Catching up with... Kevin Weekes
Devils' netminder optimistic to open 2008-09 with a home-ice advantage
Weekes makes a stop against the Penguins last season at Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena.
newjerseydevils.com – For many players, the summer represents an opportunity to take a breather while training for the season ahead.
But for Devils goaltender Kevin Weekes, the offseason has provided opportunities for both travel and charity. Weekes returned home to his native Toronto after the conclusion of the 2007-08 campaign, but also squeezed in a quick trip to Las Vegas and a honeymoon in Hawaii. He later helped out some NHL alumni with their community outreach efforts, raising money for cancer and donating hockey equipment.
|View Kevin Weekes highlights|
After signing with the Devils as a free agent last summer, Weekes made his regular season debut with 32 saves in a 4-1 win over Florida and became the seventh player in league history to have played for all three New York-area teams.
Newjerseydevils.com recently caught up with the veteran, who is entering his 10th NHL season.
Weekes: This summer I went away on my honeymoon. My wife, Stephanie, and I traveled to Hawaii for three weeks, and it was great. We got married in January, but obviously had to wait until after the season for the honeymoon. Like most of the guys, I took a short trip right after the season, spending a few days in Vegas. The trip to Hawaii happened in July. We went to Waikiki and Oahu, then to Kauai and Maui.
Snorkeling was probably my favorite thing to do there, and I don't even swim. You'd be surprised at how many people from the Islands never learn how to swim. I've been trying to learn for years, probably since I was seven or eight years old. Sailing on a catamaran was a lot of fun too, so I'd say maybe that or snorkeling were my favorites.
Outside of training, my summer is definitely about family and friends here in Toronto. I'm very close with my family, and Toronto is home.
I took part in about six charity events, and it was nice to be able to attend and help out. One of them was for Sky's the Limit, which is a group that helps to bridge the digital divide by purchasing refurbished computers – laptops and desktops – and distributing them to schools and community centers all across Toronto.
I participated in the NHLPA's Goals and Dreams program with Philadelphia's Glen Metropolit, and we gave away $25,000 worth of hockey equipment through the NHLPA. Then I visited with Steve Rucchin, who was a teammate of mine in New York, for his inaugural golf tournament to benefit the London (Ontario) Cancer Center. Steve lost his brother to cancer years ago, and that was the first of what's going to be an annual event. London has one of the best cancer research units in all of Canada, if not the best, and we were able to raise a lot of funds for it.
Chico Resch and I co-hosted a goaltending camp in Wayne, N.J., and that was the first camp I'd been involved with in New Jersey. Generally, I'm compelled to do them in Toronto because the city doesn't produce many goalies.
|Celebrating a win over Ottawa with Martin Brodeur.|
As far as working out in Toronto, usually Rick DiPietro of the Islanders comes up here, but he's been slowed by his injury. He hasn't been able to put on equipment yet or join drills. In the past, I've also worked out with Steve Valiquette of the Rangers, Steve Montador of the Ducks, and Dominic Moore of the Leafs.
The Devils made some good personnel moves this summer, and I'm sure the guys will feel more settled about opening at home. Our reality is at Prudential Center now – we're in the new arena. Last year we were kind of in a transition at the beginning, but this year we'll be more settled. Personally I feel very comfortable there, on and off the ice. The rink is great, and I enjoy going every day. From a community standpoint, the people in New Jersey are nice and very down-to-earth. I think we're all feeling optimistic about starting the season.