Many of you know about the Herm2Hockeytown event going on in March, bringing Guilherme Calciolari to his first Red Wings game in Detroit. Guilherme, or Herm for short, is an author over on Red Wings Brasil and is a frequent visitor around the Red Wings blogosphere.
Anyway, we shot a few questions Herm's way, in attempt to open up the story even more and give you a little bit of background on his love for hockey.
First off, I think people want to know how a guy in Brazil, the motherland of some of the best soccer players in history, becomes an avid hockey fan. So how exactly did you start to like hockey? Did you start liking the sport in general or did it start with the Wings and then the rest of the sport followed?
Two reasons: video game and movies. I was born in 1988, so I was 4 years old when Mighty Ducks came out. It was all laughs and all, nothing serious about it. Then I got a Mega Drive, and a hockey game, NHL 93, if I'm not mistaken. It had no franchise names, only city and colors, and for some reason I liked that "red and white Detroit" team. Shortly after it I realized that it was Cameron Frye's team too. For some time that was all I got.
At that time I didn't have cable, but I used to go to my aunt's house, and she did have cable. When I got lucky I saw some games, one of them was the Bloodbath. The speed and intensity of the game was the main reason for me to like it. As a 8 year old then, watching that same Detroit team winning a game and fighting, it hooked me. I finally put cable at home in 2002, so the first Stanley Cup I ever saw was the one from the Hall of Fame team.
I know my friends look at me funny when I say hockey is my favorite sport so what happens in Brazil when you tell people you're a hockey fan?
Read the rest of Herm's interview after the jump.
I can't say people find it funny, mostly because them don't even know what it is. It's ridiculous that I have to explain it to everyone, "the game on the ice with sticks", or "the one from the Ducks movies", but sometimes it's the only way. Even then, the most common response I get is "why do they fight so much"?
How long have you been following the Red Wings?
Like I said, I chose them a long time a go, but the real "following" started when I got cable. I watched some games of other teams, but the Wings were the ones who got me up until late. When ESPN started screwing with Brazilian fans and broadcasting the games at 2 a.m. in tape-delay, it was not rare for me to sleep in the afternoon so I could watch Wings games. [editor's note: that's devotion my friends]
By that time I used to play a lot of Eastside Hockey manager and, weirdly, that really helped me to "get" the game. Also, it was easy to understand because we had some great announcers on TV. André José Adler and Marco Alfaro called the games, and they were really good at announcing and at teaching the hockey basics.
What sent your passion over the top to the point of where you started writing about the Wings on Red Wings Brasil?
Actually, hockey writing in Brazil it's not a new thing. The online magazine www.theslot.com.br exists since 2002, and it was formed by a bunch of guys that chatted on Yahoo long before it.
Red Wings Brasil is also "old". It runs since April, 2007. I always read it, but was not a frequent commentator. Then, during last year's playoffs, I started commenting.
At first I only talked about the games, but as the tension grew I started spamming the comments page. I said a lot of things, analyzing the team, the players and the opponents. I also threw some news, injuries and line updates, until the blog owners got tired of it and decided to make an open invitation to any reader who wanted to be a part of the staff.
I offered to do it, and they agreed, stating that "I wrote well, knew some hockey and was an ass like them".
How hard is it to follow the Wings down in Brazil? I would imagine TV coverage of the NHL is fairly nonexistent?
Nonexistent is a compliment. Really, I wish it was nonexistent, but every now and then some sites or TV channels decide to poke a stick on hockey, always about fights or injuries or some criminal hits. They also made some remarks about the Winter Classics, but usually switching team names, mispronouncing everything and calling the puck "ball".
As for Portuguese news sources, there's the Slot and the blogs. The Slot is a weekly and objective magazine. It's very well done by the guys in there, especially considering that everything is amateur, those guys do it for the sheer love of hockey. As for blogs, some teams have specific ones: Red Wings, Montreal, Bruins, Penguins, Ducks, Kings, Maple Leafs, Denver, Rangers and Hurricanes. There's also one specialized in European Hockey.
Since news is so hard to get, that was my main focus when joining Red Wings Brasil. I wanted to really contribute, not only in the sense of opinion, but really trying to make the blog the main news source for Brazilian Red Wings fans. It's practically mandatory that Brazilian hockey fans understand English, but it's obviously easier if we can release the information in Portuguese.
What Red Wing has that special place in your heart? The guy that can never do any wrong in your eyes.
That's an easy one, ask anyone on Red Wings Brasil or Abel to Yzerman, or every Wings blog: Darren Helm.
Let's face it, I'm a Wings fan, but as far as players are concerned, I'm a bandwagon fan. I can switch from love to hate to love again in one period, depending on what the players does. A player is as good as his last game, that's how I see it.
But with Helm, damn, I can't get enough of him. He's so fast, he hustles so much, he's inspiring. I can't see how Ville Leino has the courage to do the things that he does right after a Helm shift. How can you not be energized by the little fella? The guy is only one and a half year older than me, but already has so many signature moments... His breakaway against Anaheim, The Kill and the series-winner against Chicago, the goal against LA... How many guys have appeared and disappeared on the NHL and haven't done half of this?
In short, Helm is God.
How truly excited are you to make the trip to Hockeytown in March?
The cliché here would be "it's a dream come true", but it isn't.
In my dreams, I would go to Detroit as a 40 year old man, get to the game with my wife, and head back to Orlando or something.
To think that my friends (not "internet friends", just "friends") are taking me to Detroit, that I'm going to a party at Hockeytown Café, that I'm gonna sit on the penalty box, that's just ridiculous. It's absurd. Beyond any dream, for sure.
What aspect are you looking forward to the most? The game, Joe Louis Arena's history/banners, the crowd, or just the whole experience itself?
The whole experience. I love to think of the idea that I'm gonna be at a late March game that could actually have playoff implications. It will almost be a playoff game. And going there with a group of nearly one hundred people, and witness in awe all those banners in the rafters, see how much this team accomplished over time, it cannot be beaten.
The warm-up, obviously, will be very special. I'll be able to smell the ice, to see Datsyuk having fun with the puck, Helm buzzing from side to side, Lidstrom silently intimidating the other team across the ice, whoa. Also, I can't wait to put faces and names on the A2Y avatars.
To wrap things up, I got thank everyone. A lot of people donated, from all over the States, from Brazil, and even England, Australia, Spain, Slovakia. I will forget someone, I'm sure, but I have to thank some people:
Humberto from Red Wings Brasil, the one who invited me in; Kris, from Snipe Dangle, who unknowingly started it all; the Chief, from A2Y, who jump-started everything (and sadly won't be at the game); Jen MacRostie, who organized it and helped me with the visa; Tyler and Brent (and Nick) from The Triple Deke, who probably have no idea of how those videos helped the campaign; A2Y reader Osrt, Shashi, who'll let me use his couch for a few days; and obviously everyone on Winging It, including another Helm worshiper, Drew.
Thanks guys, and everyone I didn't mentioned.
See you all at The Joe. Over and out.
Once again, thanks to Herm for joining us and talking about his love for hockey. Be sure to check out Red Wings Brasil to see his stuff. Can't read Portuguese? No problem. There's a nifty button on the side to click for a translation so no excuses.