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Interview with former Av´ Chris Dingman

Interview with former Av´ Chris Dingman Eurolanche did an interview with Chris Dingman about his career in the NHL and memories of Avalanche hockey.

Chris Dingman (born in 1976) was picked up by Calgary Flames 19th overall at the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Then he spent one more season in the WHL playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings to complete his four-year stint in juniors. In the next three seasons, he got only a little opportunity in Calgary and has become famous for his toughness and forchecking style. During the 1998/99 season, he was traded along with Theo Fleury to the Colorado Avalanche for Rene CorbetWade Belak and Robyn Regehr. Dingman spent two full seasons in Denver, won the Stanley Cup in 2001, played in the final game of the playoffs series against New Jersey Devils and in total collected 13 points in 110 regular season games (4 assists in 16 playoffs games).

After winning the Stanley Cup, the Avs traded Dingman to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 5th round pick in the 2001 draft (Mikko Viitanen). He spent just the first part of the following season in Carolina and was moved again, now to the Tampa Bay Lightning along with Shane Willis for Kevin Weekes. Finally, he had found a home for more seasons to come – he played three full seasons with Tampa and won his second Stanley Cup in 2004.

Chris (red cyrcle) with his Lightning´s teammates and the Cup.

Dingman was scratched for the last two games of the series between Tampa Bay and  the Ottawa Senators in 2006 after the incident with Chris Neil who turtled down when Dingnam started to punching him and received 7 penalty minutes. It was his last game in the NHL. He played two more years in Sweden and Denmark. He retired due the concussions in 2008. Follow Chris on his Twitter @dingdish.

Calgary Flames picked you of 19th place overall. My opinion is that you got a little opportunity to show your skills there – you played in only 72 games until 1999. Weren´t you disappointed?

Yes, very disappointed. One year had a good preseason and start to year, then team struggled early and got put on the fourth line, and from there it was tough to contribute offensively.

You were traded to the Colorado Avalanche in a pack with the legendary Theo Fleury. What are your memories on him as a teammate?

Theo was a good guy, had some issues that came out later, but was cool to me, he was fearless. He could drink 14 vodka cranberries the night before a game and go out the next day and score a goal and assist. Crazy, funny guy. I was working out one day and he said "What are you doing ?". Said "Working out", he says "Never seen a dumbbell score a goal!"

Chris Dingman with his first Stanley Cup.

What are your memories on your two seasons in Colorado Avalanche? Maybe you can add some funny story if you would like.

Time with the Avs was awesome, great players, and even better guys! Scored a goal in practice one time on Patrick Roy, came down the next time, he gave half the net to shoot at on the glove side, so of course I shoot there, he snatches it with his glove, tosses it at me in the corner and says not this time kid! With a smile. Adam Foote was miserable to practice against, tough, would trip, hold, and the one time I would knock him down, Bob Hartley would scream at me.

How was that to play in the Stanley Cup Final Game 7 in 2001? Definitely, one of the best Finals ever.

Game 7 was awesome, after winning game 6 we knew if we had a good start we would win game 7. On the bus after game 6 Ray Bourque gave a nice little speech to fire up the guys. The last minute of game 7 seemed like an eternity!

Can you describe us your post-game celebration and your 24 hours with the Cup later in the summer?

Post game was great, family, friends. Shjon Podein wore his equipment for 24 hours, skates and all. Walked around the concrete, inside the bar, hilarious! Just great to sit back, have a cold one and be like did that really just happen?

You won the Cup again with Tampa Bay Lightning three years later. What part of your career does mean more to you? Colorado or Tampa Bay?

Both are important, Colorado had established stars, and we expected to win, and anything less was a failure. In Tampa, we had young up and coming stars, we got on a roll, and we weren't going to be denied

You were scratched fort last two Tampa Bay´s playoffs games in 2006. Was it kind of a punishment for the incident with Chris Neil in your last NHL game? Have you ever regretted that incident?

I guess it was a punishment, but John Tortorella told me in front of the whole team to go grab someone, so I do and he benches me. That is something that still bothers me that he didn't come out and say he sent me out to fight. I won at every level I played, and would never do anything that would hurt my team! 

Do you think the fight with Salvador was the best of you career?

Salvador was good, had a good one with bad brown, 5-6 with Probert that I won a couple. Any fight that your nose isn't broken, and you are not seeing stars after is a good one. Ha!

How did you enjoy your last two years in Sweden and Denmark? It had to be completely different than in the NHL...

Sweden and Denmark were cool. Really enjoyed Sweden, the guys were great, super nice, all about winning, and was a lot of fun, very similar to Canada. Drove a red station wagon with big blue S on the doors.

Why did you retire of hockey at the age of 32? What did you do after the retirement and what do you do now?

Retired because had some concussions, it was hard to get jobs over in Europe because people believed I was only a fighter which was disappointing. Loved playing, but it seemed like it was playing for the sake of playing and prolonging the next step of my life. I currently do pre-post game and intermission analysis for the Lightning and have a morning radio show on 987thefan  from 6-9 am every morning.

Sources of all photos: hhof.com, lightning.nhl.com, avalanchedb.com and steffanyhanlen.com


David Puchovsky, Slovakia, eurolanche@eurolanche.com
16/08/2013 - 20:30 Eurolanche book - banner

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