Jets captain Andrew Ladd may be a new Winnipegger but he's like the rest of us because he can't wait for the puck to drop.
"When I played in Chicago, I couldn't wait to get out on the ice to hear the crowd and feel them and their passion," said Ladd, from his home in B.C. and fresh off a workout and skate. "There's a rush of adrenaline that you get in a full building that can't be replicated. It's great to know we're gonna have that every night all season. All the players, we're looking forward to seeing what Winnipeg has in store for us."
Ladd has had a busy summer, getting married, moving his professional life from Atlanta to Winnipeg and taking part in the resurgence of the NHL in our town. He's made one visit to Winnipeg and came away with this first impression.
"Winnipeg to me seems like a small town with good people that are crazy about their hockey," said Ladd. "I have a sense of how down to earth people are there and me and my wife are looking forward to being a part of that, being part of Winnipeg that lost a team. When you lose something and you get it back, you appreciate it all that more. We as players, we're not sure what we're in for but we're excited about it."
Ladd gave the Free Press an interview on Thursday afternoon.
Here are 12 questions we asked him:
How did you become a hockey player?
"I just remember one Christmas, me and my brother Mike got a whole bunch of gear. After that we were just hooked. Mike became a goalie so I always had someone to shoot on."
There's been talk that some of your teammates already want to be traded and aren't excited about the prospect of playing in Winnipeg. Any thoughts?
"I haven't heard that, but if there are guys that don't want to be in Winnipeg then we don't want them anyway. We want people that want to be part of a good hockey organization that's going to create a winning culture. From everyone I've talked to -- I haven't heard any of that."
Winnipeg is hockey mad right now. Will the environment help or hinder the team?
"That's what guys are excited about -- the excitement surrounding the team and how we are going to be treated as players by the fans and the organization. Personally, as a player, going into a season knowing you're going to have that pressure and that support in your own building, it's a good thing."
Which of your teammates do you like to sit with on the plane?
"I like to play cards on the plane and last year I sat with Chris Thorburn, Ron Hainsey and Dustin Byfuglien. We play Shnarples. Low stakes. It usually evens out."
Have you ever been to a poker game with Alex Rodriguez?
"No. But I'd like to watch one."
Can you cook, and if so what?
"I can make a mean fried egg sandwich but that's it. No skills."
If you could go see any concert in the world, what would it be and where would you choose to see it.
"U2 or Kenny Chesney in Central Park."
It's Sunday. Your wife is out shopping and there's no game or skate. What do you do?
"If it's winter I'm watching NFL and just hanging out."
If you were handed a power tool -- could you use it?
"I could use it but you might not recognize what I built or fixed."
What's your proudest on-ice moment?
"Both Stanley Cups were great moments."
What's your proudest off-ice moment?
"My marriage. My wedding. It was great to have all my family and friends there."
If you were stuck on a desert isle -- what three things would you want with you, human, animal or material?
"My wife. My boat. My cellphone because I can't go anywhere without it."