Our interview of the week is with Hamilton Pistols LW Kenny Patterson.
SHL Digest: We’re here today with one of the league’s classiest veterans, Kenny Patterson. Kenny, thanks for talking with us.
Kenny Patterson: Sure thing. Glad to talk with you!
SHLD: Obviously, the first thing we should talk about is how well you guys are doing! How does it feel to be surprising the experts?
KP: Well, we don’t care a lot about what the “experts” think. From the first game of the season, we’ve absolutely believed we could win this thing. [Coach] Keith [Shields] is a big believer in positive thinking, and he’s made sure we all believed in ourselves and our potential.
SHLD: Obviously, it’s more than just self-confidence that’s helped you succeed so far. What would you say have been the keys to your success?
KP: Obviously, it starts with our top line. They’ve just been magic! We’ve got one of the league’s best goal scorers in Steven Alexander, and a guy in Laffer [Claude Lafayette] who knows exactly how and where to feed him. And then Calvin Frye… he fits right in with those guys. They look like they’ve been playing together since they were kids. It’s like they’re in each other’s heads.
SHLD: And at the other end of the ice, you’ve had a great goaltending tandem in Lasse Koskinen and Dennis Wampler. How much have they contributed to your success?
KP: They’ve been huge. Seeing what Lasse’s done as a rookie, it’s remarkable. Most young goaltenders, it takes a while for the game to slow down for them. But with him, he looked comfortable out there right away. And Wamps is way better than your typical backup goalie. When Lasse got hurt and missed a few games, Wamps stepped up and we didn’t miss a beat.
SHLD: Last year, you came over to Hamilton from New York at the trading deadline, and you seemed much happier with the Pistols.
KP: Just night and day. The two organizations couldn’t be more different. In New York, everyone was obsessed with pumping his own stats. No cohesion, no unity. The locker room was just full of so much negativity. But here, it’s totally different. Everyone feels positive, everyone’s supportive and cheering each other on. Everyone’s pulling for the team to do better, even if they have to sacrifice individual stats to get there. It’s a way better situation.
SHLD: You’re one of the few veterans on the club. How does it feel being surrounded by all these young players?
KP: It’s great! I feed off of their energy. And they kind of look to me as a sort of assistant coach. I try to teach them some of my veteran tricks. (laughs)
SHLD: Do you feel like they look up to you?
KP: It’s funny. I grew up in TO [Toronto], rooting for the Leafs. Mats Sundin was my hero. Now I imagine a kid growing up here, looking up to me like I looked up to Sundin. It’s kind of crazy to think about.
SHLD: I’m sure. Well, thanks for your time, and good luck the rest of the season!
KP: Thanks. Don’t be surprised to see us go all the way!