International Ice Hockey Federation

Ferraro speaks: Part Two

Ferraro speaks: Part Two

Worlds, Kevin Dineen, and Cammi Granato

Published 01.01.2014 13:09 GMT+1 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Ferraro speaks: Part Two
Ray Ferraro is focused during a Team Canada game at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. Photo: Mika Kylmäniemi / HHOF-IIHF Images
In Part Two of our interview with TSN's Ray Ferraro, the former NHL star discusses his World Championship memories, Kevin Dineen's new coaching gig, and more.

Click here to read Part One.

What are your memories from playing at three Worlds, including winning silver medals in 1989 and 1996?

In 1989, it was at the new Globen Arena in Stockholm, a beautiful rink. And we had an incredible team. The Oilers had lost in the first round, so we ended up with Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, and Grant Fuhr, three guys who weren’t often available. I’d scored 40 goals that year, and I was on the fourth line with John MacLean and Andrew McBain and Kirk Muller. We were kind of the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth forwards, and we all were coming off 40-goal seasons.

The team was really good. But we lost 5-3 to the Russians. What I remember is that their fourth line had these three kids. We were playing against them, and halfway through the period, we were like, “Who the hell are these guys? They’re unbelievable and they look like they’re 10.” It was Alexander Mogilny, Pavel Bure, and Sergei Fyodorov. It wasn’t like information was flowing back and forth. We didn’t know who they were. Just 18- or 19-year-old kids. That was an incredible team. The top end was Igor Larionov’s line.

In 1992, things didn’t go well for us. We finished out of contention. In 1996, in Vienna, we went to a shootout in the semi-finals against the Russians. Their first shooter scored, and our first four guys missed. I was the fifth shooter. As I was going on the ice, Marty Brodeur, who was our backup goalie, said: “I’m not sure if your move works against this goalie, Andrei Trefilov.” My move was, I’d fake to my forehand, go to my backhand, and either go between his legs or around his feet. But Trefilov would back up and spread into a V, taking away the bottom of the net. I remember going out to the blueline and thinking: “I don’t really have another move I’m comfortable with.” So I made that move and it worked, and then Yanic Perreault and Paul Kariya scored.

We got into the finals, and we lost with 19 seconds left to the Czechs. It was 4-2, but it was a 2-2 game with 19 seconds left. I would have loved to win for obvious reasons, but also, my hometown of Trail, BC has this connection to the 1961 Smoke Eaters [the last Canadian amateur team to win a World Championship]. I would have loved to have brought a gold medal back to sit alongside those guys.

What do you consider your career highlights?

Honestly, the highlight was all of it. I don’t remember ever wanting to do anything else.

I would have loved to win a Stanley Cup. I’d love to have the days back when I went to the rink and thought, “Man, this is hard,” or, “I feel cruddy tonight,” or, “I’m upset with the coach.” I wouldn’t want to have all them back, because I can look back and say, “You know what? I think I gave what I had.” I’m more than a little content with my effort.

Growing up, my dad got up every day at 5 a.m. to go to work. I’d hear his truck start right below my bedroom window. When I was in minor hockey, I’d have to start at 4. He’d come in through the side door of the arena, like one minute after 4, waiting for puck drop. I’d look at the side door and he’d always be there. If I’d worked any less than I did, I doubt I’d have gotten anywhere. I look at my career, and it was blue-collar, hard work. I found a way to produce. Everywhere I went, somebody said, “Too small, too slow.” It didn’t matter. I loved everything about playing in the NHL.

What do you think about your former Hartford Whaler teammate Kevin Dineen getting selected to coach Canada’s Olympic women’s team at this late stage?

He was an incredible teammate. You talk about a guy who would do anything to win, and Kevin was the guy. I know for a lot of people look at Kevin getting hired here and they say, “He’s never coached women’s hockey.” But since he retired as a player, Kevin’s been a career coach. He coached in the AHL for close to a decade before getting his job in Florida. From being married to [American women's hockey legend] Cammi [Granato] and watching her play and train, I know that of course there are differences between the women’s and men’s game. But at the core, today the game is about puck possession. It’s about playing with speed, as a team. Those are all things Kevin was good at as a player, and stresses as a coach.

Those girls will find out, if they haven’t already, that he’s an incredible person. They’ll like playing for him. To know Kevin is to like him. I think he’ll do a terrific job. It was an awkward and difficult spot to be dropped into. You can’t, I would assume, change too much of the philosophy 50 days out from the Olympics. He’ll probably tweak a few things. He might look at the game a little bit differently from his predecessor. But you can’t change everything.

What are you and Cammi planning to do during the Olympics?

Cammi was going to do the women’s colour commentary, as she has the last few years, but the Olympics are in Sochi and we have two small kids and it’s a three-week commitment when you count getting over and assimilated. It just wasn’t going to work for her as a mom. She wasn’t going to go for three weeks without the kids. She’s still very tightly connected to the girls on that team. There are still some left that she played with. What’s incredible is the girls who have reached out to her and said she was an inspiration to them. I’m really proud of her, and I think it makes her feel good.

She’s so humble. I’ve got to prompt her to put out her gold medal from the 1998 Olympics. Otherwise, she would have it somewhere hidden away. That’s the first Olympic gold medal ever awarded to a female hockey player. She was the team captain. I think that should be in a place of prominence. But that’s just not the way she is.

I’m not working either, so we’ll get a three-week break, which happens never. I think we’ll try to get somewhere sunny for a week, and then we’ll take the kids up to Whistler. They’ve never skied before, and we’re so close. I won’t ski because I’m awful. She will.

Finally, what advice would you give aspiring hockey broadcasters?

First, I would say define in your head what your style is going to be. You can’t get in a car with no destination and just drive. If that’s how you broadcast or do anything, how will you get to your destination if you don’t know what it’s supposed to look like? Realize that when you screw up, you’re never as bad as you think you sound, and you’re never as good as you think you sound. You’re going to make mistakes. With Twitter, people love to jump on you for them. They have the comfort of sitting on their couch, and they can rewind it on their 60-inch TV. You’re watching it live. Learn to have a little bit of gray area in what you do.

Second, be honest about what you see. Don’t cheer. I’m a Canadian, and I hope Canada always does well. But I don’t particularly care who wins. It’s not my job to care. My job is to call what I see. There will always be people who say, “Oh, you cheer for that NHL team,” while they’re watching because you make a comment that’s in opposition to their favourite team. I don’t have a favourite team. My name never goes on a Stanley Cup. I’ll never be awarded a gold medal. So the winners win and the losers lose. I’m supposed to broadcast. As a broadcaster, that’s the fairest way you can be.

Canada may make a play that’s not very sharp, and you have to say it, in my opinion. For instance, Jonathan Drouin is a wonderful player. In the first 10 seconds of the game against the Slovaks, he hits a kid in the head. He’s not trying to, but he does. And I have to talk about it. I can’t just say, “Oh, it’s a bad break.” It’s not. He hit him in the head. It doesn’t mean I hope Jonathan Drouin has a terrible day. He made a play that I have to talk about. I think if you’re not honest in your calls, people are far too savvy not to see through it. And then you just become a shill. I’ve never done anything like that in my life and I’m not going to start now.


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