World OutGames: Hockey

Photo Credit: Andrew Delaware
Todd Coopee, 37, and Paul O'Kane, 36, both play for the Vermont Pioneers. I caught this duo outside their locker-room

What was important about this game for you, going in?
Todd: Because our team had been put together for the OutGames and had never played together, we realized we couldn't rely on individual efforts. We had to play together as a team. Also, we had to stay out of the penalty box, which we didn't really do.

Paul: It was important for us to come out really hard, really strong, really fast to try to break Vancouver's momentum. It was important that we kept those penalties down. But most importantly, it was important for us to get out there and have fun. We know a lot of these guys, we've played them from tournament to tournament. We gotta be really cordial on the ice, because we know we're going to see them at the bar later, next year in Toronto, they year after in New York, and so on. It's important to remember that in addition to playing the game to win, you want to win fairly.

What has been the highlight of the game for you?
Paul: We really gelled as a team. We played good positional hockey, and passed the puck well.

Todd: For me, it was when we killed off an initial 5 on 3, and that turned the momentum. Shortly after that we scored a go ahead goal, to move ahead 2-1.

Paul, what was your personal goal going into the game, and what are you feeling best about coming out of the game?
Paul: I am probably the weakest player on the team. So my personal goal was to play as hard as I can, and contribute as much as I can. The guys made me the captain this year, which is really tough when you are the weakest player and the captain. I was trying to give some leadership on the bench, which is difficult at times, and at the same time, give everything I can give on the ice. I think I did that, I think I played really well, and the best I could play. Plus I didn't get a penalty, which was a good personal goal!

And how are you feeling now, Todd?
Todd: We had no expectations going in, we just wanted to have fun. And we have done both well.