A Sit Down with Adrian Dater
Thanks to the lovely social media world we live in today, I have been able to chat with some of the better hockey minds from around North America. I’d love to get into overseas discussions as well, but I won’ t be greedy.
One member of the main stream media who is truly respected by myself and my colleagues here with The Hockey Guys was kind enough to take some time from his day and answer a few questions I had prepared for him.
He is Adrian Dater of the Denver Post.
Considered a man who is not afraid to speak his mind, and if you follow his tweets (@adater) it does prove to be true. However, do not take that the wrong way. Adrian tells it how it is. He does not try to sugar coat things and there truly needs to be more like that.
Either way, I personally like that I get to follow Adrian and today I was granted permission by the man himself to get to pick his mind for this Q&A session.
I’d personally like to thank Adrian for taking the time to give me his thoughts on a few topics surrounding the Colorado Avalanche, the NHL and life in general.
We hope you enjoy the read and now, for the Q&A:
AC: Adrian, you have a respectful audience with the post and have even jumped on board with Versus giving your insight in columns. How do you enjoy the life of a “beat writer”, especially covering an organization like the Avs?
AD: Thanks for having me.
Starting at an early age, I think subconsciously I wanted to be a newspaper sports writer, and as the years went by it became more of a conscious desire. So I guess I enjoy the life of a beat writer. It’s been 15 years now, covering the Avalanche for The Denver Post. It beats my previous jobs, which included working at Kentucky Fried Chicken, selling timesharing, washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant and being a bill collector for a trash company.
The Avs are a very PR-conscious, slightly paranoid team when it comes to the media, so the job has had its frustrations too, and still does. And working in newspapers now in general can be stressful these days. And I’m a person who just is never all that happy with anything I do.
Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who thinks only about the things I HAVEN’T done, not the things I HAVE done. But I know that I’ve been fortunate to do what I do, and am grateful. Wish I could get that deeper into my skull though.
AC: Personally, I fear the (inevitable) lockout that is possible to happen after the 2011-12 season. Do you think the NHL can finally get it right and we can avoid what will be the destruction of the NHL by it having to go through yet another lockout season?
AD: God, I hope not. That lost year for the NHL was a very bad year for me and everyone else who makes a living with this crazy sport. It was not fun at all.
I don’t think there will be a lockout in 2012. The salary cap isn’t going away, and too many parties would just have too much money to lose to go through that again. Don Fehr is going to be the next NHLPA boss, so, yeah, that does worry me a little. He did lead the baseball union through three work stoppages, don’t forget. But I just have a hard time believing the players and owners would put the game, their livelihoods and the fans through another experience like that again.
AC: I understand, from a few tweets we shared early on during the NHL season, that you originally were not a hockey writer but a sports journalist. Can you elaborate a bit on how you got into the industry and what made you choose Hockey?
b) Why Colorado?
AD: I was considered a part-time worker in 1995, and kind of a general assignment reporter. I covered lots of different sports, but hockey (IHL and college) was part of my “beats” and then I got a lucky break, a tip from a person who shall remain forever anonymous but for whom I’ll be eternally grateful, that the owners of the Denver Nuggets were looking to buy the Quebec Nordiques and move them to Denver. I wrote the story, followed the reporting for another couple of months and then got another lucky scoop that the team indeed would move. The paper made me full time after that and it’s been that way since.
(on Colorado) I worked at a newspaper out of college, the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire, but got laid off in 1991. I decided to just move to Denver, kind of just on a wing and a prayer. Colorado just seemed like the place to me. It’s hard to explain really, though I did visit the state the year before and liked it. I just thought, “Why don’t I try to start a new life there.” I’m still here, so I must have liked it.
AC: With the emergence of the young stars in Colorado (i.e. Yip, Stewart, O’Reilly, Duchene), do you feel this team, as it is constructed, can provide a competitive season and be playoff bound for the next few years?
AD: I think so, although it doesn’t take much to go from being a playoff team to a non-playoff team in this league, does it? But the team is very young, and there are some good players as you mentioned. I think the defense needs to be much better going forward, and it’ll be a test this year to see how good a couple of their prospects in that area (Shattenkirk, Gaunce, Cohen) might be.
AC: Craig Anderson was a blessing in disguise when the Avalanche signed him last year as an unrestricted free agent. In your opinion, what is it about Andersons game that has helped him escape the role of a back up and propelled him into a number one position with the Avalanche?
AD: I think he started to show he could be a top guy the year before, in Florida. If you look at his numbers, they were pretty darn good. He just needed that chance to be No. 1. Colorado gave it to him, and the rest is history. I think he just worked his tail off, too, and never got discouraged along the way. That’s what it takes.
AC: Have you ever met Joe Sakic and had the pleasure to sit down and talk to him? If so, what kind of person is he off the ice?
b) How do you feel Sakic will do with his new role in Colorado?
AD: Yeah, of course I’ve met him. He’s a tremendous guy, probably the most humble superstar I ever met. Just a class guy. And a great player. He hasn’t been hired by the Avs yet, but I do believe he’ll be in some management capacity before too long.
(Guess I kinda jumped the gun on that one Dater, my apologies.)
AC: Adrian, one thing we like to do is get a personal feel to who we interview here at THG. Is there anything you do personally, to get yourself into the column you are about to work on? Meaning, any type of music, or pre-writing meal that occurs before you sit down to write?
AD: Every once in a while I might play some music. Like most people, my tastes run the gamut. I used to be a major KISS fan, but also have a Carpenters album (this is going to generate a snarky blog mention somewhere). I like Miles Davis, but also like cheesy 80s rock and pop.
I guess I like hard-driving, guitar-driven rock the best, to pump myself up though.
As far as food, I’ve definitely written a lot of stories eating a room service cheeseburger back at the hotel, but otherwise no pre-game column meal. I do like to cook a lot, though. I do all the cooking in our household, actually, and find it to be very relaxing. So that probably helps the writing process some. Tonight, I made a mean chicken cacciatore, a new recipe. My wife and son thought it was a big hit!
Again, we’d like to thank Adrian Dater for giving us a few minutes of his time and for supplying us with some fun filled answers as well as some great insight. Hopefully one day when the season starts up again we can have Adrian call in to the show to talk some Colorado Avalanche hockey.
Adrian has a book available through Amazon.com titled “Blood Feud”. A suggested read for those of you who truly enjoy rivalries and NHL sports history.
Be sure to follow Adrain on Twitter: @adater