Vitals on Bryan Allen:
Born: August 21, 1980 in Kingston, Ontario.
Drafted: In the first round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, fourth player selected overall, by the Vancouver Canucks.
Current Club: Manitoba Moose (AHL)
Honours: OHL First All-Star Team (1998-99)
The following is my interview with Bryan, done via email.
HF: What was it like to grow up in a place like Kingston, Ontario; one of our nation’s hockey-hotbeds?
BA: It was pretty neat to grow up in a city with such a history in hockey. Everything was hockey, everyone loved it, and wanted to be a part of it in some way, be it playing or watching.
HF: Did you feel any pressure when you began your junior career with the Oshawa Generals, especially considering you were a #9 overall pick by them in the OHL Priority Selection?
BA: When I first got to Oshawa, there was a lot of pressure; especially in training camp. But, I had a great coach (Bill Stewart) who taught me a lot, and brought me along slowly.
HF: What did you enjoy most about your time in Oshawa, and your junior career in general?
BA: I enjoyed my first year and going to the Memorial Cup.
HF: How did it feel to have your name called #4 Overall by the Vancouver Canucks?
BA: It was a pretty proud feeling, with many of my friends and family members there.
HF: To date, how has the organization treated you?
BA: So far, I’ve been kind of up and down, but overall, the organization has been pretty good to me.
HF: Do you feel a sense of accomplishment, now that you’ve been able to get over the injuries which plagued your junior career, and nearly wiped out an entire season?(1999-00)
BA: It was pretty tough that one year (1999-00), but hopefully I’ve gotten them out of the way. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about my body, and about dealing with injuries.
HF: What do you think is your strongest attribute as a defenseman?
BA: I think that my own-zone play, and my first pass would be my strongest.
HF: With the sudden re-emergence of Brent Sopel, where do you think you fit with the Canuck defense in the future?
BA: Not too sure. I’ll have to wait and see.
HF: Who have you been partnered with this season in Manitoba, and how has he helped your game?
BA: I have been partnered with Zenith Komarniski. He has helped me immensely, and he’s one of the reasons I’ve been called up once.
HF: In your stints with the Canucks, which Canuck has helped you the most in making you feel at home, and in improving your own game?
BA: Got to be Bryan Helmer.
HF: What was the most valuable lesson that anyone has taught you in hockey?
BA: Work hard enough, and good things will happen for you.
HF: If you weren’t playing hockey today, what would you be doing?
BA: I’d probably be going to university.
HF: Do you still keep in touch with any of your teammates from Oshawa?
BA: A few of them, but not too many. Most have gone back to school or are playing pro somewhere.
HF: For you, which is the toughest AHL team to play against?
BA: There are a lot of good teams, it’s very hard to choose just one.
HF: What was it like to play your first play-off game, less than ten games into your NHL career?
BA: The first play-off game was pretty amazing, and the main thing that made it special was that it was less than ten games into my career.