Windsor - May 30, 2013 - One of the many reasons I love doing what I do, is that every once in a while I get the opportunity to meet and speak with a real hockey hero. Recently I had the privilege of interviewing one of the NHL’s winningest goaltenders of all time, who, as well as being one of my favourite players of all time, is one of the classiest individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Former NHL All Star goaltender Curtis Joseph was in Windsor May 11th to promote the Lowe’s Community Rink Reno program.
Joseph’s resume is very impressive indeed. He is fourth in all time wins with 454, and fifth all time in games played. He won a gold medal with Team Canada in the 2002 Olympic Games, and again in 2007 with Team Canada in the Spengler Cup. His NHL totals include 51 regular season shutouts, and 16 shutouts in 132 playoff appearances.
After signing hundreds of autographs for fans young and old, Cujo took the time to sit down with me for a one on one. In addition to thanking Cujo, I would like to extend my gratitude to Scott Sternberg of Jackson Events for arranging this interview.
TC: Cujo, how did you become involved in this project?
CJ: I was asked indirectly through Scott Sternberg to help Lowe’s with the Rink Reno program. It’s a great program, and it involves local rinks. I have three boys of my own, so I’m always in a hockey rink. It’s right up my alley, it’s a great chance to give back to the community in a way that is very Canadian.
TC: That leads to my next question, are your children active in sports?
CJ: Oh yeah. (smiles) My daughter played hockey for a couple of years, and my boys play competitive hockey. They really enjoy it.
TC: What is your best memory of your days in the NHL?
CJ: Oh, best memory…. I played 19 years (smiles), so there’s a lot of great memories. Honestly, my first game would be a memory, my first game playing with Team Canada, playoff game sevens - the games with the most pressure. And certainly the camaraderie, the dressing room, the humour, the guys, all of that stuff was tremendous.
TC: Where did you enjoy playing the most?
CJ: That’s very difficult, because each team was a different stage in my life. In St. Louis I was just a baby, just a kid, so I grew up in that organization. Then, playing in Canada for Edmonton, and then in Toronto at the height of my career was very exciting. Being a Toronto boy, that was very exciting also.
TC: Who was the toughest shooter you ever faced?
CJ: Well, that depended on the era, because guys like Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic, Jaromir Jagr, Al McInnis, Wayne Gretzky, these were all tremendous players. On any given night they could be the best player.
TC: Some pretty good names there!
CJ: (smiles) Yeah, some pretty good names.
TC: Did you have any superstitions or game day rituals?
CJ: Well, I had routines. And routines would lead to consistency, and when you weren’t playing well, you changed your routines. So, certainly I had a lot of routines that benefitted my schedule and how I played. So I guess superstitions and routines are very similar.
TC: Last night the Leafs forced a sixth game back in Toronto tomorrow night. How do you like their chances?
CJ: They’ve played so much better, gotten stronger as the series has gone on, and I do like their chances. If they play that same way, with all that passion and great goaltending there’s no reason why they can’t beat Boston.
TC: What do you think of James Reimer?
CJ: He’s a great goalie. I can see him getting stronger all the time, and I think with maturity he’ll definitely be an all star for years to come.
TC: What do you do these days?
CJ: Well, I have three boys that play hockey, so I do chase them around, I enjoy watching them grow and mature as young men. I also work for different companies like Lowe’s, and try to help them with their brands, and I enjoy that. People are happy to see you, and it’s a good way to reconnect with the community.
TC: Thank you very much, Cujo, I appreciate you sitting down with me for this!
CJ: (smiles) I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly, thanks!