To me, Jeremy Roenick will absolutely not be missed for his play on the ice, but for his mouth when off it. In a league often criticized for not having enough characters, JR was one of the very few that could light up a room or a media outlet with his wit, enthusiasm, and goofy facial expressions (see right). I totally think that the ‘lack of personality’ claim against the NHL is true: it’s such a beautiful game and more stardom off the ice would make people realize it. I’m not a huge hockey guy, but I recognize what a fantastic sport it is, and JR epitomizes what it is to be a hockey player. It may sound like I’m denouncing his skills, but he was as tough as they come during his 20-year career. He played with ugly injuries, scars, and deformations; again, he was the typical hockey player. Enjoy the time off, Jeremy. Roenick joined Gambo and Ash on KTAR in Phoenix to discuss the beauty of leaving the game when he wants, his thought process when he almost retired two years ago, and what the future holds for him.
How does it feel to go out on your own terms?
“To be able to go out on my own terms and to decide when I retire is, it’s all the difference in the world. I’m just so lucky. I was blessed to have this opportunity in San Jose, give me two more years, and give me my respectability back, my love for the game back. I’m really, really fortunate, there’s no question.”
On getting advice from friends two years ago when he was thinking of retiring, including KTAR host Gambo:
“I listen to my friends, I respect their opinions, and a lot of things that you said were 100% true. If I didn’t get to 500, how would I feel? If I didn’t get the opportunity to start in the Stanley Cup, how would I feel? If I didn’t get the chance to retire on my own terms, how would I feel? You made a lot of good points that resonated a lot through me and I appreciate it a lot.”
On whether he’d like to be around the game of hockey after retiring:
“Yeah, I would, I’d like to stay around hockey a little bit. I’m gonna take some time, enjoy my family, play a lot of golf up at Whistler Rock and enjoy the fruits of being retired. Let my body heal a little bit, obviously still be very active and stay in shape, but not as a pro athlete that I’ve done for so many years.”
On his future in television:
“I’m gonna be open for everything but I’m not gonna jump at the first thing that comes to me. I’m gonna weed it out and let’s not beat around the bush, let’s not pull punches, you’re not playing anymore, everything’s becomes now: You gotta get paid for doing your stuff. And, if I’m gonna do it at a level that I feel I can do it at, there has to be good job out there that is gonna be good for the pocketbook as well as the reputation.”