Well this interview was prepared for Polish readers. However, I did receive a few requests to put in on my website also in English. So here is it. My quick interview with Adrian Dater. I hope you’ll like it.
P.S. If my questions written in English lacks some grammar – I’m sorry. I’m trying to do my best. Thank you for your understanding 🙂
You are one of few (three I think) US native journalists who are able to attend NHL Bubble gaes. Can you tell polish readers what do you think about bubble organization? Has the league rose to the occasion?
I think the league has done not a good job, but a great job with this whole thing. It’s all be very organized and we’ve had zero positive tests so far in the bubble. That’s pretty amazing.
How weird is to watch NHL hockey from the arena without fans in the stands?
What do you think about this years Play-Offs format? Would qualifiers for teams seeded 9-12 and best-of-five play in series stay with us in the future?
It’ll go away. That’s too many teams, too long of a tournament. This is a one-time deal, in highly unusual circumstances. But eight teams is enough.
For you it’s 25th season as a writer and journalist with Colorado Avalanche. Have you ever imagined that your life will go this way?
It’s weird, I think I tend to foreshadow a lot of my life. Although I had no clue how to do it, I always kind of had this weird vision that I’d end up in a big city as a sports writer. Again, I had no plan, no clue. But I remember having visions about it that all turned out to look just like those thoughts.
What is your best and worst memory with this job? Would you change something?
I think the best has been the people I’ve gotten to know, along with the experiences of covering a pro hockey team. That sounds boring, but at the end of the day, it’s about the people you meet and the things you experienced.
The worst? Well, I kind of effed up my whole life nearly six years ago. I had some anxiety issues, which I treated with a lot of bad stuff like alcohol and sleeping pills and nonstop worry and overwork. I went through a personal hell, but with the help of a lot of people, my wife most especially, I was able to get through it and come out the other side a better person for it. Teaching kids in a tough public school for over a year was a byproduct of that, and now I wouldn’t trade that for anything – even though I’m better off doing what I do best, I think, which is write about toothless guys pushing a piece of rubber around.
Let’s talk about Avalanche previous Golden Era. You were close to the team. What was your relationship with then Avs players? Forsberg, Roy, Sakic, Hejduk and others?
I’m the closest to Sakic, for obvious reasons, He’s a tremendous guy, and I’d use the word „friend” now, even though the rule is you’re not supposed to get too close to the people you cover, which is mostly all hogwash. I always have a warm greeting with Forsberg when I see him, but it’s tough to get too close to him. Same with Roy. I’m not sure Roy ever liked me all that much, but I think he at least respected me and I always loved being around him, even when he was biting my head off.
If some player could say: „Adrian Dater is a pain in my ass”, who would it be and why?
Oh, for sure that’s been said and probably still will. I can be a tough critic of the team, though I try not to be mean about it. I can be a bit full of myself still at times and kind of impatient, but I’m not as bad on both fronts as I used to be. I sometimes ask bad, boring questions too.
If some player could say: „Adrian Dater is my friend”, who would it be and why?
I think players ultimately think that I’m fair with them. I don’t write any off-ice bullcrap that I might hear about or see. Players can trust me if they tell me something in confidence.
Have you had moments of hesitation? I mean, have you woke up one day and thought: screw it, I won’t do it anymore?
Oh yeah, for sure. That was part of my whole anxiety thing a few years ago. I think I got a bit lost in my head and started to get into bad habits to escape. I think I appreciate things more now – though, really, I’ve never had the problem of being ungrateful for doing this. I just have my priorities in better order now. I’m not perfect – no one is. I still have moments of self loathing, but they’re less frequent.
Have you had the opportunity to hold the Stanley Cup and celebrate with players?
I have held the Cup in my hands before and lifted it some, but never with a player, no.
About the NHL
Gary Bettman is not very popular among fans all over the world. What’s your personal opinion about him. Is he a right person in the right place?
I think he’s a great leader actually, a super smart guy and a much nicer guy than people realize or know.. I think he’s taken the NHL to heights it never had before, a lot because of him.
What’s the future of the League? Which NHL you preffer: high scoring frenzy 80’s, mid 90’s „frozen puck” or actual game? Which one is the best for fans?
I think the league is better than ever skill-wise and hockey-wise, etc. I am worried about this virus damaging its finances a lot. We need that vaccine. I like the game better now, though I do miss some of the rough stuff at times. I’m still a neanderthal in some ways when it comes to the physical part of hockey, but I’m glad we don’t have the staged fights anymore. I just don’t want hockey to turn into basketball, that’s all.