Interview of the Week: Walt Camernitz

This week’s interview is with Quebec Tigres LW Walt Camernitz.

SHL Digest: This week, we’re talking with one of the league’s strongest two-way wingers, Walt Camernitz.  Walt, thanks for speaking with us.

Walt Camernitz: Glad to do it.

Walt Camernitz

SHLD: You’re sort of an unsung hero in the SHL.  Your name isn’t typically mentioned among the league’s big stars, but you’re a consistent 20-to-30-goal scorer and you’ve been to three SHL Finals.  Why do you think you get overlooked?

WC: Well, I’m not a flashy personality.  I’m definitely more of a lunch-pail guy.  I get my share of goals, sure, but I focus on the unglamorous parts of the game, like wall work and getting into the dirty areas.  I don’t have a big hard slapshot or a fancy goal celly.  So it makes sense that people don’t think of me next to those big names.  It doesn’t bother me.

SHLD: On the other hand, you are highly appreciated by your teammates.  Everyone we’ve talked to in Washington and Quebec says you’re the perfect teammate.  Why do you think they appreciate you so much?

WC: I think of myself as a glue guy.  Some players focus on themselves first, and others focus on team first.  I’ve always had that team-first mindset, and I think other players appreciate that.  Especially here in Quebec, where it’s a team-first clubhouse.

SHLD: You’re now in the third year of your five-year contract with the Tigres.  Before that, you’d been with the Galaxy, and you were an integral part of the team there.  Was it tough for you when Washington let you go in free agency?

WC: I understood the situation.  Thurm [LW Casey Thurman] and I both came up for contracts the same year, and [then-GM] Ace Adams made it clear that there was only room in the budget for one of us.  They picked Thurm, and I get it.  He’s a great player, and he’s got that star personality more than I do.  You sell more tickets with Thurm.

SHLD: And Quebec certainly made you a generous offer.

WC: That’s the way I prefer to think about it.  Instead of thinking about whether DC wanted me or not, I thought about how much Quebec wanted me.  The first thing Coach [Martin] Delorme said to me when we met was, “You are the player we are missing.”  Obviously, it’s flattering as hell to hear that.  And they backed it up with a lot of cash.  They made my decision easy.

SHLD: And you proved your worth in your first season there, leading the Tigres to their first-ever Finals appearance and winning MVP honors.

WC: I honestly didn’t think I deserved the MVP, but it was nice of them to pick me anyway.  Going to the Finals was the best part.  I really want to see us get back there.

SHLD: The East looks highly competitive this season.  You’re right there in the mix with Hamilton and Hershey, and Boston and New York are hovering around the periphery.  What do you think you’ll need to do, individually and as a team, to get back to the postseason?

WC: On a personal level, I’m not lighting the lamp the way I should be.  So I need to be crashing the net a bit more, generating some opportunities.  As a team, we’re playing good lock-down D, our special teams are solid, but we need to generate a little more heat on offense.  I think that’s our key.

SHLD: Do you think you’ve got a good shot at the Vandy?

WC: If we play up to our best, absolutely.  There aren’t any pushovers in this division, but we’ve got what it takes to get there.

SHLD: All right!  Well, thanks for the time and an interesting interview.

WC: Thanks!  Hopefully, I’m holding the Vandy the next time I talk to you.

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