Jeremy Roenick is known for speaking his mind.
It’s a characteristic that helped him become one of the most talked-about players when he laced up the skates over his 20-year career in the National Hockey League.
Not being shy of giving his opinion is one of the reasons the American-born hockey transitioned into a media career once his playing days were over.
Recently, on the Sportscage, Roenick caught up with Micheal Ball to discuss his playing career.
Roenick’s latest venture in hockey is the Snipes & Stripes podcast alongside former NHL referee Tim Peel. In his playing career, Roenick admitted to having numerous animated discussions with referees while on the ice.
“I was always a complainer, I always yelled at the referees, I always thought the games were poorly refed.”
Roenick added he would give a ref credit if they officiated a good game.
“It’s a very difficult job to have and they do a good job, I thought Tim Peel was one of the best and he was one of the most liked by the players and our podcast Snipes & Stripes brings a different kind of personality.”
One of Roenick’s favourite referees to deal with when he was in the NHL was Regina’s own the late Mick McGeough.
“He (McGeough) was a good man, he was a very good referee, very honest, saw the game very well, again, he was another guy that was well respected amongst the players.”
There have been three coaching changes since the beginning of the NHL season. Mike Babcock was relieved of his duties as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the pre-season due to off-ice incidents. Jay Woodcroft was fired by the Edmonton Oilers on November 12, and Dean Evason was recently dismissed by the Minnesota Wild.
As a player, Roenick said it was usually a sombre mood when a head coach was fired.
“You never like to see your coach get fired, cause it’s a representation of how the team is playing, and you have to take some sort of responsibility when a coach gets fired because you are not doing the job in getting the wins with the players on the ice.”
Throughout his career in the league, Roenick has experienced both euphoria and despair because of coaching changes. After the Phoenix Coyotes dismissed Don Hay as head coach following the team’s first year in the desert, he was ecstatic. However, Roenick was disappointed when the Chicago Blackhawks parted ways with “Iron” Mike Keenan in 1992.
Roenick spent his career played exclusively in the United States and was never subjected to the same level of media scrutiny that is commonly associated with playing for a Canadian NHL team. Roenick himself didn’t view the media as a problem and welcomed the attention.
“I love the media, I could handle the media, I didn’t mind talking to the media, I didn’t mind telling the media when they’re full of crap.”
Roenick said he almost joined the Calgary Flames in 2006, but Wayne Gretzky, the head coach of the Coyotes at the time convinced the American to join the franchise for a second stint.
At one point, the king of hockey in Chicago was Roenick, but it’s safe to say former Regina Pats captain Connor Bedard who currently dominates the conservation in the Windy City. The former number-one pick of the 2023 NHL Draft has stormed out of the gates in the first NHL campaign, already scoring 11 goals through the first 23 games.
Roenick believes Bedard has done an excellent job, especially with the pressure that was placed on him before the season started.
“I thought it was unfair on the media’s part and the NHL’s part to put so much pressure on Connor Bedard coming out of the draft. Comparing him to Wayne Gretzky in the first couple of games in the NHL.”
The former Blackhawk feels Bedard has made the necessary adjustments since entering the NHL and needed a few games under his belt.
Some of the things that Roenick would like to see the former Pat add to his repertoire is grit, possibly adding a little snarl to his game.
“Because if he doesn’t, there’s a lot of guys in this league that will target him and try to get him off his game physically.”
He added, if Bedard can combine some grit with the skill that he already possesses, the sky is the limit according to Roenick.
To listen Roenick’s appearance on the SportsCage, you can click on the link to access the podcast.