This week’s interview is with Michigan Gray Wolves D Max Madison.
SHL Digest: We’re here this week with one of the SHL’s most ferocious blueliners, Max Madison. Max, we appreciate your time.
Max Madison: Yeah, sure, no problem.
SHLD: When people talk about the meanest, toughest guys in the SHL, your name is always near the top of that list. What do you think of that reputation?
MM: I’m proud of my reputation, because I earned it. Everyone around the league knows that I stick up for my teammates, that I can hold my own in a fight, and that I’m a guy you don’t want to cross.
SHLD: No question about that. When we interviewed Bruce Hogaboom last year – and he’s a pretty tough guy himself – he called you the best fighter in the league.
MM: Did he? Coming from a guy like Boomer, that’s the highest compliment you could ever want. There’s a handful of guys in this league who can really scrap, and he’s one of them. So am I.
SHLD: Did you grow up wanting to fight?
MM: I did, but not in the way you might think. I grew up in Chicago, and he was an amateur boxer. I worshipped him. I basically grew up in the Olympus Gym on the South Side. I wanted to follow in Dad’s footsteps and become a boxer.
SHLD: Wow, you really must have idolized him.
MM: Damn straight. He taught me a lot about life. He wasn’t a big guy, but he was quick and strong as an ox. He knocked out guys who had 50 or 60 pounds on him, easy. He taught me how to have no fear, how to keep attacking even when you’re getting tagged. That’s why the guys call me Mad Max, because I’m so driven and relentless. I got that from him.
SHLD: That’s quite a legacy.
MM: No question about it. He taught me never to give up or back down. I would never have made it without him.
SHLD: So how did you wind up picking hockey over boxing?
MM: Well, I liked to ice-skate in the winter and play shinny with some guys in my neighborhood. I got good enough that the hockey coach at the high school nearby spotted me and encouraged me to try out. But I still had my heart set on being a boxer, so I asked my dad. He said, “Trust me, son, there’s no money in boxing unless you’re Mike Tyson. Go for hockey.” So I did, and I never looked back.”
SHLD: And you’ve done quite well! Unlike a lot of enforcer types, you’re also a good stick-handler and scorer.
MM: And I’m proud of that. Don’t get me wrong; I like to fight, and that’s a key part of my game. But I never just wanted to be a one-dimensional enforcer. I wanted to be strong on both ends of the ice.
SHLD: Are there any young players out there that remind you of yourself?
MM: There’s one guy for sure: [Hamilton Pistols D] Hercules Mulligan. He might be crazier than me. He’s like a bowling ball, knocking guys down left and right. And you can tell he loves it. He’s a glutton for hard work and hard hits. I love that kind of spirit.
SHLD: One more question. Last season, your Wolves had a great regular season, only to get swept in the playoffs by the Anchorage Igloos. You’re off to another hot start; are you looking for revenge this season?
MM: What do you think? You better believe it. Coach [Ron] Wright is just as driven as me, and he talked about how he couldn’t sleep for days after that series. I couldn’t either. We let ourselves get embarrassed, and we won’t let that happen again. It’s Vandy or bust for us. I’d rather eat glass than let those guys sweep us again.
SHLD: Well, thanks for a lively and honest interview, Max. Good luck the rest of the season!
MM: I appreciate it.