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A Strange and Unnecessary Dance: The Hockey Interview | November


This is a straight up cut and paste job, except that I had to retype this whole thing because it was written back in the day when books were printed on paper. What's up with that?

I've been reading this excellent book about the 1980-81 Oilers for the past couple years (slow reader) and recently came across a great section that made me actually LOL. I can't believe things were exactly the same THIRTY years ago, and the hockey news industry as continued to chug along like there's no other way to handle the situation.

From Peter Gzowski's The Game of Our Lives:

"With broadcasters and the press, Fuhr showed a still more remarkable facet of his personality. He would answer question as if he had never learned the language of "the interview" - the ritual by which hockey players would phrase wordy and predictable answers to wordy and predictable questions. Fuhr answered what was asked of him, no less but certainly no more. Asked if he found NHL play much tougher than Junior A, he would not say, as the ceremony demanded, "Well they're faster here and they shoot harder and I'm playing against guys I used to read about and dreamed of playing against, but I just try to do my job one game at a time; and if I hang in there I think…" Instead he answered "No." Had it surprised him when Sather had shown so much faith in him? "No, not really." Well, did he like playing on the same team as Gretzky and the other young stars? "Sure" he would say and look quizzically at his interrogator, as if the question had not been serious. There was no arrogance in these exchanges; Fuhr simply talked the way he played goal - coolly and giving up no easy rebounds."

For some reason I had always assumed that guys were more open to journalists 30 years ago. Smoking cigarettes with them on the tarmac, sharing stories in front of them over a few too many rye at the hotel bar.

It seems, however, that reports have been asking the same questions forever. Questions whose responses I'm sure they could write without even having to go through the formality of the interview.

What a silly, wasteful little dance.