NHL Celebrity Fans: Wil Wheaton and Colin Ferguson Talk Hockey
Recently I was able to talk hockey with two actors, who coincidentally share more than a love of hockey.
Colin Ferguson, who is known for his role on SyFy's Eureka as Sheriff Jack Carter, and Wil Wheaton, who has a reoccurring role on the same show as Dr. Parrish. He is also known for his guest role on the Big Bang Theory, where he plays an evil version of himself.
Wil Wheaton has followed the Kings since the 1980's and regularly Tweets about them, while Colin Ferguson still roots for his hometown team, the Montreal Canadiens.
They have both been fans for a number of years now, but Colin Ferguson put it best in reference to how long he had been a fan. “Oh, a long time,” he replied chuckling.
The two answered nine questions about hockey for me, chronicled in the following slides:
How Long Have You Been a Fan of the NHL?
CF: “I wasn't as much of a fan when I lived in Montreal, because you just absorb the information by osmosis; you don't really have to hunt it out and be "fanny' about it," but I found when I moved to LA there was no info on it, so it sort of became almost a way to abate my homesickness.”
WW: “I went to my first game in the early 80s at the Forum. All I remember about it is that I saw the Triple Crown Line skate, there was a huge fight at center ice, and the Kings lost... but I was hooked almost immediately.”
What Is It about Hockey You Find so Entertaining?
WW: “It never slows down, it takes a little bit of effort to understand it, and every second of the game matters.”
CF: “I like that is is still a Blue Collar sport, even though they charge White Collar prices. The mentality hasn't changed. [I like] That there is a provision, the fights, for players to sort it out themselves for when the refs fail them. I love that an assist is worth as many points as a goal, it really speaks volumes about the sport, that the person who sets it up is as equally as important as the person who scores it.”
What First Drew You to Hockey?
CF: “I think the speed. To speak honestly you're young, it's the middle of winter and everything is frozen so you end up skating. You don't really think about it, in fact you would have made the conscious choice to not play hockey, to go against the stream.”
WW: “It was more exciting than any other professional sport we had here, and it seemed to fly below the radar a little bit. I was already a nerd, and felt like an outsider everywhere I went, so when I found this sport that most of the people I grew up around couldn't or wouldn't understand, it was like I'd found something that was created just for me. It was like I was finally allowed to watch a sport that was 'mine.'”
Have the Kings/Canadiens Always Been Your Favorite Team, or Was There Another?
WW: “There are other teams I've liked to watch because they're so damn good, like the 1989 Flames and the 1994 Canucks. My heart belongs to the Kings. If you cut me open, I'd bleed Purple and Gold.”
CF: “I gotta say, the Kings are growing on me, it's really nice to have a hometown team again. So I'm going to go East and West with the Kings and the Habs. The Canadiens were a birthright, the whole city loves the team, the whole city is about the team. It galvanizes you as a Montrealer.”
Have You Ever Played Hockey, Either on the Street or Ice?
CF: “We started a little league behind a church that let us use their parking lot, ironically it was empty on Sunday's. We did that for two or three years, it became sort of a thing where we had so many people, we actually had to tell people 'You can't come because we were having too many people show up.'”
WW: “As soon as I could put on skates and not fall down, I wanted to play ice hockey. I was 16 when I started playing, and I played until I was in my early 20s. I was a goalie. I turn 40 this July, and I'm spending the first half of the year getting back into shape so I can join a 40 and over league here in LA and start playing again.”
What Is Your Favorite Hockey Memory?
WW: “I played with a celebrity-traveling team when I was 18, and we had a game in the old Boston Garden. Getting to stand on that ice and look into the rafters at their banners while the sold out arena cheered for all of us was magical.”
CF: “The street hockey here in LA. I've been to Stanley Cup Finals and all that stuff, but I derive most pleasure from playing the sport. It was so great to introduce it to so many people down here.”
Which Team Do You Dislike the Most?
CF: “I know there is a Canadiens/Leafs rivalry-hatred thing going on but to be honest, I just feel bad for the Leafs.”
WW: “The Ducks. I hate everything about that team, except for Bobby Ryan, who is a phenomenal player.”
If You Could Watch Your Favorite Team Play Anyone for the Cup, Who Would It Be?
WW: “This year, it would have to be a team they could beat,” in regards to his Kings.
Unfortunately, the teams Wil Wheaton suggested were knocked out in the second round. The Kings still have a good chance to go all the way this year.
CF: “I was going to say Habs/Kings. But if I was to choose someone to vanquish for the Cup, I'd put the Habs against them. I'll go Detroit just because they are such a dynasty.”
What Is It Like Being a Celebrity at a Game?
CF: “Most people are there to see the game, so you are not a celebrity at all. You're somebody watching a game. You're attending an event as a fan which is a great experience as most fans know. There are always some people who recognize you, and that’s always very flattering, you take a picture and do what you do.”
WW: “I'm not sure; you'd have to ask one.”