This section of After The Whistle contains several feature interviews we have completed over the years. While some of them may be "dated" we think the thoughts expressed in the articles will be of interest to our readers. Once you have finished the articles, feel free to send us your comments.

Robert Kirwan
After The Whistle

bullet2004 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge
The 2004 World Under 17 Hockey  Challenge will take place at St. John's Newfoundland from December 28 to January 4. A total of ten (10) teams will take part in the tournament, with Team Ontario considered as one of the favourites.  
We are also pleased to announce that Marty Kirwan, one of the Editors of After The Whistle, was selected as one of the six referees from across Canada assigned to work the 2004 World Under 17 Hockey tournament. It was Marty's first international experience as a referee. Here he is shown during the National Anthem prior to the beginning of a game between Slovakia and Germany.  Full story...

bulletKevin Donnelly, Referee-In-Chief For NOHA Districts 2 & 8 Has Work Cut Out For Him In His First Full Season At The Helm
Kevin Donnelly, 2nd from the left in the photo, is shown with several of the instructors who took part in the referee certification program at the beginning of the season. Running the training program is one of Donnelly's main responsibilities as Referee In Chief of Districts 2 & 8 of the Northern Ontario Hockey League. Full story...
bulletPat Smola – He Wears The Stripes On And Off The Ice
Fans of the Ontario Hockey League know this man very well on the ice, as he has been one of the top referees across Canada in the Canadian Hockey League for the past decade.  Patrick Smola is a highly respected hockey referee because of his presence on the ice.  The players and coaches respect Pat for his fairness and know that they can approach him to discuss a problem or concern.  Pat is also very highly respected by his fellow officials, as he is always willing to help his peers improve their skills both on and off the ice. Full story...
bulletGary Coupal - The Life of a Role Player
Gary Coupal was born on September 16, 1974. He  grew up in the little town of Capreol, just north of Sudbury, Ontario. Like any other Canadian boy, Gary played hockey from the time he could hold a stick and stand on skates. He played all of his minor hockey at the ‘AA’ level, toiling the blue line for the Capreol Hawks."I had a lot of fun in minor hockey," recalled Coupal. "I was a big defense man and I was pretty good. I was considered a leader on the team.
The road to the NHL took a strange route when Gary Coupal was forced to play the role of tough guy. Life suspensions from three leagues resulted. No one knows how far Coupal could have gone. Full story...
bulletReferee Dave Newell Provides Valuable Leadership And Advice In His Role As "Coach" of National Hockey League Officials.
Hockey fans who were around in the 70’s and 80’s will certainly recognize the gentleman standing in the middle in the accompanying photo. Dave Newell, who hails from Copper Cliff, Ontario, is currently the Assistant Director of Officiating for the NHL, and is one of the men responsible for finding new prospects for the big leagues as well as providing direction and advice to those who have already made the grade. Andy Van Hellemond, Director of Officiating, and Newell, make a great team, dedicated to maintaining the highest of standards when it comes to referees and linesmen in the N.H.L. Newell was taking some time out this summer to give a few pointers to Marty Kirwan, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of After The Whistle, and himself a promising young official in the Ontario Hockey League. More
bulletAndrew Brunette - Star of the Minnesota Wild States That Whether You Are A Player Or A Referee, You Have To Love The Game To Be Good
During the 2000-2001 season, Andrew Brunette, a star player and leading scorer with the N.H.L.’s Minnesota Wild, was the recipient of a vicious elbow to the head delivered by tough guy Brendon Witt of the Washington Capitals.  "It was a close game with about three minutes left. We were on a power play and down by a goal or two. The play was getting a bit chippy and earlier one of our enforcers had hit one of their top guns. The rule of hockey dictates that if one of your top players is hit, then retaliation is likely to come," recalled Andrew of the incident. "In situations like that, you always check to see who is on the ice. If there is someone who is known for his goon tactics, you make sure you know where he is at all times. I knew Witt was on the ice, but let down my guard for a split second. The next thing I know - I get blindsided." More
bulletAl Secord - Points 'N Punches
The following in-depth interview with Al Secord has been provided to us courtesy of Jukka Suutari, who represents a Finnish hockey-media called Jatkoaika. 
Jukka is responsible for covering minor leagues and, in his words, "goons/enforcers". He asked for permission to reprint our story on Gary Coupal and in return provided After The Whistle with a translated version of his interview with Al Secord. Jukka's mother was from Sudbury, the head office of After The Whistle. The title of this story is called "Points 'n Punches". As you read the story, we would like you to note that even though Secord was an accomplished forward, with plenty of scoring skills, once he established a reputation as a fighter, he pretty much was forced into that role for the rest of his career. Also, the fact that his story is one of the most popular on the Finish web site is indicative of the popularity of this part of hockey. While we don't condone fighting at the minor level, it will likely remain an important part of the game forever and is often viewed at the professional level as a way of "selling tickets". You should also note that very few hockey "fighters" try to pick on "non-fighters".
We hope you enjoy the story. More


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