This is a part of a series of interviews we had with Hurricanes players to get to know them a little better than just the guys we see on the ice and what the team readily shares. In this post, we share our Jordan Staal interview and see below for links to the others. We hope you’ll enjoy! 

Jaccob Slavin Interview

Sebastian Aho Interview

Section 328: When did you start skating/ playing hockey, and did you instantly like it?

JS: I started at probably like four or five years old, and I would assume I liked it. We had the outdoor rink so we were always out there playing a crazy amount, so I obviously enjoyed it.

328: Where is your favorite place to skate/ play in the offseason (public skates, training sessions, outdoor rinks/ ponds)?

JS: An outdoor rink is great, maybe not in the offseason now… I mean we do get some sunlight up there. But there’s definitely a childhood rink that I always end up skating on, so that’s always fun and brings back good memories.

328: What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

JS: I think the ebbs and flows of the season can be challenging. I think there’s always streaks of frustration and you want more from yourself, and maybe from the team. That can get to you a little bit and obviously get you down. That’s probably the hardest part of the gig.

328: What is your biggest goal yet to accomplish in hockey?

JS: Well your goal is always to win the [Stanley] Cup. Once you do it once, you still want to do it again, so I think that’s always been the goal. And for me, I always take pride in doing whatever I can to help the team win and get back to that spot.

328: What is your favorite or most memorable hockey game you’ve played in, and why?

JS: There’s been a few. Obviously winning the Cup was… a game seven. Going into a game seven for the Cup is a pretty neat feeling, knowing that someone is going to win that night… it’s going to happen. So, that was a big game. I think my first year when I had a hat trick in Toronto was a cool experience, I got to go on Don Cherry after… stuff that you don’t really ever dream up as a kid, so it was a pretty surreal moment.

328: Hockey is a sport that is constantly evolving, in rules, equipment, skillsets, etc. What is the most noticeable way the game has changed from your rookie year to now?

JS: I think just cracking down on the penalties, the hooking and stuff, has brought even more speed to the game. It’s leaving guys a little vulnerable at times, but at the same time it has brought a new product to the ice and you can see the speed and see the young guys coming up and how quick they are, and it makes for an enjoyable game to watch.

328: What is one piece of advice you would give to young fans hoping to play professional hockey?

JS: I think you have to have fun with it for sure. Even when you get to this level, it can be hard, but in the end you have to have fun with it… otherwise it’s never really going to work. If it becomes a job way too early, then that’s not good. I think for me growing up, we never really thought we’d make it or whatever, but we really just enjoyed the game and had fun with it and just played. Once you’re out there, playing and having fun, you end up improving and who knows where it can take you.

328: You play long, grueling seasons, with lots of traveling and many games back to back. What keeps you excited/ motivated going into each season?

JS: You’re in the NHL. It’s really a privilege to be here and be a part of it. And obviously there are tough times, but, when you look back, you have to pinch yourself and just enjoy being able to play in this league and be a part of the NHL.