I have told the story before about one of my earliest memories of witnessing dignity and class from an Islanders player in one of my first years with the team. It was on Feb. 22, 1989, when Kelly Hrudey was traded by the Islanders to the LA Kings for Wayne McBean and Mark Fitzpatrick. After getting the news that morning from GM Bill Torrey, Kelly went into the Islanders’ offices at the Coliseum and thanked and said goodbye to every staffer.
That moment stayed with me forever. To learn all these years later – I had no idea back then – that Kelly was devastated to be traded by the Islanders makes his gesture even more special.
Although I stayed in touch with Kelly during his years with the Kings and then as a broadcaster, you can imagine how happy I was when he responded enthusiastically to an invitation to share his story on Hockey Press Pass. From beginning to end of this interview, you see the person Kelly Hrudey is. I’m eternally grateful for Kelly’s honesty, kindness and generosity.
Next week’s Press Pass episode is with Kenny Albert, the remarkably versatile play-by-play announcer for the NHL on TNT and the rare one to work games in the NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB.
Episode 7 Rundown:
· Kelly Hrudey names the three best shooters he faced in his NHL career.
· His transition from being a player to having to be critical as an analyst
· Wondering about Matthew Barnaby’s on-ice reaction after Kelly ripped his play, when Kelly was broadcasting while still playing in the NHL, and how he communicates with players and executives after he has been critical
· As an NHL player who had his life turned upside down when he was traded once, his reaction to being in the studio when trade rumors are being reported – and the one time he thought he was getting fired
· The first time he thought he would be interested in a career in broadcasting (it actually goes all the way back to his early days with the Islanders)
· We ask Kelly, “Although it’s the most important position in the game, are goaltenders too often easy targets for getting trashed by analysts, coaches and fans”?
· Are there aspects of the NHL quality of play that can be better?
· The advice he would give an NHLer who’s about to begin a broadcasting career
· The impact of his mom and dad on how he conducts himself, but also the competitive fire that burned within
· A “magical” time getting drafted in 1980 by the Islanders, who were on the road to winning four consecutive Stanley Cups
· How lessons learned from Billy Smith, Al Arbour and the Islanders helped him play 15 years in the NHL
· Memories of leading the Islanders to a 4-OT victory over the Caps in the Easter Epic
· Why he was devastated by his trade by the Islanders, but felt better when he learned who pushed the Kings to trade for him
· A “magical” time getting drafted in 1980 by the Islanders, who were about to win four consecutive Stanley Cups
· How lessons learned from Billy Smith, Al Arbour and the Islanders helped him play 15 years in the NHL.
· His family’s mission – what Kelly calls “the greatest work of my career”