The Inferno interview Joey Haddad

5th Jan 2015 | Posted by The Inferno

OK so this was supposed to be a preseason interview. It got delayed as it ended up coinciding with Joey flying in. Then the business of playing hockey took presidence. Joey contacted us to see if it was still cool to run the interview, then Chris moved to London with work and it got kinda left behind. So in short it's all Chris' fault for loosing the interview till it was uncovered over Christmas. In this time Haddad has proved his worth as a Devil and is currently joint top goalscorer in the team. Better late than never here's what Joey had to say at the start of the season.

The-Inferno - How and when did you get involved in Ice Hockey?

Joey Haddad - I was first introduced to hockey by my father, who was a very well known and successful hockey player in my hometown. I was young when I started to learn the game, maybe 4-6, but I never started to play competitively until I was a little older around 8-9.

The-Inferno - What attracted you to the UK? Did you know much about the league and UK Hockey in general before you were approached by the Devils?

Joey Haddad - I've spent the last 5 years playing professionally in the US, up and down between the AHL and ECHL. After those five years I was definitely looking to make a change, and I was think Europe might be the answer. I looked into a few different options and interestingly enough I had a few connections with Cardiff. First off, I found out who the coach was(Andrew Lord) and Andrew was my captain when I was in my rookie pro season. Also, an ex devil by the name of Stuart McRae is from my home island and I grew up watching him play. I knew he had played in the British Elite League and really enjoyed his time. I am also a huge enthusiast for history so everything just sort of fell into place. I felt very good about making my decision to come here.

The-Inferno - You've played with a couple of next seasons roster - Chris Culligan & Andrew Lord - before... Does it make much difference coming over already knowing guys on the roster?

Joey Haddad - It makes a huge difference when you already have a relationship with some of your teammates. Me and Andrew only played for the one year, but me and Chris have been best buddies for more then a decade. Having both of these guys on my team allows me to settle in and get comfortable a lot easier.

The-Inferno - Have you had a chance to look at the league and the rivalries that the Devils have in the Elite League as yet ? If so do you have any thoughts?

Joey Haddad - I didn't have much of an idea of what to expect before I arrived, but since being here I have learned most of the big rivalries. It makes for a great atmosphere when you have fans as passionate as ours.

The-Inferno - Can you give us an insight into what Devils fans can expect from yourself?

Joey Haddad - Although the Devils fans have already seen me in action, they can definitely expect me to help my team offensively while also contributing to the physical side of the game. Something I've been paying more attention to in the last few years has been my consistency and I look to keep improving on that as well this season.

The-Inferno - Have you been given any targets for the season with respect to goals or assists? Do targets tend to be a hindrance or a help?

Joey Haddad - I haven't been given any specific targets no. I think the biggest target for me is team success. I want to win. And I know that if we have a lot of team success that it will reflect positively on its players. Usually when a team has great success and wins championships, it means that their players had outstanding seasons. That's what I want to be a part of.

The-Inferno - What have you been told about the Big Blue Tent (The rink we currently have)? Was the proposed new venue an incentive to signing for the Devils?

Joey Haddad - I didn't hear much before arriving. After seeing it, it is definitely one of a kind! Lol. After playing in it, I'm almost glad it's my home rink. This way we practice in it all the time so we are used to it. I think that road teams have a lot to deal with when they come into our "tent". Our fans make it an awesome atmosphere. I've had a lot of success at home this year already so I've come to like the BBT. The new facility that will be ready for next season sounds and looks amazing. That is going to be something that every jockey player will want to be a part of!

The-Inferno - We like to ask players if they have set themselves goals for the season to come and what expectations they have of their own and the team’s performance. Have you set yourself any goals for the season?

Joey Haddad - Like I said in question 6, I haven't been given any targets, nor do I look to give myself any. All I look to do is consistently perform at the best of my ability and to help the team win every night. As for the team, I think we can win everything this year. That being said there are still a lot of factors that play into it. There are a bunch of great teams out there that a proven. We are a new bunch for the most part but our team has really enjoyed each other's company and our on ice performance has been great. I think that we continue to get better and keep building for the championship we all want.

The-Inferno - Can you tell us what your proudest achievement to date as a pro hockey player?

Joey Haddad - My proudest achievement thus far in my career would be when I signed an NHL contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. I was invited to their rookie camp, and a month later I was signed. Although it never worked out with Pittsburgh, it was still a great personal achievement.

The-Inferno - At the signing announcement Kelman had a quote describing you as "probably the best all round forward in the ECHL" - How hard was it to make the move from the ECHL to the EIHL?

Joey Haddad - The hardest thing about leaving the ECHL was leaving my team in Gwinnett Georgia. I was there for the better half of three years, I made a lot of really good friends and I was close with the team staff and management.They treated me very well in Gwinnett.

The-Inferno - The BBT has the fans sitting quite high above the ice and it really does rock when the fans see an opposition player turned over. What's the best venue you've played in so far?

Joey Haddad - The BBT is one of the best atmospheres I've played in for sure. Some of the other great. Venues I've played in would have to be The Coliseum in Quebec City, Hershey Arena in Hershey, PA. C200 in my hometown of Sydney, Nova Scotia of course. Also the Halifax Metro Centre in Halifax Nova Scotia. Thus far in the uk, I enjoyed Belfast. Nottingham and Sheffield both have their pros and cons.

The-Inferno - What do you consider the strongest part of your game and what 1 thing would you improve - and why?

Joey Haddad - Like Todd mentioned before, I think that the strongest part of my game is that my game is strong all around. If I needed to pick out certain parts that might be a little stronger then others I guess I would have to mention my shot and my size/strength. I also move very well for a big guy. As for things I look to improve on, again, it's tough to pick just one. You are always looking to improve your entire game. If I had to pick something a little more specific it would have to be hockey I.Q. I feel I have a great head for the game, but I also believe that it's something you can constantly improve on and get better at bc it affects your whole game. Not only how you think the game on the ice, but how you think it off the ice as well with your diet, positivity, and exercise etc.

The-Inferno - Anything else you would like to add?

Joey Haddad - I've been absolutely blown away by the people in Cardiff and their hospitality. I've made some great friends here already. The Red Army and the team staff/management has been nothing less then perfect so far. I love my team, I love my fans and I love my city. I feel very privileged to be in the situation I am in.

Thanks again to all the players for their time and consideration and Todd Kelman and Neil Francis for helping facilitate the interviews. We may start on another round soon to see how the players are faring up mid season.

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