August 31, 2013

Catching Up With Zanetti

D-zone face off.  Through the glass with my iPhone.

Former Ottawa 67s defenceman, Marc-Anthony Zanetti (@FlyingZee10) is starting his second season of professional hockey with the Düsseldorfer EG.  The team has made a very long pre-season bus trip to play 4 games in 4 days against teams from other European hockey leagues.  First was a 8-hour bus trip to Landshut, Bavaria to play the Landshut Cannibals from the 2nd Bundesliga.  Then it was a 4-hour bus ride to Villach, Austria to plan against HC Biel from the National (Swiss) Hockey League, followed by games against EC VSV and EC KAC of the Erste Bank Eishockeyliga.

As we happen to currently be on holiday in Austria about 45 minutes from Villach (it's the closest "big" town to where we are), I convinced the spousal unit to take a break from our labours and go see Zanetti and his team take on the local favourite EC VSV (the Villach team). After the game, I had a 4-minute chat with Marc.

As a young man, making the move from Richmond Hill to Ottawa to play hockey is one thing.  But to pull-up stakes and move to another continent where you don't speak the language and are not familiar with the culture is something entirely different.  "I took a couple of German classes to pick up the language.  Everything's a lot smaller in Europe.  The cars are smaller, the downtown areas are smaller, where you live is smaller.  It's a very cosy atmosphere.".

From a hockey perspective I noted that the game didn't have any hitting to speak of and Marc explained that there's a lot less hitting overall in Europe although there is a bit more in the German league given the number of North American players.  As for his team itself, it didn't have any "guest" players during last season's NHL lockout so they didn't have to deal with the related disruptions of players coming and going.  For the upcoming season, Marc's hoping the team makes the playoffs, battle out a first-round win and take it from there.

On being coached, Marc laughed and said that coach Christian Brittig "... yells in German, then yells in English and if he yells in German, I just ask one of the German guys to translate.  It works out pretty well.".

I was surprised to hear that most of the on-ice chirping is in English given the mix of nationalities.  But when you get chirped in a foreign language, you just shrug and move on; it's just not the right time to expand your vocabulary on idioms in new languages.  However, the officials have to be able to speak English so at least you can plead your point and be understood.

As we wrapped up, he sent his congrats to Monahan for going 6th overall and wished his former team mates and the club the best for the upcoming season.

They lost the game 2-0 (PPG late in the second and an EN).  You could see that they were getting tired but they made HC VSV work hard for those two goals.  And it was pre-season hockey so everyone was still working out the kinks and getting back up to hockey speed.  

It was good seeing him again; he looks good, more grown-up (and his teeth are remarkable, especially for a hockey player - some dentists have done an excellent job). 

No comments: