As exciting as hockey players are on the ice, they are notorious for being boring off the ice. If you’ve heard one post-game interview, you’ve heard them all. Most hockey players respond to questions with the same robotic cliches – “We, uhh, just need to, uhh,focus on the, uhhh, next game. We need to just, uhhh, continue to play our, uh, style of game; play a full, uh, 60 minutes, get, uh, pucks in deep and finish our checks, get shots on, uh, net, and create, uh, chances…uh.”
But then every once in a while you get someone that’s a little bit different. Someone that isn’t cut from the same cloth as every other hockey player, and is willing to give the world the real uncensored version, and it’s refreshing. Players like Ilya Bryzgalov and Paul Bissonette make hockey exciting off the ice – and they aren’t bad hockey players, either (Well…maybe Bissonette…haha).
This week, the Hockey’s Future Top 5 takes a look at some of the most vibrant personalities among NHL prospects.
Some prospects on this list are really loud–literally. They almost demand the spotlight with noise. Daniil Zharkov is a little bit different. His soft, dry humor in his thick, Russian accent is akin to something out of the British “Office”, but he’s without a doubt one of the funniest young hockey players in the game today. Watching his interviews, like with Nikita Scherbak, just makes you smile. Whether he is making goofy faces for no apparent reason, or how he goes on about how he’s actually Canadian and there’s no need to fact check this, he always seems to do or say something interesting.
Everyone knows P.K., and while Jordan and Malcolm Subban aren’t quite as boisterous as their older brother, they are big-time personalities in the making. They’re a bit more clinical and strategic in their actions, and you can tell they’ve learned a lot from their brother, but they aren’t holding back the punches just because critics slammed P.K. early in his career because of his super-sized personality on and off the ice. Each of the younger Subban brothers make for really funny and thoughtful interviews, but they also both go out of their way to capture the like buttons of the world on the ice. Whether through crazy shootout goals, over the top celebrations that make the old hockey world cringe, or dancing the robot after a big save, these brothers have cornered the market on charisma and are going to become big-time hockey celebrities.
3. Nikita Scherbak – Montreal Canadiens
Nikita Scherbak stole the hearts of NHL fans everywhere when he had his draft interview with TSN’s James Duthie at the 2014 NHL Draft. This kid is just pure personality. Everything he does is with a smile, and he has such a youthful demeanor that he reminds you of what it was like to play hockey when you were a kid; he’s the personification of youth hockey. Perhaps what is more interesting about Scherbak and his gigantic personality is his extreme wit, and ability to communicate in multiple languages. Nothing gets passed him, and he’s very quick with his funny remarks. He’s also a terrific hockey player.
Like him or hate him, Josh Ho-Sang is a one of the biggest personalities in all of hockey, and it’s because he doesn’t conform to all of the robotism of hockey cliches. While he has matured (a bit) since being drafted by the New York Islanders in 2014, he is still one of the top soundbites in the game, and not just among prospects. He is a top level hockey prospect, and an even better headline grabber. Whether it’s controversial, funny, or even a little bit strange, Ho-Sang is willing to speak his mind and offer fans his unfiltered opinion. In a world that begs for a little bit more personality with their hockey stars, it’s almost surprising just how polarizing this player and his personality have become.
Because he plays overseas, not a lot of North Americans are familiar with Fredrik Bergvik and even less so of his personality. But if his game can take him to the NHL level, he has the potential to be a fan favorite and rival the great Ilya Bryzgalov as one of the most interesting men in all of hockey (just maybe not as philosophical). Bergvik is a backup goaltender in the Frolunda system and a late-round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks, and he’s known around the SHL as one of the most talkative players on and off the ice. Most of the time it’s regarding hockey. Most of the time. When he’s off the ice, he really lets his personality shine. His social videos are are some of the funniest things you’ll watch today.
Should hockey players show more personality? Who do you think has a larger than life personality in the game? Have any funny stories about prospects? Are we missing anyone in our top 5? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Follow Craig Fischer on Twitter via @fgiarc