Interview: Cammi Granato
She's already a pioneer, the first woman to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and one of the first three to go into the IIHF Hall of Fame. Just one more to go, then, for Cammi Granato, a cinch to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame, perhaps this year when the Toronto-based Hall opens its members' lounge to the women's game. Longtime U.S. hockey stalwart, schooled at Concordia, now living in Vancouver, married to ex-NHLer Ray Ferraro and serving as an analyst on NBC's women's hockey coverage – here is a woman of many allegiances, you would think. I talked to her yesterday at Canada Hockey Place – while Canada and Russia were taking to the ice, we were inside the building waiting for first the U.S. and then the Canadian women to go through their media paces ahead of today's gold-medal game matching the traditional rivals.(Photo: Cammi Granato celebrating Team U.S.A.'s victory over Canada at the 2005 world championships. Getty Images)
Podium: Who's going to win?
Granato: It's so hard to predict. Are you asking me to just guess, or you actually want to know?
Podium: A prediction. I was going to save that for last, but let's go there now.
Granato: I have a strong feeling it's the U.S.'s time, based on their chemistry, based on the fact that they don't have the pressure – that's the big one. The pressure is huge. I know we felt it in Salt Lake. I just have this feeling – when you look at this game, it's going to come down to goaltending, and power play, and the one factor of pressure. If Canada can actually use the pressure in their favour – like, the crowd in their favour – and not feel it, it might be a different story.
Podium: Who are you cheering for?
Granato: I'm a broadcaster. I can't cheer for anybody. I've got to be neutral. (Somebody tell that to Matt Lauer - ed.)
Podium: About the Hockey Hall of Fame – do you think you'll go in?
Granato: You know what, I'm not even that comfortable talking about that. I don't know.
Podium: Who should be the first woman to go in?
Granato: I haven't thought too much about it. I just was really really excited that women were accepted. I think the first person that comes to mind is an Angela James. Danielle Goyette is another one. I know when I was inducted into the International Hall of Fame with Geraldine Heaney, so – it'll be really cool to see. Angela was one of the first, one of the originals.
Podium: Will you be there, at the Hall of Fame ceremonies?
Granato: I haven't gone that far yet. The Hall of Fame thing is something you've never thought about. It wasn't even an option. It's pretty amazing to know that it's finally here and women can get inducted and be a part of it. I haven't even gone further than that, really, in my mind, about going to support it.
Podium: How much do you and your husband talk hockey?
Granato: Oh, all the time, gee, yeah.
Podium: Do you put moratoriums on it?
Granato: Yes. Sometimes, oh yeah, for sure. It's in our face 24/7. Even our kids – we were thinking it'd be fun for our little guy to play baseball, because he loves baseball. He doesn't have a chance. Hockey is on our TV all day and all night, especially being on the west coast. We get games at 4:30. We talk hockey a lot and we disagree a lot, and that's what makes it really good. We have different opinions, we bounce them off each other, we can argue about it – healthy arguments.
Granato: It would maybe be on a player. Patrick Kane, for example. I was telling my husband how much I thought he was such a great player in the world juniors and thought he was an amazing player. My husband said he was too scrawny and little to make it and he was going to get bounced around – and then he was rookie of the year, and I got to rub that in his face. It was perfect!
Podium: You just had a baby, a second little guy.
Granato: Yeah, he's eight weeks old. Keeping me busy, that's for sure.
Podium: You look great.
Granato: Well, I'm tired. I'm really tired. But I have a lot of help around. Withe the Olympics, I'm working so my family came in. I think I've had more help this week. Working, you don't have to wait hand and foot on the kids 24 hours a day. It's been great – but yeah, I'm tired.
Podium: How do you rate this Olympics, in terms of overall vibe?
Granato: I have a different opinion because I've been in the city, I live here. I've been able to see it grow so I have this whole vested interest in it on that side – just the city preparing, and what it's brought to us, even transportation systems and that sort of thing. But I think it's been awesome. The vibe is just incredible. I think it's just because I'm in hockey and I love hockey that it's been the best (Olympics) I can remember as far as the attention to this game. This venue is what everyone's focussing on, because the hockey is here. Just to walk around the streets, the buzz for the hockey games is like nowhere I've ever been for an Olympics. I was in Calgary in '88 but I didn't sense that as much, because I was younger. Here, it's incredible.
Podium: How many Olympics have you been at?
Granato: I was in Calgary, Nagano, Salt Lake, Torino – this is my fifth.
Podium: You're seasoned.
Granato: Yeah. I'm biased, because I'm proud of it, to be from Vancouver.