“I didn’t know how much to bark and yell today because I don’t want guys to get overwhelmed,” exclaimed former Washington Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt about his first day in camp. After four years with the Capitals and four years with the Vegas Golden Knights, Schmidt was traded to the Vancouver Canucks on October 13.
“I hope the guys aren’t too sensitive about me being too loud and goofy sometimes in the locker room,” said Schmidt. “I guess that’s what I’m most afraid of.”
Schmidt joined recent arrival and fellow former Washington Capitals teammate Braden Holtby for their first appearance on the ice with the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. The duo would also team-up for a post-practice media session on Tuesday.
“I think I’ve warned enough guys,” said Holtby with a smile. “No, it’s been awesome. I think he showed his energy already. I think it’s a positive energy and it’s going to be infectious to this group.”
“Aw, thanks man,” said Schmidt.
“Having Holts and Beags here was an awesome start for me, because they kind of know the true real Schmidtty,” Schmidt said with a laugh, looking at Holtby. “Sometimes, I gotta make sure I give it to the guys in doses, I don’t know how much they can handle at first. I didn’t know how much to bark and yell today because I don’t want guys to get overwhelmed.”
To little surprise, Schmidtty made himself right at home in Canucks training camp, even introducing his new teammates to his patented “whoop whoop” call for the puck, which subsequently led to a breakaway goal for Brock Boeser during the teams first scrimmage.
Horvat vs Pettersson line.
You get a “WHOOP, WHOOP” from Schmidt and a breakaway goal from Boeser. pic.twitter.com/NmBPU1xlZX
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) January 5, 2021
In his opening press call with the Canucks media in October, Schmidt was asked about the trademark “whoop whoop” call out.
“It was something that Justin Williams did, one of my favourite guys I’ve ever played with,” said Schmidt, who then took a moment to look into his camera and wish Williams well on his retirement.
“He did it a few times in training camp and I asked him why, and he was just, ‘I don’t know, I feel like everyone knows it’s me.’ So I did it as well. There were times in games where I would ‘whoop’ at him and he said, ‘Yeah, I knew you were there because no one else talks to me like that.’ I guess it’s second nature now, it just happens. If guys hear it, they know it’s me, and it’s always really loud and piercing.”
Schmidt also looks to be right at home with his new head coach, Travis “Greener” Green, even questioning Green about the next morning’s practice, and if it were “optional”.
Schmidt has already made an excellent impression on Green.
“He’s got a lot of positive energy — we like that in players,” said Green. “We want players that just love playing the game. It seems like you would put him in that category where there’s not a bad day at the rink. That’s important because you’re playing a lot of hockey, you’ve got to have positive energy.”
Schmidt’s new teammates have also been positive about the addition of Schmidt.
“He’s such a great guy and he’s a really good hockey player,” said Brock Boeser. “He sees the ice well and works hard, so he’s gonna be huge for our team this year.”
“I think having a guy like Schmidtty, the way he skates and the way he sees the ice, it’s like having another forward out there,” said J.T. Miller. “There’s a lot of movement, a lot of skill, and I think when we get that higher urgency and high compete and our legs are working, I think it just adds another threat.”
By Jon Sorensen