Thin mints, #cawlidgehawkey, chicken parm, dangle-snipe-celly -- John Buccigross flexes a heavy hockey vocabulary, so it's no surprise he's a fan of the State of Hockey.
Minnesota Hockey Journal caught up with the ESPN "SportsCenter" anchor and college hockey TV broadcaster to talk hockey in Minnesota and beyond.
MHJ: What are your thoughts on community-based hockey and the system we have in place in Minnesota?
John Buccigross: I wish it was copied all over the country, in all 50 states. Hockey is a great enough game to be played and loved everywhere.
MHJ: From the perspective of an outsider that loves hockey, what is it that Minnesota is doing right to earn the status of the State of Hockey?
JB: The passion. It means more. Where there is interest and passion, in anything, there is talent.
MHJ: How are tiny towns in Minnesota able to produce college, NHL and Olympic talent (see: Warroad, Roseau, Spring Lake Park, Little Falls, etc.)?
JB: Because of what it means to the state. There is a goal, a realization that it is possible.
MHJ: Outdoor hockey. Are kids doing enough of it these days?
JB: Probably not. The more they play without coaches the more instinctual they will be.
MHJ: Why won't the NHL give Minnesota a Winter Classic?
JB: They got an outdoor game finally next year it looks like. It never made sense to me.
MHJ: Have you ever been to the Minnesota state high school tournament?
JB: I haven't been but it's on my bucket list.
MHJ: Would you ever consider doing the play-by-play for the state high school tournament?
MHJ: You're a certified USA Hockey coach. What's your favorite part about coaching?
JB: I love interacting with the kids. I'm the kind of person that sees everything and forgets nothing. I like pointing out small things the kids did well and telling them over and over again. They light up when you mention something they did well that even they didn't realize was a good play.
MHJ: Is the future bright for hockey in America?
JB: Yes. USA Hockey continues to produce high-end talent. It will only continue to grow.
MHJ: You do a lot for the game in terms of visibility. Why?
JB: It's a great game with great people. The values it teaches makes great people. I want people to see the light.
MHJ: When will the Wild win their first Stanley Cup?
MHJ: Your love of college hockey mirrors that of Minnesota's. What is it about the college game that you're so passionate about?
JB: The game is fast and fun. The players and coaches are so passionate and fun. They don't get the attention they deserve and I want to give it to them.
MHJ: How does hockey prepare young people for the real world?
JB: It teaches them commitment and accountability. Sacrifice, selflessness and love are all a part of the game at every level and from every portion of the experience -- parents, coaches, teammates. Hockey has the biggest heart in the room.
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