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The Black Friday Breakdown

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's that time of year again! Black Friday has returned at Violent Gentlemen with some deals so good that we've given ourselves a 4 minute double minor for slashing our prices.  

Here's what you need to know:

  • The whole site is 30% off. THE. WHOLE. SITE. 
  • For every $100 you spend, you get a $25 gift card.
    • I.E. $100= $25 Gift Card, $200= $50 Gift Card, $300= $75 Gift Card, etc...
    • This applies to the amount spent with the site-wide discount.
  • Black Friday action starts at 3:00 pm pst on 11/23/17 all the way through midnight on 11/26/17
  • No discount code needed as the site is already marked down.
  • Your bonus gift cards are automated as part of the checkout and added to your cart.

Tales of Violent Gentlemen: Matt Martin

One of Matt Martin’s colleagues referred to him as the prototypical enforcer. Although fighting – the duties typically associated with that type of player – is declining in today’s NHL, Martin is viewed as someone who can still contribute to his team in other ways than simply fisticuffs. Last season, Martin racked up 300 hits with Toronto. Only Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki recorded more collisions.

While Martin logs the least amount of ice time among Maple Leafs, he tries to make the most of the opportunities he is given. In a deflating loss to the Hurricanes earlier this week, Martin registered four shots on net, won a faceoff, and picked up an assist. With three points under his belt this season, he’s already a third of the way to matching his offensive production from last year.

His impact, however, cannot just be measured on the ice. Since arriving in Toronto in 2016, Martin has assumed the role of older brother and father figure for the team’s younger players, particularly Mitch Marner. Their chemistry on and off the ice has been well documented, including their most recent plans to dress up as Dr. Evil and Mini-Me for Halloween. They almost pulled it off, until their girlfriends got wind of their costume ideas and put the kibosh on them.

Before the Maple Leafs head out of town next week to start a Western Conference road trip, Violent Gentlemen caught up with Matt Martin by telephone on his way home from practice. Although our interview was cut short due to technical difficulties, we still had the chance to talk to him about playing in Toronto, having Mitch Marner as a linemate, and how he’s continuing to evolve his game. 

 

This is your second season with the Maple Leafs. Walk us back through what drew you to Toronto when you signed with the club in 2016?

It was my first experience with free agency. I was trying to figure out where I wanted to play and where I’d have an opportunity. I actually got a call from the Leafs the morning of July 1st. At around 10:00am, I got a call from Lou and I talked to him and then I talked to Babs. They gave me the whole run down on why they thought I’d be a good fit there. So, I talked with my family and my girlfriend. Obviously, it’s a great city, it’s a great place to play. It’s an Original Six team. They had just drafted Auston Matthews, so there’s some upside there with not only him but with William Nylander and Mitch Marner. These guys that are the future of the team. I thought they were moving in the right direction and I thought it would be a great opportunity to win a Cup.

 

What’s your favorite part about being a Maple Leaf?

Every time you put the sweater on, it’s a special thing. The fans here are very passionate. You know, you’re in the centre of the hockey world. Last year in the first round of the playoffs, they had Maple Leafs Square packed with people and on opening night it was packed again with people watching on the big screen outside. You don’t get that everywhere. It’s a passionate fan base, they haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967. They’re starving for a winner, so hopefully we can bring that to them.

 

Mitch Marner had been playing on your line recently. When he was assigned to you and Dominic Moore, was there anything in particular you tried to do to help him out with his game?

I don’t think there’s really anything to do. You just try to keep him positive and keep his confidence up. He’s a pretty positive guy in general and he knows how good he is. He understands that guys are going to have ups and downs throughout the course of the season. It happens to everybody. Obviously, he was going through a bit of a tough time early on, but the last few games he’s kind of back to himself and carrying the puck through the neutral zone and playing with the best of them. It’s pretty easy with him, I think he kind of took the demotion - or whatever you want to call it – in stride and understood that it’s obviously not where he wants to be but he can still get some positives out of it. Like I said, from the first shift he said what he wanted to do and he’s been really effective over the last few games in generating a ton of chances and we were able to get a few goals so hopefully we keep that up.

 

In our Q&A with Nate Thompson, he called you “a guy who will fight anybody but plays a lot of quality minutes and usually leads the league in hits every year.” How do you view your role in the league?

I played a little bit with Nate for a few games on the Island, he was actually one of my first fights in the league when he went to Tampa Bay. He’s a great guy and a hell of a player. For me, I try to approach the game the same way and try to be physical. There’s a time and place for fighting and standing up for your teammates. But the game is definitely changing and you have to evolve with it or you won’t stick around. You try to evolve every day and I think there’s less and less staged fights, I think it’s more emotional. For better or worse, the game is definitely moving in another direction and as a player, you have to continue to evolve and continue to improve your game. Especially as you get older in this league, there’s all these young guys coming up, so you’ve got to bring more to the table than just fighting. You try to work at it every day and make an impact on the game in more ways than one.

 

You’re on a two-game point streak right now. What do you have to do to keep that going?

Just have to continue to play well. Right now, it’s Moore, Marner, and myself, and we have a good understanding of how we want to play right now. I think Mitchy is an elite player and he kind of uses our strengths to his advantage. He’s willing to dump the puck and let me go get it by using my physicality when it will benefit him. He understands the way to play the game effectively. A lot of times elite players want to carry the puck in all the time or don’t necessarily like the dump and chase game, but from the very first shift Mitchy was with us, he said, ‘if I’ve got the puck and I don’t have a lot of space, I’ll dump it into your corner and you go do what you do and I’ll be there support.’ Then I just try to get the puck right back to him. We’ve been able to generate a couple goals over the last few games and hopefully we can continue to do that and have a positive impact on games.

 

There’s a viral clip going around right now of you and Mitch Marner using smelling salts before a game. How did that routine start?

That’s just something we do every game. I think I started using them in junior or in my first year of pro hockey, I can’t really remember.

I’ve always done it and one day I just sort of reached over and put it under his nose and he did it, then we started doing it multiple times and then all of sudden we had a handshake. It just kind of grew from there. It’s just something we do every game now, it’s part of our routine. A lot of guys around the league use smelling salts, I think it just kind of gives you a little wake up and makes you realize it’s game time.

 

Who’s the toughest opponent you’ve ever fought?

That’s a tough question. I always have a hard time answering that. But George Parros, someone you’re really familiar with, I squared up with him once. I was pretty young when I fought him and he controlled the whole fight. He was definitely in charge of the way the fight was going.

He was throwing punches, but I thought I did a decent job of handling it because I never really got hit. It certainly didn’t feel like I controlled the fight in any way at that point in my career, but I think that’s because he was that much more experienced than me and he’s a smart fighter. It felt like it was a cat and mouse situation. For most of the fight, I was just trying not to get hit as opposed to controlling the fight itself. I didn’t take much damage in that fight thankfully. It was early in my career and he gave me a pat on the head at the end of it.

But there’s been fights where I’ve been tagged and hit hard. Ryan White broke my nose pretty clean one year fighting in Philadelphia when I was with the Islanders.

 

For your money, who is the toughest guy in the league right now?

There’s a few guys out there. I still think [Zdeno] Chara when he’s really angry, he’s scary. I think [Milan] Lucic has got to be up there. Ryan Reaves is another guy that’s up there. Those are three guys that come to the top of my mind.

 

This next question comes from Twitter. Michael wants to know what’s your favorite part about living in Toronto?

There’s a few things I love about Toronto. There’s a lot of great restaurants, but there were a lot of great restaurants in New York but similarly, in Toronto, you can go to a lot of different places to eat unbelievable food. On top of that, as big as Toronto is as a city, it’s much smaller compared to New York and you can get everywhere pretty quickly. When you live on one end of town, it doesn’t take an hour and a half to get to the other end, you can get there in 25 minutes. That’s kind of one of the perks about it, I think. There’s also a lot of pride in Toronto. The passion for the sports teams. They love their sports and all the three teams were really good last year. Toronto FC went to the Finals, the Raptors have been good for a few years with guys like [DeMar] DeRozan and [Kyle] Lowry sticking around here, and the Jays were having a good run up until this past year. It’s an exciting place for sports and they’re passionate about sports. I think there’s a lot of pride from being in Toronto. It’s just really cool to be a part of the vibe here. The fan support is second to none.

 

Some Maple Leafs fans have pointed out that you sometimes protect opponents from the boards at the tail end of an icing call. Can you tell us why it’s important for you to do that?

At the end of the day, you never really want to hurt anybody. When I first came into the league, you tried to chase down icings and touch the puck first. That was all part of the touch icing rule. Now that that’s changed, when the whistle goes, you try to protect the player from going into the boards.

I’m a physical guy, I’ll hit you if it’s clean…

 

*Reader note: Since speaking with Matt, it has been learned that he will sit out the Maple Leafs' Saturday evening game against the Flyers due to injury

My Detroit Chapter

Growing up in California, hockey was never in the limelight. I remember growing up and lacing up my first pair of skates around the age of 6 when my cousin Joey got me into hockey.  After that first time on the ice, hockey was all I ever thought about.  I was lucky enough (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) to become yet another poor soul that rooted for the Red Wings because of my Dad.  He would always tell me that someday we would go to Joe Louis Arena together, but it never happened. So, when he passed in 2013 to cancer, I told myself that I was going to work my ass off, save my money and make a trip to Detroit happen in memory of him. So on March 6th, 2015 I did just that and caught the Wings play against the Calgary Flames. Then I went again on October 12th, 2015 for the home opener against the Maple Leafs.

So of course when I heard that Detroit was going to get a new arena, I told myself that no matter what it took, I was going to attend the home opener. Actually, I think my first response was, “SERIOUSLY that’s what they’re going to call it!!??” Of course, there were a ton of f-bombs in there when I found out what the new arena was going to be called. Then I moved on to figuring out how to get there for that first game.  Being a part of the Violent Gentlemen team is pretty special as there aren’t many people in the world that are lucky enough to get time off work to go to a hockey game with the full support of the company they work for.

I won’t bore you with the details, but we had to hit Green Dot Stables for some tasty sliders before heading to the game for the red carpet entrances of the players and to pass out our new Detroit Chapter HC tee and stickers to the Red Wings faithful. I was so stoked to meet a lot of other fans and spend some time talking about this upcoming season. When I finally got to walk into the new arena, I could feel that a new chapter for Detroit had officially begun.  As much as management denies that Detroit is rebuilding, that is clearly what is happening to this franchise, but at the same time, it’s a bit of a breath of fresh air. The 25-year playoff streak ended last year along with saying goodbye to Joe Louis Arena.   

When you walk throughout the concourse of the new arena there are so many things to see and do, that you almost forget that there’s a hockey game to watch. The new arena is something that architecturally will leave you in awe and while the name might drive you a little crazy, it's easy to forget what it’s called when you’re there and immersed in the game (and with your people).

Getting to see your favorite team when they’re in another state is tough so I was intent on making the most of this game.  I walked the entire concourse looking for some more food to rip into before taking my seat and ran into so many other VG fans. It felt like I was home!!  When it was finally time to find my seat, the first thing you noticed is ridiculous scoreboard that’s oh just about - 13,500 sq. ft. with 16.5 million LED’s. There were times during the game I caught myself watching the screen instead of the game below because it was just that clear and stunning.

There were, of course, a couple Minnesota fans that had made the trip but the best part was seeing all the Red Wings faithful laughing, smiling, taking selfies and taking pictures of the arena and just taking it all in. 


As Red Wings fans we’ve been pretty spoiled these past couple years with a couple of Stanley Cup championships, tons of winning seasons, President’s trophies (otherwise known as “the kiss of death” for most teams), Hall of Fame players and owners who adore the fans and give so much back to the city of Detroit.

I am also sneaking out to Las Vegas to see my Red Wings take on the Golden Knights Friday the 13th and hope to see more of the Red Wings faithful out there.  Below are some of the highlights from the game – the first time I saw the arena, the concourse, our VG faithful, and of course that first goal at home!!!



View from the seats, what an upgrade from The Joe, not one bad seat in this barn.
That scoreboard though.
Player intros, these photos don’t do this arena justice!



Fun fact because we all enjoy a pretty sweet picture of a back printed T-shirt. These letters were actually the ones used at the old Olympia Stadium, For those that don’t know the Olympia stadium was where the Red Wings played between 1927 until 1987 when it was demolished and they moved into Joe Louis arena.


Good to see my buddy Tim who shreds on the guitar for Fit For An Autopsy, huge Islanders fan but came out to hang! Still waiting on my Ralph Macchio bobblehead Tim!


Intermissions call for hangs with some fellow Gents!

After she managed to drop my delicious beverage all over the floor, Emma was too excited to care and needed to get a pic in of her Detroit Chapter tee!


Good times with great people, till next time Detroit! Vegas you’re up next. See you on Friday, October the 13th!

Tales of Violent Gentlemen: Josh Manson

Josh Manson grew up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, a long way from Orange County. Known as the “Gateway to the North,” it’s a small community that’s nestled along the North Saskatchewan River. Manson, now a defenseman for the Anaheim Ducks, fondly recalls his time in Prince Albert, particularly the outdoor activities he did as a youngster. “I actually grew up snowboarding until I had to stop doing that because of hockey,” he told Violent Gentlemen. 

Besides hitting the slopes, Manson spent his time snowmobiling and ice fishing during the winter and soaking up the sun on the lake in the summer. It sounds like a typical Canadian upbringing, with one exception. Josh’s father was an NHL hockey player. Dave Manson was a big, hard-hitting defenseman who patrolled the blueline for teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Oilers. Over the course of his career, Dave punished opponents and racked up nearly 2,800 penalty minutes.

Today, Josh is following in his father’s footsteps but he’s looking to carve his own path. While he certainly inherited his dad’s physical characteristics and style of play – he had the second most hits on the Ducks last season – he’s eager to make a name for himself. After having a career year in Anaheim last season, Manson’s looking to build upon that success and take on a bigger role with the club.

Before Manson begins his fourth season with the Ducks, Violent Gents caught up with him to talk about his expectations for the year, his most memorable fight, and how to throw the perfect hit. 

 

Violent Gentlemen: Your dad Dave was a pretty formidable NHL defenseman in his day, how much have you modelled your game from your old man?

Josh Manson: I don’t think I modelled my game from him on purpose. If I could be a skilled guy, I’d love to be a skilled guy, but I think it was just inherited. The way he played kind of just came naturally to me. I was actually a forward when I was younger, I played rugged but when I switched to defense everything just seemed to come easier. He never pushed me in any direction and he’s always been a crutch for when I need him or have any questions. But he never pushed anything on me, which I commend him a lot for.

 

VG: Given that your father played in the NHL, it’s natural he would have influenced the way you approached the game, but who else did you aspire to play like when you were younger?

JM: You know what’s funny? I never did. I never really took to hockey that much until I moved back to Prince Albert. Even then, I wasn’t the biggest fan of hockey or the NHL. Because my Dad played it was so much different, it’s hard to explain. I think there’s two types of people when you’re the son of someone who played in the NHL. You either grew up around it and loved it and you lived for it, but I think I was on the flip side of it. I was never a fan and I never had a favorite team. To me, going to the rink with my dad was like going to work. You did the fun things that came along with it, but that was it.

 

VG: With fellow blueliners Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm on the shelf to start the year, the Ducks will likely be looking for you to take an even bigger role. How will you make the most of that opportunity?

JM: It’s a tough loss having those guys go down, but to be honest with you, I don’t think I really need to change too much. It’s nice to get those extra minutes, but sometimes you start thinking you have to do more with them, when I don’t think you really need to. I think you just take those minutes and you keep doing what you’re doing. It just looks better on the resume, playing those five extra minutes, but if you’re staying consistent, that’s the main thing. Obviously, it would be nice to contribute on the offensive side a little bit more and if that comes, great, but I’m not going to try and force it. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and as I get the opportunity to play more minutes, I’ll just keep doing that and hope everything falls into place.

 

VG: What are some of the goals you have for yourself this season?

JM: I think I definitely want to keep building physically. Last season I felt it was one of the most physical seasons that I’ve played and I played in all 82 games, which for me was a huge feat. I’ve had a couple injuries, nothing long-term, but nonetheless, it’s never good to miss games. Last year I got in all 82 and that’s definitely a goal of mine coming into this season, to play in as many games as I can but still keep up that physicality level.

 

VG: Speaking of physical play, you have 11 regular season fights under your belt, which one sticks out most to you?

JM: It wasn’t regular season, it was during the preseason and I think it’s the ones that is in most fans minds, which was my fight against Milan Lucic.

I really think it was my gateway to the NHL, if I’m being honest. It was a time where I think I stepped up and took some guys by surprise who didn’t think I could handle that kind of task. I’m a little more reserved in the room, so I was able to show them a different part of my game. I was a little quieter when I first came in. Sometimes you see a guy who is maybe a bigger body like me but you never know what he can do and when you can prove you can stand up for a teammate like that, I think it changes the dynamic of a player. It caught guys off guard. That was definitely my most memorable fight. I commend him [Lucic] for giving it to me, that was kind of my opportunity to get into the league and he didn’t have to fight a guy like me but he did.

 

VG: You mentioned that the Lucic fight is probably the one that resonates most with fans, but another would probably be when you fought Calgary’s Mark Giordano in the playoffs. Where does that one rank for you?

 

JM: That was a good one, just sticking up for a teammate. Once again, I commend him [Giordano] for setting up with a guy like me. I don’t think that normally me and him would be caught fighting, so I commend him for that. It’s one of those things that happens in hockey. That’s what I think is so great about the game, as much as people want to take out fighting, it does hold guys accountable.

Giordano’s still got that old school mentality in a way where he stood up for himself after that, where some guys may go and hide. I remember that one but I don’t think it’s as memorable. I think maybe some fans think so because from a fan’s point of view you could see how that one would be an exciting one because of that immediate revenge, payback, and satisfaction, but in my opinion, I definitely think the Lucic one was more important for my career. That one with Giordano was kind of just an old-school hockey moment.

 

VG: Where do you see fighting heading in today’s NHL?

JM: I think it’s definitely trying to be pushed out a little bit more. You can see in the junior leagues, in my first year there you could as fight as many times up to 10 but now it’s down to if you fight once you’re kicked out of the game. They’re trying to put limits on it in the development leagues. At the NHL level, I still think they’re trying to work out the fighting but I’m hoping it always has a place in hockey.

I think it should always be a part of hockey. It’s part of its history, it’s something that makes hockey unique, and just makes hockey, hockey. When you think of hockey, a lot of people think of the physicality and the fighting that goes along with that. I do hope that it stays in it and I do think it will always stay in it in some way as much as they try to push it out. I don’t think it’s ever going to go back to the level it used to be, but I still think they’ll always be a place for it in hockey.

 

VG: While fighting isn’t necessarily a huge part of your game, hitting certainly is. Last year, you led all Ducks defenseman with 227 hits. What’s the Josh Manson guide to executing the perfect hit?

JM: I think a lot of hitting is just reading the play. You’ve got to read which way the play is going. Your forwards direct the play and once you read off your forwards, you kind of see them funnel into an area and then it’s just timing; you being in that area the same time as they are.

The big hits come when a guy is not expecting you to be there and that’s when the bigger ones happen. I’ve had a couple on the penalty kill just because players are a little more unassuming, they don’t think a guy is going to step up on the penalty kill as much, and then all of a sudden, you’re there. I think being a good hitter is having the mindset to want to make the hit and not back down, reading the play, and timing it so you’re there at the right time.

 

VG: As you know, George Parros was recently named the head of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. If you assumed that position for just one day, what would you do to try to make the game safer?

JM: I think there’s a lot of dirty plays that go unnoticed, but it’s impossible to police them all. I think they’ve done a great job with protecting the vulnerability of a guy when it comes to headshots. In sending a message in that way, I think they’ve done a great job with that. I’d maybe just continue to enforce that as much as I can. I think they’ve done a great job with that so far, but other than that, hockey is hockey. You’re flying at a fast speed and everybody is training so hard now that they’re all big guys. Things are going to happen. You have a split-second to make a decision, things are going to happen and the only thing you can do is try to deter guys as much as you can from doing it.

 

VG: Speaking of George, he had the opportunity flex his acting chops in Goon: Last of the Enforcers. What’s your favorite hockey movie?

JM: I love Slap Shot, it’s a classic. I’ve watched Goon and I loved it. I haven’t seen the second one yet and I’ve got to see it, but I loved Goon when I first watched it. It was such a good story. It almost hit home, not to that extent, but the great guy that’s super tough, I love to see guys like that. So, that’s definitely one of my favorites.

 

VG: Hockey nicknames were pretty original back in the day. For example, Alf Pike was called “the Embalmer” because he was a licensed mortician in the offseason. Most of the monikers we hear today are usually short forms, but my understanding is that NHL players still give each other some pretty creative nicknames behind closed doors. What’s the best nickname in the Ducks’ dressing room that you can tell us about?

JM: I would give it to Nick Ritchie. We call him “Big Country.” I don’t know if I want to give you the origin of it or where it comes from but a lot of guys call him that. I think that’s the best one we have.

 

VG: The blog Anaheim Calling wants to know why you picked No. 42, and does it hold any significance for you?

JM: Actually, that’s funny. I was thinking of switching my number this year and I kind of got convinced by my family and the people around me just to stick with it. How I got it was just through training camp. You come in and the team gives you a number. It was my rookie number and as I played with it, I never really wanted to ask to change it. I’m not one of those guys that puts a huge significance on it, so I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers. So, I just kind of stuck with it. Now it’s been so long, that I’ve just tried to make it my own. Usually, I would go for the low numbers. In college, I was three. When my Dad played, he started out with that number, so obviously it held some importance in my heart. At the end of the day, I think I just wanted to make my own path and 42 is just a different number in my mind and it’s what I’ve had for three years now. I’ll just continue to make it my own.

 

VG: The final round of questions come from some fans on Twitter. When you’re not at the rink, Vampirra aka @Raakel_17 wants to know what’s your favorite thing to do in So-Cal? 

JM: I love golf. If I could, I’d be on the golf course every day. I’ve been spending a lot more time at the beach lately. The beach is awesome, it’s so relaxing. You leave the rink and you’ve got the whole afternoon to do whatever you want, so you go lay down at the beach for a while and just regenerate. We’re extremely fortunate to be able to play on the west coast and go to the beach. I think that’s definitely the best part. There’s a lot of places in the league where you can’t get that.

 

VG: Nutrition is important, so Michael Valleau wants to know what is your favorite meal before a game? 

JM: I’ve been on the pasta and chicken for a long, long time. It’s the easiest thing to get. I think if you wanted to make it yourself you could, but I don’t. Pasta and chicken, you can get in on the road or have it at home and it has everything you need. I’m sure that’s what most guys would say. Pretty generic.

 

VG: Here’s an interesting one for you. @OMistahJ wants to know if you could have a bench-clearing brawl, which team would you choose to face off with?

JM: Probably the team with the least number of fighters on it because that be the easiest. I don’t know who that would be though, everything changes so much. I’m sure the fans want to hear me say L.A., just so we can always get even with them.

 

VG: One of our regular readers, Ryan aka @OneTimer87, wants to know if you have a go-to style of pre-game music?

 

JM: I don’t really listen to music before a game. When I’m in the room, I don’t have headphones on. I like to listen to what’s going on around me and listen to the guys before games. But when the music is playing in the room, I like whatever is current.

 

At this point in the interview, Mike’s wife, Chantal, entered the room. Hearing the conversation taking place, she whispers Despacito.

 

VG: I think my wife wants to know if you like the song “Despacito?”

JM: A little bit ago I did, but I heard it so much I had to stop listening to it. But when it first came out, I liked it. I can’t lie, I like Bieber.

 

*Since speaking with Violent Gentlemen, Josh Manson signed a four-year contract extension with the Ducks.

 

 

 

VG x Goon: The Recap Strikes Back

 

Video By: Visual Grunt Media

Being a rookie on the Violent Gentlemen crew with just a year under my belt there are two things I know for certain: We’re batshit crazy about hockey and we know our way around a good time. Put those two together and that’s how VG events are born. We harness our passion for hockey and funnel it into an event fit for the masses. With the U.S. release of Goon: Last of the Enforcers on the horizon, we took it upon ourselves to challenge the status quo and create a unique experience. In the early stages of planning was when we realized screening the film wasn’t enough, so we doubled down and added a 2nd night of Goon action by hosting another famed VG Art Show.

When I found out the wonderful news that Goon: Last of the Enforcers was hitting the big screen in March of 2017 I was ecstatic. That excitement was slighted by the fact that March was only the release date in Canada. People like myself, fans below the U.S.’s northern border had to wait until September...

A September U.S. release seemed like an eternity compared to its Canadian debut. That “eternity” ended when we took over The Port Theater in Corona del Mar and turned it into VG headquarters once again. (cue the choir)  

The velvety blue ropes were placed with purpose to contain the patrons eager to watch the exclusive showing of this hockey flick. The doors were set to be opened at 8 pm, but that didn’t stop people from arriving hours earlier to ensure they had the best chance of getting a proper seat. While they stood in line with anticipation we were at work. One cog in the wheel that makes VG events special is the exclusive merch that is made and available for them. This event was no different with the exclusively licensed line of Goon apparel. So an important part of the set-up was having a prime spot for everyone to get their hands on this awesomely inspired gear.

We took things a step further. Each seat in the theater was graced with custom Highlanders rally towels to give the theater a resemblance of a hockey arena during playoffs.

We even had a surprise guest all the way from Halifax.

                     

That’s right Angus made it all the way to sunny Southern California to take pictures and have a couple nights of fun with the Gents. The doors opened and fans filed in only to be struck with the dilemma of deciding what Goon merch was going home with them.

What followed was what is normally on the checklist for attending a movie. Snacks and beverage of choice were purchased from the Port Theater’s great menu and the seats were filled. The only job left was for the projector to display the long awaited movie on the big screen.

A follow-up movie is like being a rookie on the first line with a proven vet. Sometimes its hard to meet expectations and coach ends up scratching them. I have good news, that doesn’t apply to Goon: Last of the Enforcers. This is said with no intent to exaggerate. Right out of the gate this movie had the crowd roaring with laughter. This film has no moniker of being “Goon 2” because it is meant to both stand alone as well as being the second chapter. ( I know, deep…) The original cast stayed intact while adding some new faces that mesh well with the tone of the flick. The hockey action didn’t disappoint, and if you pay close enough attention you may find some players that have “professional hockey player” listed before “actor” on their resume. As the movie came to an end the applause began. Smiling faces could be seen leaving the theater as the lights turned back on. Some last minute shopping was done by the few that didn’t take part before the movie started. Once they finished we closed down shop packed everything up and set our efforts towards the next night.

SoCal was in the midst of a heat wave in late August. Luckily for all in attendance, the second night of this event took a turn for the cooler. Literally, We had the art show in a hockey rink. An art show inspired by a hockey movie at a hockey rink. Pretty genius if you ask me. As we arrived and were setting up, youth hockey clinics were taking place only adding to the ambiance. The doors were set to be opened at 8 pm. That was slightly altered due to said youth clinics. (That ambiance really bit us in the ass). Angus was tasked with keeping the lengthy line entertained while the finishing touches were made.

We transformed a standard Olympic ice rink into something truly special. Lights? We didn’t need them. We brought our own and placed them decisively to make sure the focus was on the art. Custom banners hung over the player's bench that boasted the names of worthy Highlanders.

Our merch table found its' home for the evening and featured new products that accompanied the ones available from the night before. We also had limited prints of some the awesome pieces of art that were submitted and on display at the event.

                                 
                                           
Find these prints in our Goon Collection

The Penalty box was given the night off and was tasked with the duties being a photo booth fitted with sticks, gloves, and helmets for people to capture their excitement. Angus thought he was receiving multiple minor penalties because of how much time he spent in there taking pictures with fans. All the awesome pics can be found here. The original Goon movie was also being projected in black and white with the sound off to add an artistic “cherry on top” to the event.

Quick question, what’s an art show with out art? If I had to guess It’s probably just a bunch of confused people staring at blank walls. Luckily we had featured pieces from these talented artists: Luke Wessman, Gustavo Jaimes, Jay Weinberg, Blake Stevenson, Doc Reed, DKNG, Unsung MFG, Johnny Vampotna, London Reese, Billy Baumann, Forefathers Group. They were able to pull themes from the movie and create truly unique pieces of art. Make sure to give them a follow if you’re on social media. If you’re not on social media, realize it's 2017, step your game up, get on social media and give them a follow.                  

            

VG is “humongous big” fan of commitment as Bryzgalov would so eloquently put it.

To reward the commitment for everyone in attendance who RSVP’d on our Eventbrite page we had a raffle. We dusted off our golden raffle ticket drum to give away a Warrior Hockey stick signed by the cast of Goon: Last of the Enforcers. We’re no one trick pony though. That's why we threw some gift cards into the mix (none of the wimpy $10 b.s.). We were raffling off some beaucoup bucks to our site. The biggest one being a mammoth $200. The silent crowd stood in anticipation as numbers echoed through the rink. Only to be interrupted by the exclamation of excitement from the ones who heard their numbers called.

 

Eventually, all the prizes had been claimed the music was cranked back up and before we knew it the event had reached the finish line, and I'd like to think everyone who was there was a winner. 

Violent Gentlemen wants to extend a huge thank you to both The Port Theater and Anaheim Ice for being stellar hosts. The biggest thank you of all goes to everyone who made it out! Whether it was one night or both nights, without rad people coming out for a good time we’d be a bunch of dudes just standing around wondering if we forgot to send out the invites. Keep your ear to the ground for rumblings of our upcoming events. See you next time.

 

Tales of Violent Gentlemen: Deryk Engelland

  If you had to place a bet on who would be the first player to get into a fight as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights, odds are you’d pick Deryk Engelland. The veteran defenseman has racked up nearly 50 regular season fights in his NHL career.

Fighting has always been a part of his game, and although Engelland is 35-years-old now, he doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon. This year, he’ll be patrolling the blue line for the Golden Knights, but he’s no stranger to Las Vegas. He started his career there in the East Coast Hockey League and it’s now where he and his family call home.

Before Engelland and the Golden Knights start their historic season, Violent Gents caught up with him to talk about the bright lights of Las Vegas and how he’ll be bringing his brand of hockey to the Strip.

Violent Gentlemen: How did you feel when you were selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft?  

Deryk Engelland: As a free agent, I didn’t really think I’d be involved in the expansion draft. I was kind of surprised when they used their window to talk to me. That suggested to me they were interested. That was the first real glimpse of it. So, on the Sunday there was a possibility. We kind of waited and paced around all day Monday. Then, on Tuesday, we got a deal worked out and they told me they wanted to take me. So, really, on the Tuesday afternoon before the expansion draft, that’s when it all came into place for us.

 

VG: A lot of players worry about trades and new signings, but you and your family live in Summerlin in the offseason. What did signing with the Golden Knights mean to you and your family?

DE: It meant a lot. I’m getting up there in age, I’m 35 now, so hopefully, I’ve got a few more good years left, but to be able to come home and play in front of friends and family means the world. My kids get to stay in their school with all their friends and my wife doesn’t have to quit her job. It meant a lot to be able to come home and be a part of the whole process here.I get to play at home and take my boys to games in Vegas. It’s where it all started for me with my career in the East Coast Hockey League.

 

VG: You were reunited with former teammate Marc Andre-Fleury. What will he bring to the club this season?

DE: He’s a great goaltender. He’s won three Cups. He didn’t finish last year, but without him in net, that Washington series could’ve gone the other way. He’s a world class goalie, but he’s a great friend and he’s always fun to be around. There’s never a bad day for that guy. He comes to the rink happy. He just brings excitement. Whether it’s drills or bag skates, he’s doing something funny and making it a lot more fun with him in there.

 

VG: Some people like to joke that Vegas will have an incredible home record against visiting teams. Do you think there’s any truth to that?

DE: It doesn’t matter what city you’re in, whether it’s New York or wherever. If you want to go out and have a drink or two or too many, you’re going to do it no matter what city you’re in. I think everyone at this level can be professional about everything. You pick your spots for when’s a good time to go out with the boys. If you’re going out all the time, it’s going to catch up with you and you’re not going to be able to perform to the level you want.

 

VG: You’re one of the elder statesmen on the roster this season, how do you see your role in helping the young guys on and off the ice?

DE: I’ve been trying to be a good leader wherever I’m at. There’s different ways you can do that. Taking guys out for lunch on the road or here in town, little things like that make the difference. Sometimes when they’re plugging away in the AHL, they’re not making as much money, so you treat ‘em and it goes a long way. When they’re in the same situation, they’ll be doing that for the younger guys as well. Taking the young guys under your wing is a huge part of playing.

 

VG: You racked up a lot of penalty minutes in the early part of your career, but you’ve tapered off over the last few years. How has your approach to the game changed?

DE: I just try to stay out of the box with those little penalties that hurt your team. If you’re in the right position, you stay away from those penalties. Fighting is still a part of my game and that’s where I get the majority of my penalty minutes these days.

 

VG: You had nine fights last season, do you expect to continue this type of play with the Golden Knights?

DE: That’s been my role my whole career. That’s how I got to this level, so it’s a big part of my game. I like to go out there and protect the boys after a bad hit or something like that. If the team’s not playing well go, I’ll try to go out there and find a spark. Even if I’m not having a good game, I’ll try to go out and find one and maybe it changes my game around.

 

VG: You’ve racked up a lot of fights in your career, who was the toughest opponent you’ve ever faced?

DE: Oh god, there’s been a lot. Obviously, I fought McGrattan once and he dropped me, so that wasn’t a highlight. He’s a tough guy.

Colton Orr, I had great fights with him all the way from junior until now.

There’s so many guys I could name off that are extremely tough in different ways, but there’s not one that sticks out more than the others.  

 

VG: In your opinion, who’s the toughest guy in the league right now?

DE: Ryan Reaves is one of the tougher guys in the league right now. He’s a big guy and he throws hammers. But pound for pound, I’d say Tanner Glass. He’s a tough guy and he fights everyone. He’s not the biggest guy but he’s a good fighter.

Another guy that comes to mind is Michael Ferland. I don’t think he’s quite figured out just how tough he is yet. Once he settles in and fights a couple heavy weights and finds out how tough he is, I think he can do some damage.

He throws heavy, but I don’t think he has the confidence yet. Over time, I think when he gets a few more fights under his belt he’ll be able to see how well he can handle himself and that will do him a lot of good.

 

VG: These next few questions come from our readers and fans of the Golden Knights.

 The Sin Bin wants to know who’s your realtor, and how much of a commission is he or she giving you for all these NHL player referrals?

DE: I don’t even know my realtor’s last name, I just know him as Chowder. He’s been my realtor for the last few houses and he’s a friend. I’ve been hooking him up a little bit but I haven’t worked out a commission with him yet. Maybe if I do some real estate stuff in the future, he’ll cut me a little bit of a deal.

 

VG: David aka @ItsMcAvoy73 is curious as to who was your favourite player growing up?

DE: It’s tough not to go with Gretzky. I grew up in the Edmonton area and my family were all diehard Oilers fans, so you are kind of bred into it, especially during the dynasty era in the ‘80s. It would be tough not to go with him or Paul Coffey. It would be one of those two for me.

 

VG: Matthew Macaskill aka @habsology has a tough one for you. He wants to know who will be the first Golden Knights captain?

DE: That is a tough question. Not being around all the guys yet, you don’t know everybody’s personality or how vocal they are or what their tendencies are on and off the ice. Right now, it’s anyone’s guess. I don’t think I could even answer that right now. Jason Garrison, maybe. I’d throw his name out there.

 

VG: Fletch aka @hawkeyguy says that someone always surprises at each NHL camp. Who do you think has flown under the radar and will open eyes of team management?

DE: Off the top of my head, Alex Tuch. He’s coming in from Minnesota and was a really high draft pick. I was able to see him at the rookie development camp and watching him for some scrimmages, I hate to say it, but it looked like it was a man playing against boys. He was bigger and stronger than everybody else. Being in Minnesota, obviously they’re pretty deep, so coming here he has a good opportunity to turn some heads and push for a spot.

 

VG: Ryan aka @OneTimer87 wants to know, craps or roulette?

DE: I’m more of a roulette guy. Craps is too up and down for me.

 

VG: David aka @david_spurs_99 has got ice cream on the brain. He wants to know what’s your favorite flavor?

DE: I’m more of a frozen yogurt guy, but right now it’s definitely salted caramel pecan.

 

VG: We’re not sure what Rob Lee aka @GreenBosoms listens to, but he wants to know what’s your favorite music to get you pumped up before a game?

DE: I’m not too picky with music before games or anything. I’m kind of all over the map, I listen to everything. It all depends on my mood. Sometimes it’s heavy metal on the way to the rink, sometimes it’s rap. Sometimes my family is driving me and the kids are screaming in the back. There’s a good mix of it all.

 

VG: Finally, speaking of tunes, what should the Golden Knights goal song be for next year?

DE: That’s really tough. I would have to say something along the lines of Chicago’s goal song. Something that’s really catchy, so much so that when they score against you, you’re singing it in your head on the ice, even when you shouldn’t be. My wife just said as long as it’s not “Viva Las Vegas.”

VG x GOON: Penalty Box Photos

 Click on a photo to open the gallery. Enjoy.
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Tales of Violent Gentlemen: Nate Thompson

 Nate Thompson is a warrior. He plays his game with an edge, and although he doesn’t fight as often as when he first broke into the league more than ten years ago, he can still throw his fists when he needs to.

 Off the ice, he battles just as hard. Last year, he missed most of the regular season while he recovered from an Achilles’ tendon injury. With fierce training and determination, however, he returned to form and was an integral part of Anaheim’s playoff run to the Conference Final.

 After spending the last three seasons with the Ducks, not far from Violent Gentlemen HQ, Thompson is heading north to play for the Ottawa Senators. Before Nate trades the sunshine of Southern California for Canadian winter, Violent Gents caught up with him to talk about his NHL experiences and his upcoming transition. 

 

Violent Gentlemen: You’re among a handful of active NHL players who hail from Alaska. What was it like growing up in Anchorage?

 Nate Thompson: It was a great place to grow up. With the winter, we had a lot of time to be outside and play at the outdoor rinks and on the ponds. I think that was one of the biggest things I remember about growing up and playing hockey in Alaska, is being able to skate outside for such long periods of time. I feel like I really improved as a player by doing that. We had a lot of pretty good players in the minor hockey system who came out of Anchorage, but we had to leave the state to get our real competition. If we played in Alaska we usually just beat everybody. Overall, being able to experience the outdoors, to fish and hunt and do all those things and play hockey, it was just a wholesome way to grow up.

 

VG: Alaska has an abundance of wildlife, and you’re an avid angler and hunter. What’s your best fishing story?

 NT: I actually caught my first red salmon on a Snoopy pole. You know, one of those rods you get from a toy store. I was just sitting on the bank and I was fishing for a little bit. I was two or three years old at the time, so obviously my attention span was a little short. I laid my pole out on the rocks and ran off and did whatever two or three-year olds do at that age.

So, my Dad walks over to my Snoopy pole and sees that the rod was bent. Once he realized there was a fish on it, he grabbed it. The fish didn’t really realize it was hooked yet, it was just kind of swimming around, so he managed to get it to come in closer. Just before the Snoopy pole was about to snap, he tackled the fish right on top of the water and was able to push it up onto the bank. That’s how I caught my first fish. I was hooked.

 

VG: You’re from the north, but since 2009 you’ve been playing in warm climates of Tampa Bay and Anaheim, how will you cope with Canadian winter this season?

 NT: Warm coats, hats, gloves, and boots! I think it’s going to be fun. I’ve been playing in warm weather for a while now, but I’m pretty excited to play in hockey weather. The holidays will feel more like the holidays. I’m also getting to play in a Canadian market, which is even better. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I don’t think the change in the culture and weather should be too difficult.

 

VG: What drew you to sign with the Senators this past summer?

 NT: I think it was a number of things. Obviously, when a team is interested in you that’s always good. When a team wants you, you’re excited to go there. Knowing how well they did and seeing their success, they’re in a window to win right now so that’s exciting.

 

VG: You’ve been coached by Guy Boucher before when you were with the Lightning, how do you think it will be to adjust to his system in Ottawa?

 NT: I’ve played with Guy Boucher when I was in Tampa, so I have that familiarity with him so that definitely helps. I think it will be an easy transition. I think playing for Guy before, knowing his system and what he expects, knowing how he coaches, that’s going to make it a lot easier for me. He already knows what type of player I am and what I can bring to the table. I think for me, I’m just going to try to be a complementary player and go in there and play my game and do the things that made me successful and kept me in the league for so long. I think that’s the biggest thing, just going in there and be myself and just try to help the team win.

 

VG: You sat out most of the 2016-17 regular season while you recovered from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. What was the key for you to battle back from this serious injury?

 NT: I’ve always been a guy who works hard and trains hard, but I don’t think I’ve ever trained that hard in my entire life. As soon as I got hurt, I was going to the gym right away, even when I was in a walking boot. I was really taking it to another level. I think that because I took it that seriously, I was able to stay on top of it. It was the hardest I ever trained and that hardest I’ve ever gone to get back. I think that helped me mentally too. Whenever you go through a serious injury like that, the mental part is even harder than the physical. I think it was just believing that I can come back and still be a really good player and be effective.

 

VG: Can you describe what the Violent Gentlemen means to you?

 NT: I think Violent Gentlemen means more than fighting. Obviously, that’s a part of it, but I think you can use it in many different ways. You can use it in hockey and in many other sports. I think that’s the coolest thing about the brand and the logo, is that it has so many different meanings. You look at how we go out there and kill each other in a playoff series and then after we’re shaking hands. I think especially in hockey, that is exactly what Violent Gentlemen is.

 

VG: You don’t fight as often as when you first came into the league. How has your game changed since you’ve established yourself as a full-time NHL player?

 NT: When I came up from the minors I fought more back then. I’m a guy that will still fight when I have to and stick up for teammates, I don’t mind it. But, I think it’s one of those things that as I got further into my career, I started to have more of an impact on the game. Whether it’s taking face-offs or killing penalties, I was being used up and down the lineup. I think the biggest thing for me was having that impact and being a player who was used in different situations, I think that that’s one of the reasons I started to fight less was because I was playing more. When you’re playing more minutes, you need to be on the ice.

 

VG: Who’s the toughest opponent you’ve fought?

 NT: There’s a few that come to mind.

 I fought Dan Carcillo, he was a tough guy. There’s certain guys who you fight against and they throw punches differently than others, and he’s one of those guys who throws heavy punches.

 

 Fighting Tim Gleason was another one where I was punching way above my weight class. That was one where I was hoping I’d get in and get out pretty quickly.

 

 Mike Brown was a guy who would hit you three or four times before you even threw a punch.

 

 Another guy who was always ready to fight no matter what was Ian Laperrière. He just always showed up.  

 I respect all those guys, it’s not an easy job. I don’t consider myself as someone who fights all the time, but I know what it’s like. I have the utmost respect for all the guys who do it night in and night out. I think it’s so undervalued and still a huge part of our sport.

 

VG: You wouldn’t be cast as an enforcer, but you certainly have that edge to your game. Where do you see the role of that type of player in the game going in the coming years?

 NT: I think it has been evolving the last few years. You see the guys that fight and the guys who are still playing regular shifts. You look at a guy like Matt Martin, he’s kind of the prototypical enforcer now. He’s a guy who will fight anybody but plays a lot of quality minutes and usually leads the league in hits every year. You have guys like that and that’s where I think the enforcer role is going. You’re not going to see a guy who’s going to play two or three minutes, fight, and be done for the night. We’re in a time now in the league where coaches are using all four lines to win, so every guy has to be able to play.

 

VG: Pound for pound, who’s the toughest player in the league?

 NT: When I think of the toughest guy in the league I think of Ryan Reaves, I think everybody would probably agree. But pound for pound? I’m trying to think of a smaller guy who can chuck ‘em pretty good. I fought that Ferland kid from Calgary and he’s a pretty tough kid. He can chuck ‘em pretty good, so I’d put him in that category.

 

VG: Kyra Gaylor (@kyragaylor) wants to know what was your favourite moment as a member of the Anaheim Ducks?  

 NT: There’s a few really good ones but I think I’d have to go with when we were down 3-0 against Edmonton with three minutes left and came back to win it in double overtime. It’s hard to top that just because I don’t think that will ever be done again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv6NXJv37Y0 

 

VG: Looking ahead to next season, what are you looking forward to most about joining the Ottawa Senators?

 NT: I’m looking forward to being in Canada and playing for a Canadian team and getting to experience playing against Montreal and Toronto. Getting to experience Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays, all those things you watch when you’re on the road in Canada. Just the novelty of it, you know, Don Cherry and Ron MacLean, all that stuff, those are the things I’m excited about. And obviously going to Ottawa and getting the chance to win. It’s the best of both worlds, you get to go to Canada and play in a great market and be on a good team.

 

VG: This one actually comes from Hammer at Violent Gents. Your roommate and best friend just finished an extensive training program. What inspired Eddie to become a professional good boy?

 NT: I think what inspired him was that he gets more treats and he gets more praise. It’s like anything, you do a good job and you get rewarded.

 Good boy, that Eddie.

Tales of Violent Gentlemen - Ryan Reaves

Violent Gents Q and A: Ryan Reaves and Enforcing the Game

For the past seven years, Ryan Reaves patrolled the ice for the St. Louis Blues. During that time, he racked up 695 penalty minutes and was engaged in nearly 60 regular season fights. Now, the hard hitting forward finds himself on a new journey, as he was recently traded to the reigning Stanley Cup C

hampions, the Pittsburgh Penguins. As Reaves prepares to take his style of play to Steel City, Violent Gentlemen caught up with him to talk to him about his role in the game and what he can expect as he transitions into black and gold.

 

Violent Gentlemen: What does the Violent Gentlemen brand mean to you?

Ryan Reaves: It’s tough for people to realize the job that some of these guys do, and especially ten years ago and before that. I think that everybody has the misconception that when you’re a fighter on the ice, you’re a boxer or an MMA fighter, and that’s your personality off the ice too. And that couldn’t be anymore wrong for 95% of us. I don’t have that mentality off the ice at all. I’m definitely not a big confrontation guy when I’m off the ice. I like to joke around a lot, I like making people laugh. You look at other guys around the league, you look at [George] Parros, who is an absolute genius, [Kevin] Westgarth and these guys who have college degrees and are really smart. You just don’t see that side of guys when you’re looking at the ice.

 

VG: Where were you when you found out you were getting traded to Pittsburgh?

RR: I was in my basement playing ping pong with my brother. I completely forgot it was the draft and one of my buddies, Chris Stewart, called me and asked if I was getting traded. I said, ‘I don’t think so,’ but right before that, Blues GM Doug Armstrong actually texted me and told me to call him. So, I jumped on Twitter quick and I looked at some of the rumours and it said I was getting traded for what looked like a first rounder. The next one said ‘Reaves for Crosby,’ so I texted my buddy back and said, ‘I don’t know what you’re looking at or why you’re believing what’s on Twitter.’ But then I called Army back and he said I was traded to Pittsburgh.

 

VG: You’ve spent your entire NHL career in St. Louis. What do you think it will be like to go back there in February when the Blues host the Penguins?

RR: Luckily, I get to get one of them out of the way right away, we open at home against St. Louis. I don’t know what it’s going to be like to go back to St. Louis, obviously it’s going to be an emotional day. I’m hoping I get a round of applause, immediately followed by some boos because I wrecked somebody on the team. That’s how I’m hoping that day goes.

 

VG: How do you feel about moving to the Eastern Conference?

RR: I’m not exactly sure. I think a lot of the times you play in the East, it’s a little more wide open, it’s not as tight checking, and not as much physical play at times. But that’s me just playing every team there once in a while.  

 

VG: The two players who led the league in hits last season were both from the Eastern Conference, and they each tallied more than 300 of them. You surpassed the 200 mark for the fourth-straight season, do you think you’ve got 300 hits in you for this year?

RR: You know what, that’s a tough stat because different rinks score hits different way. I know there’s rinks where you can rub a guy out very gently and get a hit, and there’s other rinks where unless the guy is on his back crawling back to the bench you won’t get a hit. I think that’s more just the rinks you play in more.

 

VG: When Penguins GM Jim Rutherford traded for you, he said, “We won the Cup two years in a row, and teams played us even harder than they usually do.” How do you think your style of play will lend itself to the ultimate goal of winning that third straight championship this season?  

RR: I’ve been on the other side of that against Pittsburgh. When I was with St. Louis, it was always get after their top guys, play them physical. I think I’m going to step in and my presence might make guys think twice. I think I have a good enough reputation around the league that if you’re going to go after my top players, you’re going to spark a little something in me and I’m going to come after you. I think I molded my game now to be a little quicker now so I can catch some of those top guys in a game, so I think, first and foremost, I’m bringing some presence to that team.

 

VG: In terms of deployment, in addition to your tough style of play, do you envision transitioning into more penalty kill time in Pittsburgh the way you did in St. Louis?

RR: I would definitely like to be on the penalty kill. I used to kill when I was younger and I really enjoyed it. I took a lot of pride when I was doing it, so if it’s something I can step into and help the team do, I’d definitely love to do that.

 

VG: Who has been your biggest influence as a player?

RR: I’ve always said Alex Steen was my favorite player. Obviously, I don’t play his style at all, but the work ethic he brings to the team and the battles he gets himself into really inspired me. He’s definitely been an inspiring player to play with.

 

VG: How about when you were younger, who did you look up to?

RR: I always liked Patrick Roy, believe it or not. I liked being a street hockey goalie. I liked playing goalie on the ice too, I just didn’t do it a whole lot. I was always a big Avalanche fan when I was younger, so Patrick Roy was my number one guy, but Peter Forsberg was another guy. He was powerful on the puck, and he brought the puck to the net with purpose. He was big on the fore-check and he had a lot of skill too, he was a hell of a plyer. He would be the player I look up to the most.

 

VG: Some people believe that the era of enforcers is coming to an end. How do you see your role in the game?

RR: I think it’s still a very necessary part of hockey. I think we’re going to an area right now where they’re trying to eliminate the role and you’re going to see a lot of superstars go down because there’s nothing to answer to. In my gut, I think we’re going to see a lot less fighting in the next five years, but then things are going to pick back up again. I think there will be a lot more enforcers and players like me coming back into the league. I don’t think the NHL can afford to lose superstars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

 

VG: Do you recall your first fight? What was going through your mind.

RR: It was actually in my first game. I remember George Parros was chasing me around the ice the first period, and I was like, ‘let me get a couple shifts under my belt and then we’ll talk.’ If you’re going to have to go Parros, that’s a hell of a way to start your career. Before that happened, Kyle Chipchura came after me after I ran somebody.

So, we started throwing and all of a sudden, all my equipment’s off. I guess all the adrenaline of playing in my first game, I didn’t have my strap tied down. I finished that game with two minutes of ice time, three hits, and 15 minutes of penalties. Quite the first game.

 

VG: Speaking of George, you and him have some history. What do you recall from when the two of you tussled in Montreal back in 2013?

RR: I just took a run at Doug Murray, and I don’t know why Dougie just didn’t come after me, but Parros came out for the draw and I knew he was looking right me. It was actually right after that big fall of his where he got that concussion, so I remember we were both throwing and catching each other with some.

At the very end he went, and I looked at him to make sure he was okay and gave him a tap on the pads. All I remember was, he kind of fell weird on the ice after the fight was over, and I just didn’t want him to hit his head again. He’s another guy who I had a lot of respect for.

 

VG: Who was the toughest opponent you’ve ever faced?

RR: By far, Brian McGrattan. We had been jostling for a couple of games before the fight and when we faced off, they were killing us in the game, they just had all the momentum. I looked at him and said, ‘let’s go’ and he looked at me like I wasn’t serious.

The puck dropped and I dropped my gloves, and I’m pretty sure I cut him over his eye but when I got back to the box, I had four golf balls on the top of my head.

I woke up the next morning and my neck was stiff. I remember that day was Super Bowl Sunday and I could not move my head to save my life. But it was a good fight though. I think we both caught each other a couple times, but that was definitely the hardest fight I’ve been a part of.

 

VG: For your money, who is the most underrated tough guy in the NHL? That question comes from Twitter user @koobs87

RR: I might be a little biased here, but I’ve got to say Chris Stewart. He throws both, he’s a big boy. He fights a little different than I do. He gets really amped up, the adrenaline is pumping, and you can see it in his face when he fights. I think he’s one of the more underrated fighters in the league.

 

VG: You have the physical side to your game, but you also set career highs in goals and points last year. How have you adapted your game and style over the past few years?

RR: A lot of it has to do with my summer training. I used to go to the gym and sit there for three hours, strictly pumping iron and trying to get as big and strong as I could. I still skated, but I think I focused too much on the strength aspect. I was also five or six pounds heavier when I was doing that. Over the last year, I did a lot less weights and a lot more powerful movements with my legs. A lot of jumping, a lot of jumps with weighted vests, I skated with weighted vests, and did sprints. I didn’t sit in the gym for three hours. I did a workout where I could still be strong but where I didn’t get too big, and I definitely skated a lot more. I skated with a coach down in St. Louis, I did one-on-one sessions with him for a week, two times last summer and I then brought that back to Winnipeg with me. I think I just focused more on power in my legs, getting faster, and the skill aspect of hockey.

 

VG: The blog St. Louis Game Time wanted me to ask you this one. Who would you rather fight, Chaser [Kelly Chase] straight up or Panger [Darren Pang] with your right hand tied behind your back?

RR: Darren Pang with both hands tied behind my back. Wait, does Panger get a chair to stand up when he fights me or is he fighting on the ground?

 

VG: They didn’t specify…

RR: Those are big factors. If he has a chair then maybe I’ll just have my left hand undone, but if he’s on the ground he can’t reach that high so I’ll have both hands tied behind my back.

 

VG: Here’s another one from Twitter. @MisterMcJacob wants to know if you think you’ll finish with more fights than goals next year?

RR: I’m going to go with a split. I think I’m going to have ten of each next season.

 

VG: We’ll finish with another hard hitting and very important question from Twitter. @taeksguy wants to know if you like pineapple on your pizza?

RR: I do, I’m a Hawaiian guy, I don’t mind pineapple on pizza. I used to hate it back in the day, so it’s a new thing for me. It can’t be overbearing though, a couple pieces on every slice. You start getting too crazy and it’s too sweet of a pizza.

 

 

Tales of Violent Gentlemen - The Warehouse Crew

Meet Some of Our Violent Gentlemen

We know how excited you are when your Violent Gentlemen order arrives, and our crew is just as enthusiastic about putting it altogether for you. Although every package includes a tag that notes who bundled your purchase, it’s just a name. For you to better appreciate the work that goes into it, we wanted you to get to know the guys who actually make it happen, Chewey and Hunter. It’s only fitting. After all, they already know where you live, the least we can do is give you some insights about the gentlemen behind the scenes.

How long have you been working at Violent Gentlemen?  

Chewey: It's been a solid 2 and half years with these guys. 

Hunter: I would say about a year and some change.

 

Tell us something about Violent Gentlemen that we wouldn’t know. 

Hunter: At no point in time are we allowed to play Sublime in the warehouse.

Chewey: I’m pretty sure everyone here is a fan of Taylor Swift.

Do you actually have a process for how the candy and hockey cards go into each order? 

Chewey: No, I'll just toss one in every order. Unless you have a cool name or a familiar address/city I might throw in two. 

Hunter: I like to go greeting card, sticker, hockey card, my card, and then gummy bears but that’s just me.

          

If you were a character from Slap Shot, who would you? 

Hunter: Paul Newman of course, he’s my Dad.

Chewey: Steve Hanson (I'M LISTENING TO THE F****ING SONG!) 

Do you have an all-time hockey fighting moment?

Chewey: No, when I want to look up some good shots, I’ll just YouTube my boss.

Hunter: When I found out one of my bosses was George Parros, I looked up all his fights on YouTube. So, I would have to say when he knocked down Riley Cote in 2007-08 is my favorite. Watching one of my bosses knock someone down to the ground like that was epic. Still funny that someone as nice and generous as George used to beat people up for a living.

 

How do you take your Violent Gentlemen coffee

Hunter: I’d say mildly hot with a decent amount of creamer. I’m new to the coffee game so drinking it black is terrible, but I use less and less creamer each time.

Chewey: I usually like a little coffee with my creamer.

 

What tune should the Golden Knights use for their goal song? 

Chewey: “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine would be hard.

Hunter: Probably any Every Time I Die song they’re allowed to play in the arena.

 

What was the last album you downloaded?

Chewey: California by Blink 182.

Hunter: Jay-Z’s 4:44, it’s the best thing I’ve heard all year.        

 

What's your top experience at a Violent Gentlemen event? 

Hunter: Probably beating Brian in Ping Pong at the last sale we had. Big crowd, big game, big win for me.

Chewey: This is a hard question, but one of my favorites would be when the VG boys all went out to Phoenix and met up with the band Every Time I Die at Top Golf. We crushed some balls and appetizers. 

 

Who is an athlete you’d like to see decked out in Violent Gentlemen?

Chewey: Phil Kessel. He’s just normal dude with a Dad bod tearing it up on ice. I would like to see him with some VG gear. 

Hunter: I think if we got Mike Trout to rep some VG gear that would be so awesome. Best outfielder in baseball and he’s local to the Ducks and to us.

 

We hope this gives you a better appreciation for Chewey and Hunter, and all of the hard work they do here at Violent Gentlemen.

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