Q. Talk about Joe Thornton and what he's meant to you and to the Sharks and how your chemistry has worked?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: Obviously our record speaks for itself, the numbers. It's been quite a turnaround. It's great to have a player like Joe on the line.
Q. Is there something that he does that makes it work really well for you?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: For me, we're both pretty good along the boards, so that helps, and our game down low in the offensive zone, we can just ?? I can feed it to him behind the net and he's so big and strong that, you know, he can beat a guy or he draws somebody else to him. That opens everybody on the ice up and you've just got to find the hole for him and he's a great passer, so he'll put it right there for you.
Q. Can you explain to people us in the States, some of us have never been much further north than Toronto, what it's like to grow up in Moose Factory, Ontario and how somebody that grows up there makes it to the National Hockey League?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: Growing up in a small city atmosphere, we grew up, there's 2000 people and it's on an island, so you know, you know everybody on the island. But I think it was good growing up. I had a lot of friends and it was cold up there, so all we did was play hockey almost all the time. So for me it worked out well growing up there.
Q. There was no indoor rink, though, was there?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: We got one when I was nine years old in Moose Factory. So I had one since then. You know, playing on the outdoor rink, I think that helped out a lot. It's good for your skills because it's smaller ice rink than a regular rink, and a lot of times you have just as many guys as you have on a regular rink out there. It's playing hockey when you're in a tight little spot when you're a kid and working on your hands and handling the puck in traffic.
Q. And you left home at 14; correct?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: Correct.
Q. And where did you go from there?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: From there I went to Timmins. I played a year in Timmins and then I went to Kapuskasing the following year and played a year there. Then I played Junior B in Kitchener the year after that, and that's when I got drafted.
Q. You're quoted as saying it's a lot of pressure to be under, and you're talking about the nation that you're from and sort of carrying the expectations of your people with you, can you talk about that a little bit?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: There's a lot of pressure on you growing up right from the start I guess. You know, everybody used to come and watch all my games and I used to have people come down from all over the place to watch my games when I played Junior. People in Ottawa that came from further north than I was would come down to watch the games.
It's something that you've got a lot of kids that look up to you when you grow up, and even when I was playing junior, I had all the kids in Moose Factory and kids aroun d the whole area were just amazed that I was playing at that level. It's pretty tough when you're 17, 16, trying to deal with that kind of stuff.
Q. What's it like now?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: I've gotten used to it, and I kind of embraced it. You know, it's something that guys like Ted Nolan have done; I've looked at them and talked to them. Now it's something that I kind of take pride in and I enjoy speaking to the kids. We had kids come up in Ottawa and Edmonton, and I enjoyed taking the time out and try to talk to them and give them any advice I can and let them ask as many questions as they want.
Q. A lot of my question you just answered to the previous caller but I was just wondering who was your biggest influence, was it neighborhood kids, older brothers, dad or an uncle who brought you out to the rink and put you out there when you were young and got you going in the sport?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: Probably maybe my dad. He got me going. Actually my whole family, like all of my uncles played. So they actually had a team that was basically made up of my uncles and my dad, a men's hockey team. I just watched them since I was a little kid and I guess growing up, they are all hockey fanatics, they always watched hockey night in Canada every Saturday no matter what.
It's just something I grew up around and my dad got me skates early and got me walking around on them and brought me out to the ice when I was two, I think. You know, I just loved the game ever since.
Q. Growing up in Ontario, would you have been a Leaf fan? Was that the big Saturday night game to watch?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: You know, that was probably a big Saturday night game to watch. But actually I grew up a Vancouver Canucks fan.
Q. Who is your idol then?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: I used to like Richard Brodeur when I was real young, he was my favorite by far. But, you know, a little later on, I grew to like Pavel Bure because of his speed and goal scoring.
Q. Richard Brodeur played in the 80s, so you must have been young watching him.
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: Yeah, I watched him when I was a little kid. They used to put me in front of the TV when I was just a little kid, and that's the only time I would be quiet, my mom said.
Q. Never played goalie yourself, though?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: I played one game, one or two games, goal, when I was a younger kid. I always enjoyed playing forward more.
Q. I read that you have plans to do something for your nation and for your community, have you finalized those plans?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: I haven't got the them finalized yet but I know that we're in the works. I've been working with my agent trying to get something set up. I'd like to definitely. That's one of the things I've always wanted to do was do something for the community, just give back because they gave me so much growing up. Not just my community, but the communities around. One of the things I think I'm going to start doing is a hockey school for sure because they are big hockey fans up there. We are going to hopefully work out the other part of that later.
Q. And why the Canucks?
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: Why the Canucks? My mother was a big Canucks fan, and, you know, everybody back home either cheered for the Maple Leafs or the Canadiens, so I grew to dislike both teams. I don't know why all the way out there when we had the good Edmonton teams and stuff, but, I don't know, I guess because my mother cheered for them.
*squeaks* He grew up a Canucks fan!