“It Really Became An Inspiration For the Community”: George McPhee Reveals His Hardest Moments in Hockey, Why He Rejects Wi-Fi When Flying, and the Role of A General Manager

Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review Journal

When the Vegas Golden Knights visited the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Monday night, in what would turn into a 1-0 loss for the home team, Vegas President of Hockey Operations and former Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee was among those in attendance. McPhee joined former Caps defenseman Karl Alzner’s “Alz Caps” podcast and discussed a variety of topics.

As in all sports, the NHL is a business and while decisions made be General Managers and team management are often scrutinized by a variety of pundits, fans, and others, in the end, managing the “people side” of the business is just as important.

“It’s amazing how much goes on and how many things you end up doing that when you thought about getting into hockey and being a General Manager or a [Team] President someday, you never thought you’d be doing these things because they have nothing to do with hockey. And that’s what you like about the challenge, it’s something coming from all different directions at any time. There’s a lot of crisis management involved too”.

“Hardest moment in hockey, trading people has always been hard, firing people has always been really, really hard. It’s amazing you don’t think about those things when you get that chance to become a manager that you’re going to have to fire people. Just two life experiences, 9/11 because we were here [in Washington] and October 1 in Vegas [the 2017 mass Las Vegas shooting]. That little hockey team in Vegas became sort of the community hub for grief and it really became an inspiration for community”.

NHL teams travel extensively during the 82-game regular season and into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With that travel comes a lot of down time during transits from one city to the next.

“I basically read the whole time. It’s sort of my thing, I can sit on a plane and read a book or a couple of books from start to finish. Two-hour flights, six-hour flights, I just sit there and read. I’ve read a bunch of the classics, I can read historical fiction, I can read novels, biographies. I usually have two or three books going at any one time. And that’s sort of my quiet time, I make sure I don’t have wi-fi. You’ve got to read. I don’t do crosswords, I used to actually when I was here. I was doing a lot for years there, I haven’t done them in a number of years. My neighbor realized I liked it so much he bought me that big book of 500 puzzles and crosswords. You shouldn’t do them before going to bed, but that’s when I would do them and then you get stuck on some things and then you get up in the morning and you just get them all”.

Away from the rink, some players, coaches, or team personnel pursuing other interests such as side business ventures, helping with community projects, or collecting memorabilia, and also taking care of their families and children.

“I don’t do much with cars anymore. I drive a 2013 car that’s been around the block. Interestingly enough, I was at the Vegas racetrack about a month ago. My youngest daughter was trying to get her license. And the police and professional drivers have this volunteer camp where they take them out and the one is they explain the rules of the road and they show people a video of people that get distracted while driving and what happens to them and it’s very graphic but it scares these kids enough that maybe they’ll be more careful. Then they take them out, and make them gun the car, and slam on the brakes, and control. And then they wet the track down, and it’s look where you want to go, and it’s fantastic for those kids”.

The full “Alz Caps” Podcast with McPhee can be found HERE.

More Reading:
From Beer Pong to the Stanley Cup Finals: George McPhee and Brian MacLellan Go Head-to-Head

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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2 Responses to “It Really Became An Inspiration For the Community”: George McPhee Reveals His Hardest Moments in Hockey, Why He Rejects Wi-Fi When Flying, and the Role of A General Manager

  1. Leslie+Galen says:

    Ya know what…i cant even look at GMGM or listen to what he says because i’ll never EVER forgive him for trading Philip Forsberg for MARTIN F-ing ERAT🤬🤬🤬 Who in their right mind would ever do that and can you imagine how our team would have benefitted from him these last years???

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I get what your say, believe me. But maybe consider it this way. If he didn’t trade Forsberg, we would have never been able to sign (afford under salary cap) T.J. Oshie. Maybe we never win the cup in 2018. Just a different angle to consider. 🤷‍♂️

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