‘I’m John Buccigross and you’re not’
ESPN anchor puts on his game face before Frozen Four debut
The Frozen Four will be played April 11 and 13, 2013, at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The semifinal games will be broadcast at 4:30 p.m. and 8 ET April 11 on ESPN2; the championship is slated for 7 p.m. April 13 on ESPN.
SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross has been with ESPN since 1996, and was the primary host of NHL 2Night, ESPN2’s 30-minute program dedicated to hockey highlights and news, from 1998-2004. In April, he will be the face of the Frozen Four, a gig that he "wrestled for," in his words. And we'll let Buccigross take it from there ...
You have more than 100,000 followers on Twitter. What should fans know about you that cannot be squeezed into a 140-character limit?
I’m 6-4, 190. 32-inch waist, 36-inch inseam so it’s difficult for me to buy pants at the mall. I once got a hole in one on a Par 3. Almost a year to the day the next year I got a hole in one on a Par 4. I once played a round of golf with Wayne Gretzky, Russ Courtnall and Ray Ferraro; that’s 1,599 career goals. I also made two free throws with no time on the clock to win a high school basketball game on the road. I was adopted when I was 6 months. I make an amazing chicken parm and pasta dinner.
What was typical Friday night entertainment in Steubenville, Ohio?
Steubenville was a fun, diverse, passionate town to grow up in. They love family, sport and laughter. My goal was to do OK in sports, laugh at Goody, Pizz, Pote and Johnny Balzano. And have an Italian girlfriend. I achieved everything I wanted.
Would your Theater Arts instructor at Heidelberg College remember you? Why -- or why not?
Ahhhh, I’m on TV everynight, dude. I’m kind of a big deal. People KNOW me.
Who was your favorite hockey player growing up -- and what was it like meeting him (interviewing him?) for the first time?
Bobby Orr as a little kid and then Cam Neely as a young man. I interviewed them both during my first TV job on Cape Cod and I felt fine about it. Not too nervous. Orr is very kind and Neely is my age so he was just another dude. Although I was making $16,500 a year and he was making $1.1 million.
|YOU CAN PLAY PROJECT|
Gay athletes. Straight allies. Teaming up for respect.
Must-see hockey date-night movie: Slap Shot, Youngblood, Miracle or Mystery, Alaska?
Hockey date movie would have to be Miracle. If you’re hangin’ with the guys in the dorm then, of course, it’s Slap Shot.
How did you get involved with You Can Play?
I wrote Brendan Burke’s “coming out” column on ESPN.com which caused a big stir in the hockey world, especially in Canada, because he was Brian Burke’s son. Then after he passed away, I wrote a eulogy column on ESPN.com. Those two columns drew me closer to the large Burke family and closer with Brendan’s brother Patrick, who has admirably carried the torch.
If you're going to eat in Pittsburgh, grab a pierogi at [fill in the blank] -- or get the [fill in the blank] at Primanti Bros.?
I’m getting a good chicken parm dinner and a glass of whiskey.
Would hockey be better if it were played on pond ice?
No. I’m a big fan of indoor hockey with indoor plumbing, and indoor wind conditions.
Someone who’s never watched college hockey asks you what all the fuss is about. What do you say?
Go see a Notre Dame at Miami University game in Oxford, Ohio.
What was your first thought when the powers that be tabbed you for the Frozen Four?
They didn’t tab me. I demanded, begged, Roman-Greco wrestled for it. Every once in a while this summer the thought crossed my mind that I would be calling the Frozen Four in my hometown next April and Enya music would begin to play in head. Unicorn, lollipop, Easter Bunny happy. It will be the highlight of my ESPN career for sure.
Have you begun working on your opening comments for the Frozen Four?
“I’m John Buccigross and you’re not.”