Jason Beckett recently sat down to answer questions sent in by fans through www.aeros.com
. The answers are below.
Margaret from Houston
Q: Jason, This question has nothing to do with hockey. I am a firm believer in the U.S. flag and what it stands for and I have noticed that during the National Anthem, you are the only player (from any team) that stands still for it. Because of this, I have the utmost respect for you. I just wanted to know, seeing that you are not from here, why such respect for our flag? Or is it just that you are too nervous before a game to move?
JB: I guess a long time ago I made a conscious effort to stand still for the flag. I show respect to either flag. It doesnt matter American or Canadian, its a symbol of the country. I decided I didnt need to move at that time.
Matt from Houston
Q: It's great to have you on the team. How have some of the veteran Aeros helped in providing you and the rest of the team with experience this season? Has fellow defenseman Travis Roche been a role model, of sorts?
JB: Leadership comes in different forms. The young guys have been just as important as the veterans in our locker room. You see different things from different types of players. Travis Roche
were two really different players, but his competitive style definitely rubs off on all of us.
Jessica from Baytown
Q: I want to let you know that it has been a pleasure watching you this season and I think that you are an important asset to this team. How has your experience been playing for the Aeros? In your HONEST opinion what do you think of the city and the fans? Are there any pre-game rituals that you have (such as Matt Foy eating at Macaroni Grill before each game and ordering the same thing)? From what I understand you are a Christian and have a strong faith in God. How does that affect the way you play and your interaction with your teammates? Do you attend a church here in Houston? Once again thank you for taking the time to do this and I look forward to seeing more of you in the future.
JB: The size of city is a little overwhelming at times. I dont like the traffic, but theres a lot that the city of Houston has to offer that I havent had in other cities. Great weather, the diversity of eating, its been really nice. The fans have been great, like any hockey town they are very supportive. When we get those good crowds its really vocal, its nice
I dont have any strict rituals, I just go through common rituals. I do pray before the game and between periods
Being a Christian enhances all my relationships around me. Im a little more understanding of the differences in the locker room. When youre more understanding, you can relate more to them and understand them more. It helps my play because I understand I have more than just the purpose of making the NHL.
Katie from Kalamazoo, Mich.
Q: Hi Becks. How do you like Houston so far? Being a Michigan girl myself, I had a hard time adjusting to the weather down there. My question to you is : what made you decide to play defense? and How hard was it for you being so far away from home?
JB: When I was young, my dad put me on defense because I was a good skater. I always watched the defensemen on the ice. They were always bigger and stronger and commanded more respect on the ice. I wasnt a natural goal scorer either. Ive been away from home since I was 17 so its become fairly easy. I do get to spend a lot of the year at home, up to four months. I get my time at home and take advantage of both. Its not as difficult as it would seem.
Malia from Houston
Q: Do you and the other Aeros watch NHL games for entertainment and/or for training?
JB: We watch some NHL games, but I really dont watch too much hockey. We eat, drink and breathe hockey for so much of the year I dont watch that much. I try to leave hockey at the rink.
Q: What was a particularly memorable game/moment for you with the Aeros this season?
JB: Its hard to say, theres really not one memorable moment. Probably coming and playing my first game in Houston as a Houston Aero was the most memorable. The new rink and the great team.
Q: Is there an individual player or team that you feel a strong rivalry against right now?
JB: I definitely feel a strong rivalry against my old team in Milwaukee, and Chicago.
Sandra from Katy
Q: I know you were traded from Philadelphia to Milwaukee in 2001-02. Whats the hardest part about being traded?
JB: Probably just leaving old friends. Leaving friends there and having to establish new ones. Also, getting climatized to a new situation, new coaches and new systems.
Dan from Pearland
Q: What are your after hockey plans?
JB: I would like to get into architecture, something in design. Also maybe into teaching or the ministry.
Jennifer from Austin
Q: What do you do in your off time, either off season or during the season when you have a day off?
JB: In the off-season, I really like to be outdoors
flyfishing, backpacking, hiking, watersports. During the season I kick back and rest as much as we can because of the schedule. I read, play video games with the guys.
Brian from Houston
Q: Jason, I know youve played both defense and forward this season. Is it hard to adjust from game to game, even period to period?
JB: It was difficult earlier when I was just initially moving. But Ive usually had a good understanding of both positions. As a kid was told to go forward as a defenseman and I didnt really. You just have to think a bit more about where you are.
Shawn from Spring
Q: Youd played in a lot of places with a lot of teams. Who would you say is the best player youve ever played with, and against?
JB: The best player Ive played with is probably Michel Picard (currently a Griffin) in Philly. The best player Ive played against is probably Curtis Murphy.
Kristen from Galveston
Q: Where do all these penalty minutes come from? You seem like such a nice guy! Do you like having the ability and size to stick up for your teammates?
JB: I usually don't take a lot of penalties when its putting our team down. I try not to hurt us. I definitely know I have size and ability to stand up for my teammates, knowing they do need that sort of person. I know those abilities have worth on team.
Keri from Waller
Q: Hi Jason! My son & I really enjoy watching you on the ice you are a very skilled player & bring a lot of excitement to the Aeros. My son would like to know how old you were when you first started playing ice hockey & what you think is most important for beginners to know. I have two questions: First, how does the changing player roster affect the team dynamics? Secondly, if you didnt play hockey, what subject & grade would you like to teach? Thanks & good luck!
JB: I first started playing ice hockey when I was six years old. The most important thing about hockey is just to work on the small skills on the game. Work on your stride, breaking down your stride and being a better skater. Also work on the other skills that you might take for granted. All the skills are important. And also make sure you have fun.
A change is never a bad thing, and you have to understand in this business it comes at any time. You never know when guys will move on. You have to be willing to change and make adjustments in your game to make up for different in personnel. But the dynamics should never change for yourself, bring your best every night. I would teach math or science.
Nicole from Bensalem, Pa.
Q: I notice that you now stretch during warmups. Why the change?
JB: I usually stretch in the dressing room. But Ive taken some precautionary measures to stretch more on the ice to make sure that Im prepared.