Helllllllooooooooooo VGHL we are back with another installment of Hanging with Budz as I have made my way down tp Colorado to hangout with and chat with Colorado manager Stamkos!!!!
Budz : Hey man and welcome to Hanging with Budz! Glad to have you this evening my dude!
Please introduce yourself to the VGHL community for those who don't know you!
Stamkos : Hey Budz, glad to finally be here. Well for those of you who don't know me I am best known in leagues as Stamkos. I am 27 years old and from Toronto, Ontario.
Budz : Thanks for the introduction! So tell us besides making dmen and teams look silly on virtual hockey what else does Stamkos like to do? Any cool hobbies/interests outside of hockey?
Stamkos : I don't know about all that haha. But yeah besides NHL, a lot of my time is devoted to my studies. I am currently 2/3 of the way through law school in Toronto and on the grind to be a future lawyer. I do a lot of travelling (before COVID); I had a nice little exchange lined up to live in Italy but that has since been put on hold. Apart from that I am a big athlete. I play hockey, soccer, volleyball, a bit of pickup basketball and also love the gym.
Budz : Interesting and awesome to hear man! What type of lawyer are you looking to be?
Stamkos : My primary focus is in the sports and entertainment sector (similar to what a sports agent would do), but there are a lot of law firms that are starting to open up Esports divisions so I would love to try and get in on the ground floor with some of those companies and you know see where it goes.
Budz : Hmmm that is interesting for sure! What made you go in that direction? Is this something you have always wanted to do or was it later in your late teens, early adult years you decided on that?
Stamkos : Meh, I would say a mix of both. As a child, sports had a tremendous impact on shaping who I am today and as I got older I began to look for a career for which I could continue that passion as an adult. I think too many of us go to work hating their job and that's something I want to steer away from as I start the next chapter of my life.
Budz : I can definitely agree with everything said! Good for you man really that's awesome! Well thanks for sharing a bit about who you are!
Now on to why we are here! The VGHL which you have been a part of since season 1 correct?
Stamkos : No problem! I can't recall if I was a part of the first season of VG but I definitely played VG back when it was on the PS3. I am definitely part of the few that has really seen this game shift into what it is today. Just looking it up now I guess I won the Calder memorial trophy and Stanley cup in my season 3 debut.
Budz : I also am a part of that select few as I have been here for 11 years. I started in VG day 1 season 1 and actually played you in Season 3 in the first round. We went 7 games with you guys taking it in dramatic fashion as I still remember it to this day haha! What has you coming back to the NHL as you have seen the best and the worst of the NHL and possibly even VG. Where do you see the state of both?
Stamkos : That's quite the memory you got there Budz, must have been a painful one :) I think NHL 6's has arguably deteriorated since NHL 13/14. I remember EASHL actually being competitive and fun and you could actually see the skill gap between the best and the rest. Now it just seems so repetitive - you play a trap and you force cross crease or "hope" for deflections. I like that they have added newer dekes like the Michigan but implementing it into an actual 6's game is a seldom occurrence to say the least. As far a VG goes, I think this is definitely an excellent community. I think you and the other VG media members deserve praise for the work you do, because articles like these ones really separate 6's leagues from each other and make them more desirable if they know the staff cares.
Budz : It sure was a painful one but one of the best series and hockey I have been a part of! Now we are here in Season 20 of the VGHL and this season you decided to take AHL management and lead the Colorado Eagles along with Dudnasty! You guys had quite the season losing what 5 games all season long? That's incredible and are now into the playoffs facing off against the tough Iowa Wild in round 2.
Take us through your season and up to this point? The ups and the downs? Are you where you expected to be?
Stamkos : Yes, it has been quite the season. We had 5 losses in the regular season and 2 of them were forfeits because we had already locked up 1st place and really had nothing to play for. There hasn't been a lot of downs to this point but I expect us to not implode after 1 loss, as I fear we are our own weakness. As far as where we are now, I am really happy with how the playoffs have gone so far. We are up 2-1 against a fiesty Iowa Wild team and will be looking to close the series out after Wednesday's games. I really have to commend a lot of players on my team for making sacrifices and playing when others didn't show up and also playing positions that may not be there primary.
Budz : Besides you, who else do you look to in regards to showing up consistently and giving your team a big goal or big play when needed?
Stamkos : I think offensively wise boughss has took it upon himself to try and create offence when things are going slow. I also think the play of Letxng and z-Jor-z are worth a mention as they can both turn it on and create offence at any point. As far as defense goes Dud has locked it down back there and I think a lot of our success comes from the way we play D as a team. I think Dud has been a strong proponent of that since the season began.
Budz : I have played with you and against you and in my opinion you are one of the best 2 way centres I have come across but when I mention your name to others they kind of laugh and scoff at that. What would you say to the people out there that doubt you as a player? A top end player?
Stamkos : That's a fair point, my response would be that a lot of the things I do go unmeasured or unnoticed. For instance, I will always have my D's back when he goes up for the rush, you're not often getting the shot in the slot off when I am standing there and I always seem to have the least amount of giveaways because I dish the puck to my teammates quickly and precisely.
Budz : Couldn't have said it better myself!
Other than these pesky feisty Wild, who do you see as the biggest challenge to achieve your goal of hoisting the Calder Cup, which if you would have stayed with me the entire length of Season 10 would have given you a 2nd title!
Stamkos : Haha love the chirps! Umm I see a lot of talent in the east. Very surprised to see Rochester down 3-0 to Charlotte, so they definitely have my attention. In terms of the west, I think Utica has a very underrated team and I think if we beat Iowa that will likely be the next hurdle we need to overcome.
Budz : Yes I am very surprised myself to see the Americans down 3-0 as I had them facing you in the finals, so very interesting for sure! Well after this season and after hopefully achieving your goal what are your plans for Season 21? Do you see yourself making the jump back to the NHL level?
Stamkos : Ohhh the million dollar question. Well I'll give you the exclusive, I do plan on returning to VG next season and will be looking to make an impact at the .... NHL level.
Budz : Glad to hear my man we look forward to your return and making the NHL more competitive than it already is! Well as we wind down this interview as I head out to my next destination. Is there anything more you would like to say to the community before I hit the road?
Stamkos : I would like to thank my esports organization Honeybaked Gaming for giving me permission to speak with you today. And for everyone else I hope everyone is being safe and is in good health, these are unprecedented times right now and we as a community need to be there for each other in whatever function we can be. Thanks Budz for taking the time!
Budz : Thanks man, appreciate your time. I hope you enjoyed it. I had fun chatting and hanging out with you this evening! Until next time VGHL! Stay Blessed, I am out! ✌