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Weekes speaks on his transition to analyst, Islanders’ success

On Thursday night, the St. Regis Hotel hosted the 15th Annual Orthopaedic Foundation dinner.  There will be a full recap of the event in a later post, but one of the honorees of the evening was former goaltender and current NHL analyst Kevin Weekes.

The Orthopaedic Foundation was created as a not-for-profit (501) C(3) organization whose primary function is to effectively promote, support, develop and encourage research and education concerning minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery and advancements in musculoskeletal diseases. The Foundation is additionally committed to initiatives that educate individuals of all ages who are passionate about a healthy and active lifestyle and engage in self-directed practices to maintain that lifestyle. The aim of the Foundation is to discover new modalities for the treatment of orthopaedic injuries and musculoskeletal disease, to promote injury prevention, and to explore minimally invasive treatments that guarantee shorter recovery time and faster return to daily activities. www.ofals.org

We were able to chat with Weekes and catch up on what he’s up to nowadays.  Weekes has had a long career in hockey, playing in net for all three NY-Metro teams and becoming an analyst for MSG Networks, Hockey Night in Canada and NHL Network.

On how he got involved with the Orthopaedic Foundation

Well the host of the event, “Big Daddy” Rich Salgado was one of my first friends on the Island.  I actually met him when I was first playing with the Islanders all those years ago.  I was a young, much skinnier 21-year old and we became good friends.

He has been working with the Orthopaedic Foundation and told me about it.  I had to get involved and originally I thought I was just going to be a guest.   I have the honor of being one of the special guests and it means a lot to me.  It hits close to home because obviously as an athlete we pride ourselves on staying active.

The whole point of the foundation is building towards a healthy and positive lifestyle for all the younger people out there.  It’s for a great cause and once again I’m honored to be recognized.

On retiring and becoming an analyst

Well I have always liked to talk (laughs) but I was actually looking to continue my career in Russia.  My agent had me set up with one of the teams and the guy kept calling me and speaking to me in broken English.  He kept saying “You come to Russia, you make plenty money, you enjoy” so I was planning on going out there.

Someone from MSG called me and wanted me to come in for a tryout for one of their analyst positions.  I had thought about it in the past and I wanted to take control of the opportunity because you never know if something like that would come by again.

I worked very hard at my craft and here I am a few years later and I loved it.  I didn’t realize how much went into a production.  I thought okay I’ll go in for two hours and leave but those first couple weeks I came to see that it was a much longer process than that.

Sometimes I’d be at the studio for ten hours.  Especially when you’re in playoffs and when there are late West Coast games, we’d be there for a long time.  It’s great and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with.

On if the Islanders success so far has surprised him

No it doesn’t surprise me.  It all starts with Lou and Barry.  I knew from the days with the Devils that Lou knows how to run a tight ship.  I remember watching those 90’s teams and this Islanders team reminds me a lot of them.  It’s all the little things that makes the difference.

There’s an air of professionalism that is there that wasn’t there previously.  They’ve always been a great organization but when Lou came in things just changed, like they usually do when he takes over a team.  People say it’s about the culture but it’s not just that.  Whether it be the clean-shaven faces or the suits, every detail on and off the ice matters.  

The reason why they’re successful is because they take care of all the little things.  There’s very precise attention to detail and they are an extremely professional and tight group.  The accountability and responsibility spread throughout the building in those cases.  That’s why they’ve done so well in the two seasons he’s been there.  It was the same in Toronto.

 

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Chris Passarelli
Football Editor - Hockey Editor - New York Islanders Lead Writer - New York Lizards Lead Writer - UConn Football Lead Writer
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