24 QUESTIONS FOR #24
CH.com Puts Scott Walker on the Hot Seat
On July 18, Carolina acquired Scott Walker, Nashville's all-time leading scorer, in exchange for Josef Vasicek, adding another talented forward to an already prolific Hurricanes offense. The Cambridge, Ontario native is well-regarded for his leadership both on and off the ice, and has totaled 106 goals and 185 assists during an 11-year career in Vancouver and Nashville.
Walker was originally drafted by the Canucks in the fifth round (124th overall) of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, and was recognized by The Sporting News as one of the "Good Guys for 2004" based on his community involvement. Walker will don the #24 sweater for the 'Canes this year, and as training camp got underway, he agreed to sit down for a 24-question, "getting-to-know-you" session with CarolinaHurricanes.com.
|Scott Walker, right, has totaled 191 points over an 11-year NHL career. In July, he left Nashville as that franchise's all-time leading scorer.|
1. What is the biggest highlight of your hockey career?
It was my first game in the National Hockey League. It was '94-'95, the year of the shortened season. I played the whole year in the minors, then went home. Because of the lockout, the NHL played longer than we did that year, so their year went longer than ours did. I thought I was done for the season, but then they called, and I played the last 11 games of the NHL season for Vancouver. My first game was in the Coliseum - the old rink - against the Edmonton Oilers. I can remember everything - the first shift totalâ€¦ who I was lined up against.
It was a big thrill for a kid coming from a small town in Ontario, just thinking "I want to play in the NHL," progressing through the ranks and wondering when you hit a stumbling block, if you were ever going to make it. Then one day you're there, and it's an awesome feeling. I'll remember that for a long, long time.
2. What's the best thing about being a hockey player?
It's definitely the camaraderie of the team. Some of the best times you have as a hockey player aren't on the ice: the plane rides, the buses to and from the arena, as well as the hour before the game in the locker room and an hour after, where you're just sitting around - it's just the guys together.
3. What's the worst thing?
I haven't gotten to enjoy the Eastern Conference schedule yet, but I'm really looking forward to it. Out west, the worst thing is the travel. It's insane. Last year we played San Jose in the first round of the playoffs, and we had a five-hour flight before each game. That was really tough.
4. Who was your favorite team growing up?
I was right down the road from Toronto, so that was huge, but I grew up in the era of Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers and all their success. So I'd have to say them.
|Glendale Arena, in Phoenix, Arizona.|
5. Who was your favorite player?
When you're a kid, you watch all the big guys, even the goalies. But, at the time, Gretzky was going through his heyday and they won all the Cups, so as a young kid, he was who everyone watched.
6. What's your favorite NHL Arena?
For some reason, I've always enjoyed playing at Glendale Arena in Phoenix for some reason. Even now, the times I've traveled to the original six cities were a great experience and mean a lot to me, especially when they played in the old buildings.
7. What's your favorite NHL city?
I'm really excited about going to Toronto [less than an hour and a half from Cambridge]. Playing out west, I think I've only played there once or twice in my entire eight-year career. My family and grandparents are all there, and they don't get to see most the games, even on TV because of the time differences, so that's a big thrill.
8. What was the best change in the rules last season?
The shootout turned out to be more exciting and well-received by the players than we originally thought it would, and the fans loved it. Overall the referees did a good job maintaining their consistency throughout the year into the playoffs. It made the players more aware, and helped us stick to doing what's right. It made the game a lot faster and more exciting for fans to watch.
|In 2004, Walker was recognized as one of The Sporting News' "Good Guys," based on his community involvement.|
9. What's the best advice you have for young hockey players?
Go out, have fun and enjoy what you do, whatever it turns out to be. Even if you don't make it in professional hockey, some of your best friends will come from the time you spent playing the game when you were younger. I know that was the case for me. I have a lot of old friends that are still very good friends, and have become business associates as well.
10. If you weren't a hockey player, what would you be?
I think I'd like to be a school teacher - gym teacher would be good. I go to a lot of schools and do talks, and I really enjoy it. I think I'd stick to younger kids - not high school - but middle school or a little younger, because they really listen and you can affect change in more peoples lives at that age.
11. What are your favorite things to do when you're not playing hockey?
I enjoy playing golf, but mostly I like spending time with my wife Julie and our family. I have a 4-year-old son, Cooper, and a 2-year-old daughter, Anna. You don't really get too much time during the season, so I enjoy doing a lot of their things when I'm not at work.
12. What's been the most surprising thing about Raleigh since your arrival?
All the different highways! I've been lost more often than I would have liked to be so far. There are so many different highways here - on and off, inner and outer, so it's gotten a bit confusing. Raleigh is much bigger and more spread out than I thought it would be - I thought it would be all compacted together. It's been really great so far.
13. Who are your biggest role models?
Without a doubt, it's my mom and dad for their overwhelming support in life and for instilling their values in me. Hockey-wise, I'd say my dad as well, and I've also had some great coaches through my years in the minors, in Vancouver and in Nashville.
|Al Pacino, on the red carpet for Lost on the Beltline: The Scott Walker Story.|
14. If you could watch any one movie tonight, what would it be? Good Will Hunting
15. What's your favorite TV show? Prison Break - I'm a big fan of that one right now.
16. If you could pick an actor to play you in a movie, who would it be?
Aw, man! [Laughter] Well, I kind of like the way Al Pacino actsâ€¦he's really low-key. I'd have to say him, but we'd have to get him on skates and see.
17. If you walked into a karaoke club, what's the first song you sing?
Being that I spent a few years in Nashville, it'd probably have to be a country song - probably something from Toby Keith.
18. What is your favorite vacation spot?
My mother-in-law took us to a resort in Barbados for her 60th birthday. It's something I'll always remember - it was the nicest place I'd ever been.
19. What's the best thing to do on a first date?
I'd probably go with a nice dinner and then do something where you can chat. I don't think movies are a good first date - you don't get a chance to talk to each other.
20. What's your favorite car?
I've always liked the Shelby GT Mustang - the car named Eleanor that was in Gone in 60 Seconds. Every time I see that movie, it's the one car I would always love to see.
|Eleanor, the apple of Scott Walker's eye, as well as Nicolas Cage's in Gone in 60 Seconds.|
21. What are your favorite charities?
I've worked a lot with the American Red Cross as well as the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation. There are a lot of worthy charities that are all very good, but you have to narrow your focus and pick the ones that hit close to home for you, and do whatever you can for them.
There's also one back home that's very special to me, called So Kids Can Play. They donate money, facilities and equipment to underprivileged kids so they can play the game. I enjoy working with them, because I don't think it should only be the kids who can afford it that get to do things. It's a chance for all kids to have the opportunity to get out, try out the game, and see what we like to do. You never know who's going to be good at it.
22. If you had to eat one food every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Nachos and cheese.
23. What's the single-best technological invention of the last decade?
It's got to be the cell phone. You look back, and you wonder how you got through without it.
24. When your time on Earth has come and gone, how do you want to be remembered?
As a good husband, a good dad, a good teammate and friend.