Editor's Note: The full interview will be published in Ducks Digest, starting with the November 20 game vs. New Jersey at Honda Center. It will also be posted on AnaheimDucks.com after that date.
In his 18 years in the game, there isn’t much Scott Niedermayer hasn’t done. He’s the only player in hockey history to have won the Stanley Cup (four times), the Winter Olympic gold medal (2002 and 2010 with Canada), the IIHF World Championship (2004), the World Cup of Hockey (2004) and the World Junior title (Canada in 1991). Add to that five NHL All-Star appearances, the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 2004 and the undivided respect of teammates, opponents and fans (the honor Niedermayer himself values the most).
Niedermayer’s last championship of course came with the Ducks in ’07, when he led them to their first Stanley Cup title, collecting the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP along the way.
Now you can add one more accolade to the list, as tonight Niedermayer receives a well-deserved induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame tonight in Toronto. The Hall-of-Fame Induction Ceremony will air on NHL Network beginning at 4:30 p.m. PST
Just a few days before his induction, having just finished a practice in his role as an assistant coach with the Ducks, Niedermayer talked about that honor and reflected on his distinguished career in the game.
As a kid growing up in B.C. and playing this game, could you ever have foreseen that you’d someday be a Hall-of-Famer?
I don’t think I believe it yet [laughs], so I definitely wouldn’t have imagined that or even thought it was a possibility. It was the place that guys I grew up watching and idolizing belonged, not where I was headed. It’s a pretty special honor, and it’s probably going to hit me a fair bit more when I get there and start looking around, realizing what it’s all about. I grew up watching so many of these guys who are in the Hall of Fame, amazing players that I idolized. It's hard for me to believe I belong there. Those guys were my heroes, even guys I didn't see play like Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe. All of it's hard to fathom.
Have you worked on your speech much?
I’m trying [laughs]. I’m not a great story-teller. I’m not a guy who can weave a great tale. There are lots of people to thank, and that’s really what I’m trying to do. I’ve been pretty fortunate all the way from … geez … starting with my parents, the effort people put in for me, the things I learned from people. The situations I was in were always good for me. I never was in a rebuilding of a franchise or anything like that. I’ve been pretty lucky. You look at other guys and places and situations they get put into, and it can be tough. I never had too much of that, so I’ve been lucky.
Do you think you’ll be nervous?
Of course. I’m not a real talker or story-teller, like I said. Some people can get up there, and they’re so comfortable telling stories and making it sound entertaining, really capturing a crowd. I don’t think that was one of the skills or gifts I was given. I’m just going to go up there and do my best to show my appreciation for so many people. I’m sure I’ll do just fine, but I’m scrambling right now with papers all over the kitchen table and trying to make it sound good.
The amount you’ve won in your career is unmatched in hockey history. Is that legacy you’ve left in the game what means the most to you?
It goes back to how lucky I was to play with so many great teammates, unselfish guys, guys committed to do whatever it took to win. I guess I want them to think of me in the same light that I think of a lot of my teammates, and I’m satisfied with that. We had some success, but we had it because we had a lot of guys going out there and doing the right thing. Hopefully I was one of those guys.
You turned 40 last August 31. How has that been treating you?
Well, I haven’t gotten a real job yet. I haven’t grown up [laughs]. The thing is, when I don’t shave, I look about 50. So, 40 seems real young. So, it hasn’t been a problem.
When you look back on your career, are there any regrets?
I realize that I made a lot of mistakes, whether it was my attitude at different times or mistakes in big games. I remember early in my career we lost in overtime to Boston, and I got beat really bad and they scored. It was a pretty low moment, to sit there and know you’re responsible for a big loss like that. We could get a whole long list of stuff like that. But when you have time to get separated from it, because of that, you learn things. You learn about yourself. Without that stuff, you probably don’t get better. There are a lot of mistakes I could have corrected, but I learned lessons and become a better player and teammate because of them. So, there are no real regrets. Plenty of mistakes, but it all turned out alright.
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