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NHLPA.COM Questionnaire: Olaf Kolzig

Monday, January 11, 1999, ES

Place of Birth: Johannesburg, South Africa

Age: 28

Grew Up: Toronto area

Superstitions: None really. Iíve got routines. I donít really believe in superstitions because I think you can get so consumed with them and you lose your focus on what your job is. I try not to get too wrapped up in them.

Favorite NHL Uniform: Chicago Blackhawks.

Favorite Arena: I like the MCI Center personally but my favorite road arena would be Chicago.

Toughest Team To Play: Iíve had a tough time with Dallas. I donít think Iíve ever beaten Dallas. Iíve always had a tough time with Tampa for some reason.But I would say Detroit. We played them twice last year and the four times in the Stanley Cup Finals and then once this year. And over that span Iím0-6 against them. So I would have to say Detroit.

Fiercest Foe: Rod BrindíAmour. Every time we play Philly he seems to pot one. Itís not Lindros or LeClair, itís usually BrindíAmour.

Who impresses you the most in todayís league? Obviously (Dominik) Hasek. Heís got such an unorthodox style and youíd think people would have him figured out by now but he just keeps amazing people with his numbers and his wins. Heís taken goaltending to a new level. Heís probably well on his way to winning a Hart Trophy this year and obviously another Vezina. So whatís that? Four Vezinas in five years and three Harts in a row. I mean thatís just unheard of.

Who impressed you the most when you broke into the league? The guys on the Washington Capitals. As a rookie coming out of junior they treated me with alot of respect. They treated me like a little brother, showed me around. I really respected the guys for that because it made the transition from junior to pro a lot easier. So Iíd have to say the whole team. But an individual, obviously Wayne Gretzky. I mean to watch him on TV while I was growing up and then to finally play against him you actually see how great a player he really is.

How long was it before you could confidently call yourself an NHLer? I would say three or four years ago. My second year pro I was a backup and I was kind of filling a role that basically a lot of people could have done. Just sit on the bench and cheerlead. But the year after that, I was called upon to play a lot more and be more of a contributing factor. And then I developed a lot of patience and tolerance with things because I felt deep down I could play but I was sitting on the bench a lot and I had to basically not bite my tongue but just bide my time I guess and take advantage of any situation that would come around in order for me to become a number one guy.

Most Memorable Game: Well, the first one was the overtime game against Pittsburgh three or four years ago, the four-overtime game. That went till 2:30 in the morning. That was probably my most memorable. I mean it was a game that will go down in history for one of the longest games ever played and to be a part of it against (Mario) Lemieux and (Jaromir) Jagr and (Petr) Nedved. We played against a star-studded lineup and we just about beat them. But I would say my most memorable, other than that, would be last year whenwe beat Buffalo in the sixth game in overtime to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Who was your hockey hero? Ken Dryden, Grant Fuhr, Darryl Sittler. There was a handful. I didnít have one particular guy I followed. I was intrigued with all the players.

If you could play with any current or former NHLer, who would it be? Wayne Gretzky.

Best Hockey Advice Youíve Received: Just to relax and have fun. Itís only a game and if people take it more serious than that, then itís not worth playing because it isnít fun anymore.

Biggest Hockey Influence: My dad. Heís the one who got me into the game. Heís the one that had to drive me to the rink at 6:30 in the morning when I was growing up. Heís the one that had to fork out the money for equipment and ice time when maybe it wasnít really economically possible. So I would say my parents.

What quality do you admire most in a teammate? Dedication.

Biggest Prankster Youíve Played With: Dale Hunter.

The weirdest thing youíve seen in hockey: When the clock fell in Buffalo a couple years ago.

The most embarrassing moment: Getting caught picking my nose when I was sitting on the bench! I donít know. There havenít been any really.

First Job: I was a mover for North American Vanlines.

If You Werenít Playing Hockey Youíd BeÖÖ: I wanted to be a physical therapist.

Favorite Hobby: Golf.

Who is the most famous person youíve met? I met Al Gore last year. The President came to one of the games but the Vice President came down the first game we played at MCI.

Every teenager can easily stray from his desired course. Who kept you straight? I donít know. I just think I was always a dedicated person. No matter what I started I tried to finish. Whether itís school or whatever.