Saratoga Springs, NY Region
By Paul Post
Feb. 16, 2010
Editor’s Note: Pete Mahovlich won four Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens during a 17-year NHL playing career. The Ontario native now lives in Queensbury and is a scout for the Atlanta Thrashers. He’s currently in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics, representing Hockey Canada. This is the first of several installments about his experience at the Games.
Q. Have you ever been to an Olympics?
A. Back when I played, professionals weren’t allowed to take part in the Olympics so I never had that opportunity. This is my first Olympics. It’s quite special for me, especially having it right in our own country. It’s a great venue.
Q. Have you ever participated in any type of international competition?
A. In 1972, I played in an eight-game “Summit Series” against the Soviets. For me, the personal highlight was scoring a short¬handed goal in Game 2 in Toronto that led to a 4-1 win, after we got trounced 7-2 in the first game in Montreal. In 1976, I was in the Canada Cup with the Soviets, Czechs, Swedes, Finland, U.S. and Canada. It was quite an experience. Any time you have an opportunity to be on a world stage and represent your country it certainly is a great honor. Last year I was able to go to the World Championships in Halifax and Quebec City for Hockey Canada. It was great to be part of that function.
Q. How do you feel about having NHL players taking part in the Olympics?
A. I think it’s a great thing. I know logistically it can be a problem with the scheduling. But I think every four years they should set time aside to let these guys play because it’s selling the game of hockey on an international scale. We’ve got so many international players playing here in North America that we have to do that. Why not shorten the NHL season and make it a 60-game
season instead of 82 games in Olympic years? The unions, the players, the owners wouldn’t like it, but the end-all is it helps promote the game and what is that worth?
Q. What is your role for Hockey Canada at the Olympics?
A. I’ll be hosting a couple of gatherings, just glad-handing and saying hello to corporate people.
Q. In 1976, did you go to the Summer Olympics in Montreal?
A. I did not. We were away at the time and I was getting ready for the Canada Cup. I didn’t get to see the Olympics in Montreal. I was away getting ready for our own little tournament in the fall.
Q. What are you looking forward to most in Vancouver?
A. I just want to get to see some events, maybe a skating competition. I know I’m going to see a couple of hockey games. I’d like to go and see maybe a ski jumping event or an outdoor event of some sort. That would be pretty interesting. Just the pageantry of it all is going to be fun.
Q. Who’s going to win the gold medal in hockey?
A. You’ve got some really strong teams battling. The Russians are going to have a really great team. Team Canada will be there and you can’t discount Sweden or the United States. They (the U.S.) might be a little on the young side, but their goaltender Ryan Miller (Sabres) is a fabulous goaltender. They’re going to have a lot of speed up front and speed on the defense. So it’ll be an interesting to see how the younger players from the states compete against Canada and the Russians.
Questions and interview by Saratogian reporter Paul Post.