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Getting To Know: Chuck Fletcher

Mark Malinowski
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Chuck Fletcher (Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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Getting To Know: Chuck Fletcher

Mark Malinowski
By:

In this week's Getting To Know, Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher talks about the influence his father, Cliff Fletcher, had on him and why Guy Lapointe is the funniest man he's ever met.

Status: Minnesota Wild General Manager. Also was former assistant GM for Pittsburgh for three seasons, assistant GM Anaheim (2002-2006) and assistant GM Florida (1993-2002).

DOB: April 29, 1967 In: Montreal, Quebec

First Hockey Memory: "Wow. Obviously going down to the rink in Atlanta with my dad (Cliff) back when he was the general manager with the Flames in the early 70's. Going down and hanging out in the dressing room. I remember more trying to hang around the players when I was just a kid and just how much fun it was to be around. And skating when they were done practicing. So those are a lot of my early memories. Just hanging out at the rink."

Hockey Inspirations: "Well, my dad. Yeah, my dad was definitely my hockey inspiration. Always admired what he did. Admired it so much I tried to get into the business after him, so."

Last Book Read: "Right now I'm reading Paris 1919. A book about World War 1 and the peace treaty at the end of it."

Greatest Sports Moment: "Well, in Pittsburgh we won the Stanley Cup in 2009."

Most Painful Moment: "Any year we don't make the playoffs [smiles]. But we had a season a couple years ago here in 2011-2012 - we had a great start - we were the best team in the League in early December. And the last 50 games, we were the worst team in the League. And we ended up with 81 points, we missed the playoffs. But to see the season that was so promising, fall apart, that was a painful five months."

Favorite Arenas: "Minnesota, of course, that's our home rink but I think it's one of the best in the League. Montreal Bell Centre is wonderful. It's always packed, a lot of people, such great tradition there. I would say those two."

Why Do You Love Hockey: "Such a fast-paced game and the athletes are amazing. It's such a great sport, there's such a nice combination of skill and competitiveness. There's a physical element but there's a high skill element. You don't have many sports that combine the two the way hockey does."

Funniest Players Encountered: "We have a scout named Guy Lapointe I think is the funniest human being I've ever encountered. Just a hilarious guy. The ultimate prankster."

Fiercest Competitors Encountered: "There's a lot of them over the years. A lot of guys that really, really competed hard. But I would say Doug Gilmour sticks out for me. Because he was under-sized and highly skilled. But an under-sized guy that just played so tenaciously every night. So physically involved. He really sticks out as a guy that literally competed at a level that very few people ever competed at"

Most Memorable Goal: "Well, it doesn't really matter much for me."

Funny Hockey Memory: "Guy Lapointe, as I said, is a prankster. Any time we go for dinner it's hilarious. The pranks he pulls. There was one moment in Calgary in the 1980's where a streaker tried to jump on the ice and obviously didn't have any clothes on and was trying to get over the glass and unfortunately that didn't go very well. And ended up falling onto the ice in some pain. So the streaker moment didn't go as planned. But that was certainly an odd moment."

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: "Baseball."

First Famous Player You Met or Encountered: "I used to hang out and try to meet all the former Canadien players, whether it was Guy Lapointe or Guy Lafleur or Jacques Lemaire, Ken Dryden. Those great Canadiens teams in the 1970's. But one day I remember meeting Jean Ratelle back when he was with the Rangers and I was shooting pucks after a game and he came out and he tried to teach me how to shoot a backhand. I remember I was just a little kid at the time, probably eight or nine years old. So I just remember - Mr. Ratelle as I called him - teaching me a few pointers. So I thought that was really cool."

Strangest Game: "Well, the only one that I can remember...we played the Chicago Blackhawks and we were down 5-1 going into the third period and we were able to tie it up and then we won it in a shootout. So...but I've been on the other side where in Florida many years ago we had a four goal lead on Colorado and they came back and beat us in the third period. So those games are memorable because it's such massive momentum swings in the game and to see such big leads evaporate. But those ones really stick out."

Personality Qualities Most Admired: "Honesty. Honesty is everything for me. And hard work. Everyone respects hard work. But to me it's just honesty."

Mark "Scoop" Malinowski is the author of the new tennis books "Facing Federer" and "Facing Hewitt" which are available at amazon. He's currently working on "Facing Probert."

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Getting To Know: Chuck Fletcher