One-on-one with Worcester Sharks captain Mike Moore

Special thank you to Eric Lindquist and Mike Moore for this opportunity.  Enjoy.

Entering your fourth season with the Worcester Sharks and second consecutive season as team captain, how do you feel this year’s squad compares with past squads?
Not taking anything away from last year’s team, but this year, we have a group of guys like we had in my second season {2009-10}.  The guys are a close knit group and I could see it from the start when I came down from San Jose.  The guys are always going out together in groups, having fun together in a good way, and have each other’s backs.  There is a sense of camaraderie really present that wasn’t missing last year but is even stronger this year.  It’s good to come back and see that.

How did you first become interested in hockey?
Growing up in Canada, the winters were long and cold.  My old man would flood the grass between the house and garage, and even though it wasn’t a big area, I learned to skate there.  Just like the classic story of the Staal brothers on their outside rink, it was the same deal with my brothers as my family was a hockey family.  We enjoyed getting out there and playing, and hockey was something on the TV all the time.  My younger brother Kris is a freshman at Western Michigan University and is one of three goalies on the team.

Was there a particular moment when you knew you wanted to be a professional hockey player?
You always dream as a kid to play in the NHL.  From the first days of playing on the pond outdoors, you dream of scoring the game winning goal to win the Stanley Cup.  Realistically, it was in increments.  After midgets, I played in juniors and from there, I wanted to play in the NCAA and get my schooling.  Playing at Princeton, I realized it’s a tough road to play pro hockey and it takes hard work.  I played four years at Princeton while striving for my dream to come true.  My senior year at Princeton I realized I had an opportunity and there was a possibility of my dream coming true.  Eventually, my dream became a reality but like anything else, opportunities had to fall in place.

What did you enjoy most about playing for the Surrey Eagles of the British Columbia Hockey League {BCHL}?
Surrey was awesome.  We had great teams, a great owner, a great city and a great league.  We were treated really well and it was a fun place to play.  Anytime you get to graduate high school and play hockey with a part time job, it is a great gig.  I absolutely enjoyed it.

What attracted you to Princeton University and what was it like playing there?
Princeton has that aura like Harvard where it’s talked about and is one of those Ivy League schools. Playing there wasn’t in the picture while I was in high school. They sent me a letter when I was playing juniors and I followed back. They corresponded back and I sent them my hockey resume along with my grades and they seemed interested. My decision came down to Princeton and Vermont, where I could have possibly been Torrey Mitchell’s teammate. The more I thought about it, I realized I had an opportunity to play at the top ranked undergraduate school in North America and I’d be kicking myself if I didn’t take the opportunity. I knew the academics weren’t going to be easy and I was in for a hard four-years but I knew I wanted to complete my degree and see where it would take me after that. I took a deep breath and said, "Let’s do this," and dedicated myself to academics and hockey for four years.

As team captain your senior year {2007-08}, you led the Tigers to their first ECAC Championship in 10 years, an Ivy League Championship, an NCAA Tournament appearance and were named 2008 ECAC Hockey Defensive Defenseman of the Year. What do you remember most from that season?
That season was my funnest year of hockey. It’s tough to say what I remember most because there were so many good memories from that year and it parallels how close the Worcester team is this year. We were a close team that year and it had a lot to do with our success. Everyone makes an effort to keep in touch as we call each other often and see each other once a year at Princeton reunions. Anytime you’re an alumni of Princeton, you have strong connections as you feel like you have a bond with those guys.

I don’t know if Sharks fans are aware but you played your final two seasons {2006-08} at Princeton with Cam MacIntyre. What was it like playing with him in college and how has it been watching him develop in Worcester?
We fought each other in juniors. He played for the Cowichan Valley Capitals when I was in Surrey and we had a tilt at center ice. When I was at Princeton, I heard they were recruiting him and the coaches were talking about him in the dressing room. The coaches knew we fought each other and asked me in front of the team if I knew anything about him, and I said, "He has a great right hook" {Laughs}. MacIntyre is a great guy and a huge part why we won that year, which was his sophomore year. That was the last season he was healthy during his collegiate career as he suffered some challenging injuries during his junior and senior years and his first professional year. He’s had a rough road injury wise but he’s battled back and worked hard both on and off the ice. That’s the kind of guy he is as he never gives up. He is a good friend of mine and we're currently going green by riding our bikes to the DCU Center on practice days. It was a little wet today {Oct. 19} but we battled through it. "Bike Nation" as we say {Laughs}

Where did you come up with the nickname "The Pride of the Pacific Northwest" for MacIntyre when you did the player intros for the home opener last weekend?
I told all the guys to give me a wrestling name or something they wanted me to say when I introduced them. Cam was the only one who came up to me and gave me something. He’s from Sooke, B.C., located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

In addition to your time in classroom and on the ice, you were a volunteer firefighter while at Princeton. What was that experience like, and are there any similarities between firefighting and hockey?
Absolutely there are a lot of similarities but you never want to take anything away from something like firefighting or military combat as you always want to give respect to those elements. There are similarities with teamwork, cohesion, and structure but anything like firefighting or what the military does is a totally different element. I respect those guys as the cost can be severe.

Was hockey practice or firefighting more tiring?
We had hard hockey practices on the ice for sure. If you’re in a situation where firefighting is as difficult and tiring as hockey, it means you’re in a dangerous situation. I never experienced anything as tiring or as physically demanding as hockey practice at a fire scene. That’s not to say we didn’t see good action as we averaged 1-2 structure fires a year along with automobile accidents. There was always some action but it was always well coordinated with safety in place and no one was placed in situations where they had to work extremely hard. Hockey practice was always hard but that was a good thing.

You made your Worcester debut on April 11, 2008, at Portland and picked up 11 penalty minutes in that game. What was it like going straight from college hockey to professional hockey?
It was different for sure. It’s still hockey but the professional game is a lot of controlling composure and always wanting to make plays where the college style is more "get the puck in, get the puck out, and go to work." It was really fun, intense and is an interesting situation when you come in as you’re trying to show teammates, coaches, scouts and management that signed you that you want to contribute. There is a lot going through your head but you go out and play. I got my name on the score sheet with the penalty minutes, which was good and a good way to start my career {Laughs}.

What went through your mind when you signed with the Sharks organization in 2008?
I was extremely excited to be given the opportunity to continue to play hockey and possibly realize my dream of playing in the NHL. Like everybody that signs thier first contract, I was excited and nervous, wondering how it will go. Getting paid to play the game is incredible. To have someone tell you that they're going to pay you to play a game that you’ve played since you were a kid is a cool feeling.

What have you enjoyed most about playing in Worcester?
Just playing for the organization is incredible because you feel the whole organization does a good job on being on the same page and you still feel like you’re teammates with the guys in San Jose. You don’t feel separated as you text and call each other, and you always feel there is that chance you could be in San Jose.

You made your NHL debut during the 2010-11 season with San Jose and played in six games. What did it feel like when you took the ice for the first time?
Honestly, it was good. I had already played two full seasons in Worcester and felt like I could settle in, play and contribute. They weren’t throwing me into a situation I wasn’t ready for. I felt they had prepared me and given me the opportunity to succeed. I was able to come into the game with confidence, feeling like I belonged and was an NHL player. That feeling and sense of confidence was instilled.

What do you remember about scoring your first career NHL goal on November 17, 2010, against Peter Budaj, who was with the Colorado Avalanche at the time?
I remember the play.  I came around the net and tried to make a pass to Clowie and I think the puck bounced pass him and it wasn’t a great outlet pass but it wound up working for the best {laughs}.  Clowie took a drive down the wall, cut back away and just gave it to me.  I tried to walk to the middle but one of the Avalanche defenders brought his stick up and I figured I better get the shot off quick.  I walked to the middle and fired a quick snapper off.  The puck went right by Kevin Shattenkirk’s skate, who was screening Budaj on the play, and into the net.  His brother, Keith, who I played with at Princeton, texted me after the game and said, "You’ll have to thank my brother for screening the goalie on your first goal."  It was exciting and pretty cool.

Did you get to keep the puck?
San Jose does a trophy with your first puck. I was able to give them the puck but they haven’t made the trophy yet {laughs}. They are working on it. The puck is in the mail kind of thing {laughs}. Dany Heatley went and got the puck for me which was really nice of him.

How did your "Give Moore for the Holidays" toy drive to benefit local families come about?
My first year playing pro I asked the guys if they would be interested in buying a gift for a kid. Overwhelmingly, everyone said yes. I got our public relations guy to find out if he knew of any families that needed anything and Worcester Friendly Housing, an organization that helps families that are in need, connected us with the names of 20 kids who wouldn’t have had a Christmas otherwise. We were able to coordinate, and the team donated tickets and we had a get together after one of the games before Christmas.
Our public relations guy named the toy drive against my will as I didn’t want my name involved but Dustin Sproat, executive director and founder of "Hockey Players 4 Kids," put the name up on their website and there was no way to change it after that and the name has stuck {laughs}. It’s for a great cause so I’m not too worried about it {laughs}. It’s totally voluntary and overwhelmingly, everyone is happy to buy gifts for kids. I wouldn’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to do that. Just the fact that the kids get to come to a game and I get to meet them, and throw in goodies like Sharks shirts and introduce them to the team is well worth it when you see the smile it puts on their faces.

You are a two time recipient for the Worcester Sharks’ "Specialty Man of the Year" award for all your community work, which includes your toy drive, "Be a Leader" assemblies, "Reading is Cool" appearances, hospital visits and team community appearances. What do you enjoy the most about your community work?
The way I look at it, playing professional hockey gives you a great opportunity and being in Worcester, the city has been great supporting the team. One way you can give back and help out is by giving your time and I’m happy to do that. Any city that helps support the team, you can give something back to them as well. Way I look at it, I’m happy to do it as I have the time and opportunity, and am fortunate to be playing professional hockey for a living.

How emotional was it for you the night the Worcester Sharks honored the 10 year anniversary of the warehouse fire that claimed the lives of local firefighters known now as the "Worcester 6?" For those unaware, you helped the event take shape, and the special W6 jerseys were auctioned off and raised over $7,000 to benefit the Worcester Firefighters Scholarship Fund and the Shriners Hospital for Children Burn Unit in Boston.
There were a lot of people coming together on that. A lot of people wanted to recognize the horrible accident I heard about when I was a firefighter at Princeton. I read an interesting book about the accident when I came to Worcester that detailed the lives of the firefighter’s that passed away that night, which was a real sad day. I was more than happy to help recognize the contributions those men made by making donations. When you saw those families, there was a little bit of emotion as anytime you see children who are growing up without a father because he was doing his job, that always makes you thankful and grateful for their service and what they did.

Were you able to get one of the special edition bobbleheads with you wearing the W6 jersey? I tried to get one on eBay but got blown out by a bid. I was only able to get Derek Joslin’s from that season {2009-10} and its head keeps falling off.
Yes, I was able to get one of my bobbleheads. Joslin’s head was pretty big to begin with, so that was accurate, and his head falling off on his bobblehead means they have to make it a little bigger and more sturdy to support it {laughs}. Joslin is a good guy and we were roommates in Worcester. We still keep in touch and share some laughs by texting each other back-and-forth about the good old days in Worcester.

I read on the Princeton athletic site that you got your degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering {2008}. How did you become interested in that field?
I’ve always been really interested in mathematics and physics, both of which naturally went into engineering. I really enjoy when something is absolutely true or absolutely false. I enjoyed that subject {math} in school and was just fascinated how it could be used to explain things in physics and create things in engineering.

It was brought to my attention by Eric Lindquist that you are currently trying to get your Private Pilot's License.  How is that going?
I’ve completed the ground level and flew the aircraft solo, which is a big step and exciting for any pilot.  I still have several more things to complete before I can do my checkride and the practical test.  The process is something you don’t want to rush and I have to be confident in my abilities.  It's something I enjoy.

What is it about flying that you enjoy?
I love operating things. Anything you can operate that brings out engineering and physics together is awesome. Small planes are great. You get bounced around like a boat on water with waves but in a plane, you don’t see the waves coming as you can’t see them so it might not be for everyone.

How do you prepare physically for an entire season?
Preparing is a lot of hard work for the whole summer. You prepare all summer for training camp, only taking a couple of weekends off. The weeks are compact with you working hard as you want to have the best training camp possible. You prepare for training camp more than the actual season as your goal is to crack the NHL lineup. After training camp, then the season starts, which you haven’t thought about as training camp is the most stressful time of the year with people evaluating you and you don’t want to give anyone an opportunity to justify moving you. After the season is here, you take a deep breath and relax. You’re excited when the season starts because a weight is lifted off your shoulders, causing you to go out on the ice and enjoy yourself. That’s when you play the best.

Are you more nervous before a game or flying a plane?
Neither. There’s no nervousness for me before a game anymore as it’s great to play hockey. If anything, I’m of the mindset to "go out and enjoy this" because you begin to realize this isn’t going to happen forever. Before my first solo flight, I was a bit nervous rolling down the runway, thinking, "Wow! Am I really doing this?" Once the plane took off, I was like, "This is easy. I’ve done this a hundred times." There is no more nervousness in either of those.

What has been the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Probably from my father, who said, "You’re not always going to be given an opportunity but that’s what life is about. Keep working hard and do your best." It’s simple, not groundbreaking advice. Life will throw you curves and you won’t always get what you feel you deserve. All you can do is keep working hard and hopefully, it’ll work out. If not, go back and work harder.

Have you gotten a chance to check out your cyber character in EA Sports’ NHL 12 video game?
No I haven’t {laughs}. I’ve heard things but I’m afraid to ask how they rated me.

They rated you a 71 overall.
Wow! That’s better than I thought it would be {laughs}. Holy smokes, that generous of EA Sports {laughs more}. It’s still out of 100 right? {still laughing}

Only problem is the play-by-play announcers call you "Morrison" instead of "Moore."
Really? That’s weird. Maybe I've got to score a few more goals for it to be corrected {laughs}. I’m going to have to get on EA’s case about that {laughs}.

Will you ever get a twitter account again?
No, absolutely not {laughs}. It took me 45 minutes to send my first tweet and it’s just not for me. I couldn’t decide if my tweet was funny enough, intellectual enough or if it would offend anyone {laughs}. I’ll leave that to Couture and Burnzie as they’re much better at it than me {laughs}.

Mike Moore Quick Hits

Nickname....."Da Filmmaker"

Favorite Musician.....April Wine

Favorite movie....."The Bang Bang Club"

Favorite TV show....."The Colbert Report"

Favorite NHL Team growing up.....Calgary Flames

Favorite NHL road city.....Montreal

Favorite professional team {other than Sharks}.....Toronto Blue Jays

Favorite sport {other than hockey}.....Rugby

Favorite vacation spot.....Sicamous, British Columbia

Favorite book.....From Eternity to Here

Favorite food.....Soup and sandwich


Favorite holiday.....Christmas

Favorite magazine.....Time

Favorite saying....."Smoke alarms save lives"

Favorite board game.....Monopoly

Favorite pro athlete.....Roger Federer

Favorite NHL moment.....First goal

Hockey idol.....Rob Blake

First job.....Residential gas line installer

Hidden talent.....Juggling

San Jose restaurant.....Mizu Sushi

*Courtesy of Eric Lindquist*