Vancouver Canucks fever has swept Revelstoke but there’s one native who’s living life at the heart of the action. Aaron Volpatti was called up to the Canucks on May 13 to practice with the team after the Manitoba Moose were eliminated from the American Hockey League playoffs in a tough seven-game series against the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The Revelstoke Times Review spoke to Volpatti Wednesday afternoon, shortly before the start of game four. Since he’s not part of the regular line-up, he and some other prospects were in Vancouver while the team was in Boston, looking to get redemption for the 8-1 shellacking they received Monday night at the hands of the Boston Bruins.
Here’s what the 26-year-old Revelstokian had to say about being part of the Canucks playoff run:
Revelstoke Times Review: What was your reaction to being called up to the Canucks after the Manitoba Moose season finished?
Aaron Volpatti: I kind of expected it because that’s the case with every team every year in the playoffs. When the farm team is eliminated, they bring up some guys who either played some games with the big club or had some kind of contribution. It wasn’t a huge surprise. I kind of saw it coming and so did the rest of the guys as well. I was here for a couple months, so I think it was a little bit expected.
RTR: What did management tell you when they called you up?
AV: They said to be ready, anything could happen with injuries. You see that with the d-men but no so much with the forwards. A few of the guys that have been called up have played in a couple of games. It’s almost over now but we have to stay ready in case. You never know what can happen.
RTR: What has it been like practising with the team during this run to the Stanley Cup finals?
AV: The atmosphere is pretty amazing. The city is going crazy and to be a part of it in anyway, whether its skating with the team or hanging out with the guys going for dinner. It’s more the atmosphere of the skate and the confidence that the guys have is pretty cool.
RTR: How does it compare to the regular season?
AV: Everything is more intense and more amped up. Practices are shorter and the games – obviously I haven’t been in a game during the playoffs – but just being around it, it’s that much more intense.
During the games are you in the dressing room or press box? What’s your situation?
AV: The games are different. They offer us a ticket if we want to sit in the stands or we can sit in the room and watch it. As for the press box, it’s pretty much full of media and NHL personnel, so it’s one of the two.
RTR: As both a fan of the team and a member of it – what has this playoff been like for you?
The last time, ’93-’94, when they want to the finals, I was just a young kid and back then it was a pretty big buzz too. Now, to be a part of it, it’s pretty surreal. I was hoping I might get a game or two in but either way you have to take advantage of the opportunity you get so I’m just getting ready and hopefully you build on it for next year.
RTR: What have you learned in the last month or so being with the team about being a professional hockey player?
AV: You learn how much of a grind the playoffs are. Even not playing a game or skating every day. If the team gets a day off, sometimes we skate. We had a month long run in Manitoba and another month here with hard practices and workouts and stuff. I think the biggest lesson is just what it actually takes to play two months in the playoffs. It’s amazing what the body can endure.
RTR: How’s your body holding up? Are you still feeling any bruises from the Moose’s run?
AV: A little bit. I had a nagging injury in the playoffs that bothered me but it’s getting a chance to heal with not much contact. It’s been good. The skates are tough but it gets a chance to heal when there’s not
RTR: Do you have many people bugging you for tickets?
Yep, but they’re pretty tough to come by, so…
RTR: What’s the mood like on the team after that last game?
We’re not in Boston so I can’t really say but they’re going to bounce back. A loss is a loss, like everyone says. And it’s true – it doesn’t matter if you lose in overtime or if you lose 8-1. It’s a seven game series. I think they’ll bounce back.
RTR: At the risk of jinxing things, if the team wins the Stanley Cup, will you be able to bring it to Revelstoke?
AV: I don’t know. I’m guessing not since I won’t get my name on the Cup anyways, so I’m not sure how that’s going to go or what’s going to happen.