“At that time, everything started to make sense for me,” Weekes explained. “Why I trained so hard, why I didn’t go to certain schools, why I tried to bulk up and add muscles to my body and my brain, when I went on the ice with my goalie coach in Toronto every day for an hour with two shooters, why I ran hills and why I went to all of these minior hockey tournaments. It all made sense to me at that moment.
Weekes also said that it is what every hockey player dreams of.
“The Stanley Cup is what we play for,” Weekes said. “It is the little boy inside of you wanting to win that Cup.”
Of course, Weekes also always remembers what it was like to play in his hometown.
“Anytime I played against the Toronto Maple Leafs whether it was at home or on the road at the Air Canada Centre, it was an honor,” Weekes said. “I loved being able to play and see people in the stands that I used to see when I was an atom in minor hockey. I loved it.”
Unfortunately for Weekes, after the 2008-09 season with the New Jersey Devils, no one picked him up so Weekes got involved with another part of the game: broadcasting.
“If you look at other sports such as baseball and football, you see that catchers and quarterbacks make terrific analysts,” Weekes said. “It seemed like a natural fit being that I was a goaltender and in the middle of all the action.”
It may have been a natural position for Weekes, but it certainly did not come easy.
“It certainly took some getting used to since I never called or analyzed a game from the broadcast booth before,” Weekes said. Processing the game from that angle was an adjustment. I had been so used to being engaged on the battle field and now, I am observing the battlefield so it is a bit different for me.”
Two seasons later, Weekes is a very well-established analyst for both the NHL Network and the prestigious and religious Hockey Night in Canada.
“I have been a part of the NHL since I was drafted when I was 18 years old,” Weekes said. “It is an honor to represent the league on such a great platform that is growing, expanding and attracting more fans.”
On HNIC, Weekes is able to call games, something that is a bit different than the NHL Network.
“HNIC is different,” Weekes admitted. “For millions across Canada, it is a religion so I consider it an honor that I am working for them.”
Weekes has also done some work for MSG’s Hockey Night Live. He hopes that he will continue to grow that relationship and do more hockey for them.
Overall, as an analyst and broadcaster, Weekes is able to provide a unique perspective, especially since he is just two years fresh off the ice.
“Because I am always at different rinks, in contact with different players, management, agents and others in the industry, I am able to get a ton of valuable information,” Weekes said. “Going into a broadcast whether it is with the NHL Network or Hockey Night in Canada, I always have a lot of intel that proves to be extremely useful.”
As a whole, it is easy to say that Weekes is enjoying the hockey life.
“I would not trade it for anything!” Weekes exclaimed. “I love it!”
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.