One on one with John Garrett

ANGELA MACISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:52 AM ET

How the devil are you?

I'm quite well.

What were you like in school?

My father was a school teacher and ended up as principal of my high school. I'm from a family of seven and seven of us have degrees -- I got mine 35 years after I started. Four of my siblings are teachers and one is a lawyer.

What's your most treasured material possession?

My old goalie mask. It's been painted over a couple of times but it has a Canucks logo on it now. It was those form-fitting ones, didn't have the wires. Those were dangerous things to wear.

If I'm buying, what are you having?

Coors Light, please. I'll have two.

Who was the last person you punched and why?

Probably Mario Lemieux. I punched him in his first NHL game. I was playing with the Canucks and he jumped one of our little guys. So I came out of the crease, jumped him and was throwing punches on him.

What's your most unpleasant characteristic?

My lack of neatness. It drives my wife crazy. When you come from a large family, chances are you're wearing hand-me-down clothes and you don't care how you look so much and you don't care so much how the bedroom looks or whether you pick up your clothes or clean the dishes.

What's the most ridiculous thing you've ever bought?

I bought an Abtronics thing and I fell asleep with it on one night and did about 5,000 situps.

Did it work?

No. You don't burn any calories. It tightens up your stomach all right but you can sit there with it, drink beer and eat pizza. Do you think it's going to work? No.

What was your first car?

1963 Vauxhall. It cost me 300 bucks.

If you could be any athlete, who would you be and why?

Marty Brodeur is one of my heroes. He's a goalie who plays the game at the highest level, doesn't take himself too seriously and, all the success he's had, he doesn't have any star airs about him.

What's your culinary specialty?

I make a mean lasagna. That's one of those things you can add whatever you want and you can't screw it up.

What's your cell ringtone?

A loud, old telephone ring. Everybody has music but I want to know it's my phone that's ringing and I want it loud enough to hear it. So it's an old rotary-phone ring.

Who's the most famous person in your cellphone book?

I have a lot of hockey people in my phonebook. Randy Sportak ... no, that's not it. He is in my phonebook but he's not one of the most famous guys. It depends on what you consider famous. Is Wayne Gretzky famous?

Um ... yeah.

OK. It's Wayne Gretzky then.

Are you easily embarrassed?

No. Being an old goalie, there are very few times you can get embarrassed. You've been embarrassed all your life.

What TV series do you want on DVD?

I already have Law & Order: Criminal Intent on DVD. I really like that show.

What's your favourite unhealthy food?

Oh God, I have so many. I consider myself a connoisseur of chicken wings.

What's the best concert you've seen?

Last summer, I saw John Mellencamp and John Fogarty. I know that dates me but all those old Creedence Clearwater hits with all those old John Cougar hits, unbelievable.

What was the best year of your life?

I can't pick just one. I go back and think when my children were born -- my first daughter was born in 1975, my second in '78 -- and then of when I got married, or when my grandchildren were born. I consider myself very optimistic and I wouldn't change very many things I've done in my not-so-illustrious life.

What movie made you cry?

Brian's Song ...

That's OK. That's a guy's movie.

Oh, OK, you want to get into that? What about Beaches? I cried at Beaches. I got dragged to that but it was a tearjerker. If you want to go to all the Mission: Impossible movies and that stuff, you have to go to the chick flicks.

Ever order wrestling on pay-per-view?

No. Never. Although I did used to watch wrestling until the Owen Hart incident.

What's the funniest thing you've seen during a game?

We were in the WHA and we had this guy named Dave Hanson. His nickname was Killer and he played one of the three Hanson brothers in Slap Shot. We were playing with the Carlson brothers, who they patterned the Hanson brothers after. We were playing Winnipeg in the playoffs. Bobby Hull and Dave Hanson get into a little skirmish and Dave reaches over and grabs Bobby by the hair. Bobby pulls away and Dave is standing there with Bobby's toupee in his hands. We were just roaring. Bobby goes off and comes back with a helmet on and Dave gets five minutes for hair pulling. We never stopped laughing. The whole powerplay was ridiculous.

And what's this about Quebec City hotdogs?

Oh no. I was the backup goalie in Quebec and they had the best hotdogs in the league. The trainer was a friend of mine so I asked him to go get me a hotdog. Every now and then I'd take a bite out of it and stick it in my pads so nobody would notice. The other goalie decides he's had enough and he gets pulled. I had to go into the game and I still had this hotdog stuffed in my pads. You gotta fall down every now and then, so mustard and ketchup are all over my pads and all down my socks. We lose the game and, after the game, I have to wait for all the players are gone before I can undo my pads. It looked like I was pouting because we lost but I just wanted to make sure nobody knew I had eaten a hotdog.

If we threw you in net against Nick Kypreos, would you stop him?

I don't know about right now because Nick's about 15 years younger than me. Nick was a good goal-scorer when he was in junior. People don't realize that because his reputation was made as a tough guy. You watch him now in oldtimers games and Nick's not bad. So he'd probably score on me.

Can you be convinced to karaoke? If so, what song?

I have several times, usually after a few Coors Lights. You name it, I can do it -- as long as it's from my era. Rolling Stones, Johnny Rivers' Secret Agent Man. I did that during the Nagano Olympics.


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