We’ve officially reached the end of the bubble in Toronto and Edmonton, and I’m sure that hockey fans are curious to know how it went. Steven Lorentz was kind enough to share his own experiences from the bubble as well as some answers to other questions that I had for him. Steven was kind enough to talk to me during the Browns vs. Cowboys game, which he insists was going to drive his family members crazy.
How was life in the bubble? Could you describe what your day would look like?
The NHL did a great job putting it on and making sure everyone was safe and healthy. There wasn’t a time where they’d let you slip up. Security or employees would make sure you were wearing masks and everything. Kudos to the NHL for pulling off something people thought was impossible. Most practice days you’d go to the rink and you’d have practice with the scratches or with the team. Roddy made us feel like a part of the team even though we weren’t getting playing time. He came to almost all of our skates. It’s why I love the Hurricanes organization. Rod made us feel at home and a part of things and so did the other NHL guys. Justin Williams was great and there’s a reason he was a leader because he didn’t talk down to anyone, no matter their skill level. Getting to know Svech and Aho was amazing, too. A lot of people look up to these guys (Aho and Svech) but at the end of the day they’re young too, and we had the same interests. It was a really positive experience and I was fortunate to be a part of it. If we weren’t playing or practicing, we were golfing using simulators, going out to eat, playing spikeball, or some ping pong. You definitely started to miss family, but you knew that you had to make some sacrifices going in. I’m thankful the Canes brought me along and I’m going to use the experiences I had going into camp next year.
Did you get to see Skjei flex as a quarterback?
I didn’t even know at first because he’s such a humble guy. He doesn’t have an ego at all and he was great to be around. The dude can sling a football, though.
Were there any things that you may have learned or taken away from the extra time with the team?
Nothing really surprised me because I knew going into everything that I had to prepare to hold myself to the NHL standard. You don’t want to be going into anything being loud and being immature or anything. You see how they carry themselves and want to emulate it. During one practice, Roddy asked Williams how many games he’s played in the NHL and how many he hadn’t worn a suit for. Willy answered “zero” and Roddy had the same answer. He said the suit gives you a sense of pride and gets you in the mindset, in a way. Little things on and off the ice happened that were different, though. Drills were professional and you were held to the pro standard. It was nice to know that I can not only play but think the game at that level. It gives me confidence going into next training camp. I’m looking forward to putting everything together whenever next training camp is.
What were some of the first things you did when you left the bubble?
Toronto is only an hour from my home, so I would’ve had to quarantine for two weeks if I flew back to Raleigh and took a twelve or thirteen hour drive home. I just had one of my family members pick me up at the bubble. My car has been sitting at PNC for a little while now, I guess. We had a nice dinner on the back deck and just talked about how everything went. I talked to as many people that wanted to know how it went. I went back to work in the gyms right away. The first skates after the pause I felt like Bambi out there, so I don’t want that to happen again. I wasn’t going to take a month off and lose all of the work that I did before and during the bubble. I’m skating a few times a week and working out 5-6 days a week. I went out to British Columbia to visit a few friends but that’s the only trip I’ve taken. Nothing too exciting.
How are contract talks with the team going?
I want to be a Carolina Hurricane and I would play for them for the rest of my career making minimum salary if I could. I’ve never played hockey for money; my only goal has been to win a Stanley Cup. I think the team has a legitimate cup shot in these next few years. I talk to my agent and he talks to the team. I’ve heard a lot of good feedback from the organization, the brass, and the coaching staff. They believe that I had a good season and it seems like they really want me back. It gives me confidence knowing that they know that. They have to send a qualifying offer, I believe, so that’s the next step. We’re in talks, but I don’t know much. All I know is that I want to be a Carolina Hurricane. They have a bright future and I’m excited to sign and get to camp.
What do you think makes players want to stay here?
Raleigh is a great spot to playin , not only because the fan base has exploded, but you can go enjoy the city and enjoy a quieter public life. With a bigger market team, you don’t always have that luxury. Raleigh reminds me a lot of my home here in Canada and I obviously want to become a full-time Raleigh resident and play with the Canes.
The draft is coming up this week, so do you have any advice for the players that the Hurricanes draft this week?
I would say that an opportunity is an opportunity. Just having your name called, going through a camp, signing a contract, or anything is a privilege. Some kids are getting drafted lower than they expect and it’s about how they deal with it. Some kids are going to get drafted and they won’t expect to be drafted, so it’s going to put them through the moon. This is a league where you go undrafted and can have longer careers than guys that go top five. It all depends on you putting your ego aside and putting in the work. You have to earn your spot. I wasn’t a guy that was guaranteed a contract. I took the long route and my hard work paid off and has earned me every opportunity. A team drafts you based on potential, but you have to work for that.
What advice would you give to the players that may not get drafted this year?
I didn’t get picked in my first draft, which I was okay with because I wasn’t expecting to. It gave me the motivation to get better and make teams notice me. I had mono when I got the call in 2015 and I thought it was a prank at first. I didn’t think I would get picked again, so I wasn’t paying it much attention and put my phone down. The guys who get drafted have an incredible opportunity. It all depends on what drives you as a player, so you have to put in the work to achieve those goals. You have to set goals and work hard. It gives you added motivation when you don’t get drafted. Not getting drafted is an opportunity. It gives you a fire to prove yourself wrong and improve. Even if you don’t make it, you still have that sense of pride. It’s all about perspective and how you bounce back and find another way to achieve your goal. Mine is the Stanley Cup, and I’m doing everything in my power to get to that point.
Would you consider Anthony Cirelli to be a role model for the players that don’t get drafted this week?
Absolutely. He wasn’t drafted to the OHL and still managed to make it to that level and score two goals in the Memorial Cup final to win the championship. He’s a proven winner and works extremely hard, and now he has a Stanley Cup to show for it!