An E-mail Interview with Brett Innis of Sirius-XM NHL Network Radio
If you're a crazy puckhead like ourselves, than you really need to go out there and get yourself a subscription to SiriusXM Radio.
For puckheads, SiriusXM's NHL Network Radio has everything that they need. The channel has great hockey shows with great hosts, guests, content, and everything and anything else that is hockey-related.
With that in mind, I'd like to present to you an e-mail interview I conducted with Brett Innis, who is one of the channel's producers/hosts. Innis was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, what's it's like working for SiriusXM's hockey channel, and his thoughts on the NHL's Canadian teams going into this season.
PH: Growing up, how did you get into hockey?
BI: I’m not going to lie when I say I was subliminally brainwashed as a kid. Hockey was always on in our household so as a toddler growing up I had no choice but to watch the Leafs and any other game that was on. There are pictures of me watching the ’93 Leafs cup run (Sorry Toronto) so I had a good start at an early age. Never complained though!
PH: Who were/are your favorite teams and players?
BI: My favourite players growing up were Brett Hull for obvious reasons, but also Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman. Even at a young age I couldn’t get over the ‘C’ on the jersey. Not only that, but both players led by example and were hoisting multiple Stanley Cups before I was even 10 years old. For those reasons I wear number 19.
Right now one of my favourite players is Joe Pavelski. He doesn’t get as much attention because of the East Coast Bias, but the guy can do everything. Scores 40 goals, can play in all areas of the ice, 7th round pick who started from the bottom only to represent his country at the Olympics, I could go on and on.
On defense it has to be Duncan Keith, the man is a machine and he plays with an edge too. I don’t know how he stayed out there for all those minutes when Chicago 4-manned it on the backend to win the cup in 2015, but the cup and the Conn Smythe were well deserved in my opinion.
PH: Being that this is the Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave and that it has a ton of hockey memorabilia, what is your favorite.most precious piece of hockey memorabilia that you have? How did you acquire it?
BI: My favourite piece of hockey memorabilia is a signed Johnny Bower puck from the last ever game at Maple Leaf Gardens. I acquired it at a signing by Johnny himself. Now if you’ve ever met Johnny or had the opportunity to be at one of his signings, it’s incredible. Despite his age, the man will stay until the whole line has their autographs and he’ll chat up every fan that he comes across. The man still does appearances to this day and his smile as well as his caring nature is infectious.
PH: At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to get involved in the hockey media?
BI: This one is tough because there were two points in my life where this happened. The first was when I was a kid around four or five watching SportsCentre. I wanted to be talking hockey and watching the highlights because that’s basically all I did even at a young age.
As I got older, I needed money so I started working on construction sites and doing marketing promotions for various brands. My father always said, “Do something you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Halfway through University I realized I wasn’t doing something I loved, and thus I made the switch to go into broadcasting. It was a bold move, one my parents were skeptic about, but they always believed in me and I thank them for that.
PH: Tell us about what it is like to work for NHL Network Radio.
BI: I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t fun, but it’s also challenging for all the right reasons. You are surrounded by incredible broadcasting talent like SteveKouleas, Boomer Gordon and Scott Laughlin. Picking their brains is like going through an unpublished hockey encyclopedia, not knowing what you are going to find and learn. It’s great working with those guys because they are humble and recognize that I was in the position they were in once.
PH: If you could, please give us one to two sentences for each Canadian NHL Team on what to expect from them this upcoming season.
- Calgary: It’s boom or bust with this team. They haven’t had a mainstay starter in net on their team since Mikka Kipprusoff and they hope that Mike Smith is the answer. We’ll see what he can do with that ridiculous D corps but I expect them back in the playoffs.
- Edmonton: Year three with McDavid will be interesting because he’s entering his second full season after missing time in his rookie year. The team is also coming off some playoff adversity which can be good for a young team. President’s Trophy pick.
- Vancouver: They’re the toughest team to read after the offseason because they added some veterans like Sam Gagner and Michael Del Zotto to go along with some young pieces. I’m high on Bo Horvat, I think he has the makings of a true no.1 Centre. Lots of question marks with this team but I feel they miss the playoffs again.
- Winnipeg: Please do something with all of that talent. I think Patrik Laine puts up the most goals this year and Mark Scheifele finishes in the top-15 in scoring this season. If Paul Maurice can’t get this group going early in the season though, I expect a coaching change.
- Montreal: I like the Jonathan Drouin trade even though they gave up Mikhail Sergachev. The Habs needed scoring and I think Drouin will provide that. Michel Therrien had a full offseason and has a fresh training camp to work with this team so I expect them to compete for the division title once again.
- Ottawa: Guy Boucher is my 2nd favourite coach next to Mike Babcock. No Toronto bias, I’m a Red Wings fan! I think the team stays the course and puts up close to 100 points again this season. Too bad they couldn’t bury in Game 7 of the ECF because I don’t think they’ll get back there.
- Toronto: I like the veteran additions, we’ll see how the kids adjust to the league adjusting to them. I think they’ll get off to a better start and land within the top 3 of the Atlantic. Depending on their matchups they could make an Eastern Conference Finals appearance.
PH: Is there anything else that you'd like to share with us crazy puckheads?
BI: I want to give a shout out to the American Hockey League. Not only have they made the competition extremely entertaining, but they’ve made hockey accessible to smaller markets. That’s what growing the game is all about!!
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.