Australia’s finest JOHN ODDY talks to Twisted Sock !
First of all John, welcome back to Pirates. I guess Peterborough must now qualify as your home from home !
“It’s beginning to look that way ! I’m just hoping I’ll be able to catch a bit of sunshine for a few weeks when I get there …… and a meal at Toscanini’s ! It’s been a pretty miserable winter over here – really affecting the golf game !!!”
So how has your return come about ?
“I’ve spoken with Dougie during the past two summers on a couple of occasions. This time I think we agreed on a contract in a matter of minutes. I’m keen to get back over there ……. I’m really enjoying my hockey at the moment and with a few of the boys, like Hammer and JP still there, I’m really looking forward to putting the Pirates jersey on again.”
When are you planning to fly over and how, if at all, will it impact on the Av’s season ?
“Our season should end sometime in late August, and obviously I’ll be on the next plane over. Hopefully the Av’s will have a second championship in the bag by then. They’ve really compacted the season over here this year and that’s a good move ……. it allows teams to sign quality imports and not lose them late in the season. They can all be back with their own professional teams by September.”
Last time I checked up, the Avs were 100% from eight games ……. not a bad season so far !
“We’re having a really good season. Other than a couple of suspensions we’ve pretty much been injury free but I think the big difference this year has been the imports we’ve signed. Clarkie and Lids dominated last year but this season a couple of our imports are straight out of the IHL and the AHL and have certainly been a big factor in our success. With our season running from April to August, these guys can stay in shape all summer and not have to miss any hockey with their teams back in North America. Rumour has it that the Adelaide Avalanche are about to fire off a letter to Chris Jamieson to see if he is interested in coming down to Australia next summer for a few months ……. now that is something I’d definitely like to see !”
What about your own form ………. are you banging in a few goals ?
“I’m having a pretty good season …… amongst the leading scorers but like I told Dougie on the phone last week, it’s a bit easier when your centreman is 6’5, 220lbs and straight out of 50 games with the Detroit Vipers ! I think the AIHL (Australian Ice Hockey League) probably resembles British Hockey ten years ago where the imports and the handful of quality Australian players really dominate the league. That being said though, the AIHL has taken off in the last twelve months. The fans just love Ice Hockey and while the Adelaide Avalanche could not compete in the BNL, on their day they could probably play a tight game with a couple of the BNL teams.”
……. and what about the penalty count ?
“With the state of the refereeing over here right now, it’s near impossible not to pick up a few PIMS ! Like I said earlier, the standard of the league has jumped so much in the last twelve months that our officials have really struggled to adapt ….. that’s bound to have me suspended for a couple of weeks ! I think the league, on a much lower scale, resembles the ISL where one team signs a couple of tough players so the other teams are forced to follow suit if they wish to remain competitive. The fans go crazy for the rough stuff over here, they are used to watching AFL (Aussie Rules) where a striking charge could see you suspended for three of four weeks, so to see two guys go toe to toe for thirty seconds and only have to sit for five minutes is kind of intriguing to them. The Hammer would certainly be a fan favourite over here !!!”
Talking of Jesse, I guess it must have been quite a fun season the first time you came over here ….. you must have a few good memories of that one ?
“That year was probably the most enjoyable year of my hockey career. I learnt more from Troy and guys like Randy than I ever have from any other coach or team. It was one of those years where we got on a good run and it took us all the way to a trophy. I think one of the biggest factors was the guys Troy signed. Remps, Jamo, Ellis, Ted Russell, Dan Dennis, Bill Kelleher they were all quality players and quality guys so that made for an enjoyable season. We just got to the point where we expected to win every game, and had our Xmas Cup success not led to something like 12 games in 20 nights then I think we could have really made a run at the BNL Championship as well.”
I think you’re probably right. Of course, your second stint with Pirates came in totally different circumstances as it was during the post “financial crisis” stage of the 99/00 season. I guess flying in late for that one, you didn’t have much of a chance to make an impression ……
“That’s right …… it was pretty disappointing for me. In hindsight, I really should never have been there. I’d spent my summer ‘relaxing’ and hadn’t skated in about four months but when Randy called there was no way that I was going to say no …… especially to a guy like him ! So, I jumped on the plane a few days later and, not surprisingly, struggled with fitness and injuries. On a positive note though, that was a team that really wasn’t expected to compete with the top teams come play-off time but I think we ended up knocking Hull off and making it to the final four.”
……. too right, that was quite something ! So, what are we going to see different in John Oddy 2001 from the the 1998 version ?
“Nothing really …… I’m pretty much the same type of player I was then. I’m really excited about joining up with the team again …… I’ve read a few of the things on ‘twisted-sock’ and it is ridiculous to even mention my name with that of Jordan’s or Jamo’s but Doug has signed me to fill a particular role or void and that is exactly what I intend to do. Hopefully I can contribute to the teams success. I remember Pasi from last time round and with a guy like that in net, you just never know how far he can take you. I’ve always thought Dwayne was a quality player and with Doug in the line-up and a couple more quality signings to come, I really think the Pirates will surprise a few people.”
Got to say mate, with the Lions teaching the Wallabies a thing or two and the Poms sure to take the ashes back, you could end up flying into some serious grief when you get here. Don’t you agree ?
“I may like the look of the Lions but I still have my money on the Wallabies. As for the Poms and the Ashes …… c’mon Paul …… seriously ? Warnie will win the Ashes by himself ! The only problem I see for the Aussie cricket team is finding something to occupy themselves with after each Test victory comes within three of four days. The Aussie’s are at a stage now where I really can’t see them losing …… they’re young and have a long line of guys like Damien Martyn just itching to get into the lineup”
Perhaps you’re right !!! Anyway, good luck with the rest of your season down there ….. stay away from injuries and we look forward to seeing you shortly !
“I will, by the way any chance of taking that photo down from the web-site, I have taken a lot of flack over here about that one and I really didn’t want it to go ‘international’ ……. and, by the way, your ‘visitor’ from Fiji ? Sorry to disappoint you but that was me back in February while holidaying with my girlfriend !!!”
The photo’s gone already …… it was a little scary I have to say !!!
Thanks John !