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Monday, June 10
Updated: June 13, 6:38 PM ET
One-on-one with Bret Hedican

By Lindsay Berra
ESPN The Magazine

Defenseman Bret Hedican joined the Hurricanes on Jan. 16 after being traded from the Panthers with center Kevyn Adams and defenseman Tomas Malec for defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh and center Byron Ritchie. He last played in the Stanley Cup finals in 1994, when his Vancouver Canucks lost to the N.Y. Rangers in seven games.

Bret Hedican
Did you ever think that when you left Florida for Carolina, it would be an upgrade?
Yes, I did. When I got traded to Carolina, I thought, that's a good hockey team. I didn't know how good until I actually got here and started playing. The first few games, I called home and said, "Dad, this team reminds me of a really good hockey team, the one I went to the finals with in '94 (Vancouver)." The way it worked, the way that every guy seems to be accountable, nobody takes a night or a shift off, and I think when you get guys like that that work so hard on and off the ice, you see it in their game. It keeps going. I enjoy playing where people care about the game, people want to improve, whether it's physically, in the weight room trying to get stronger, or as a player. This team has 10, 15 guys in that weight room after games, before practice, after practice, that's the way this team is.

If the Hurricanes lose, do you think that fans will be as devoted next year?
I think people are finally getting a chance to see this game for what it is. They're seeing that this is a wonderful game and it's a fast game. I think once they get to the game they realize that this is something they want to come back to. I think we've got these fans forever.

Who is a better skater, you or your wife, Kristi Yamaguchi?
If I could only skate half as good as her, I'd be OK.

Do you give each other tips?

Can she beat you in a race?
No. I could beat her the first four laps, and then she'd pass me by lap ten.

You're a guitar collector. Why the obsession with guitars?
I play a little guitar, and I started collecting. I have an autographed Rolling Stones guitar. I have several other bands and groups, Peter Frampton, things like that. I enjoy music and I enjoy playing on my down time. I started playing about eight years ago. I play pretty well.

What's the secret to the Hurricanes' penalty kill?
Just hard work. Penalty killing isn't for the glamorous guys, it's for the guys that really want to work. It's not different than what this team is made of. We've got a bunch of hard workers.


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