Welcome back to another episode of the Drive 4 Five Sound Tigers “Meet and Greet!” Today, we have Andre Benoit. We were inside the Harbor Club once again.
This Month’s Guest: Andre Benoit
We were supposed to have both Benoit and Mike Cornell, but Cornell was sent back to ECHL Worcester the morning of the game. Andre has just come back after the Sound Tigers 5-4 win over Springfield, a game where Bridgeport was down 4-0 after 5:18 of play. The Sound Tigers scored 5 unanswered goals to win in one of the most improbable comebacks in team history.
Andre Benoit Introduction: Well, I grew up in Ottawa, or around it, was a big Canadians fan growing up, didn’t have a big favorite player. I would’ve loved to see Rocket Richard. I played 4 years in Kitchener in the OHL, then played two seasons in Hamilton, where I won a Calder Cup. Then I went overseas, but came back to play with Binghamton and won another cup there, I’ve been fortunate to have played on great teams. I played 3 years in the NHL, followed by a year in the AHL with Chicago, then last season I was with Malmo, and came back this year to the Blue Jackets and Cleveland, where I think I’m still apart of. And now I’m here in Bridgeport. This is my 12th year in pro hockey. My family now lives just outside of Toronto, they are here for the week.
Q: So, what the heck happened after the first five minutes of today’s game? I mean really, we haven’t had a comeback like that in years.
AB: I think it was the puppies [it was Pucks ‘n’ Paws day] we were too worried about the puppies. But overall it was a good character win. Yeah, but when you have a comeback like that builds character for sure
Q: Talking about character, what kind of character have you seen from the guys in the room, and the type of leadership that is on this team and what does it bring to you?
AB: Yeah, we have great leadership, this is my first time coming into a team mid-season. This is really a good group of guys, with guys like Holmer [Ben Holmstrom], and Berny [Steve Bernier] and it really is fun to walk into a group like that.
Q: Given your experience and having played all over the world and being an All-Star and winning a few cups I think it’s very important to have a vet like you. What kind of momentum did Helgy’s fight bring to you guys to get you pumped up to take that lead? [VIDEO OF FIGHT BELOW]
AB: I think it was huge in not giving them more momentum. We scored a big goal, and their guy was trying to get momentum on their side and Helgy stepped up and did a great job. He answered the bell for sure. It’s important to have guys that can fill that role.
Q: As far as your take; the two young guys, Vande Sompel and Wotherspoon, what is your take on the two of them.
AB: Vandy, it was the first game I had seen him play, obviously he has a lot of talent. Spooner, has heaps of talent and is fun to watch him play. He’s been playing well since he’s been here.
Q: How does this loan situation work, are you still with the Blue Jackets?
AB: I have no clue. I think they still have my contract.
Q: Of all of the arena’s you have played in, which one is your favorite?
AB: Boston, just an awesome atmosphere. Montreal is cool.
Q: You didn’t play with Cleveland when they won the cup right?
AB: No, that season I was in Chicago, last season I played for Malmo in Sweden.
Q: So what do you do in the offseason, and how do you train?
AB: I actually bought training equipment, about 7-8 years ago, so I train a lot in the garage. Living near the water, we spend a lot of time swimming. I also like to play Golf in the offseason, hey how’s Tiger doing? Since I really like Golf. (Tiger Woods’ first tournament in a while was going on, and he was doing well.)
Q: Favorite team, and player growing up?
AB: I actually was a Canadians fan, growing up in Ottawa, then the Senators came, and I was fortunate to play for them, and having all of my family watch me there. I didn’t have a favorite really, I was a big fan of Rocket Richard, but never saw him play. The books I read.
Q: Other than hockey, what would be one thing you would be doing if you weren’t a hockey player.
AB: Not sure, I’m thinking, not getting any younger. Be a trainer or teacher or something apart of a team. When I was growing up I wanted to be a lawyer, but I don’t want to go to school for 6 years.
Q: Have you ever had a hole-in-one?
AB: I have, pretty funny story, I was playing with my daughter, she was 5. My brother-in-law was like: “Hey, I don’t see your ball”, we ran down and sure enough it was in the hole.
Q: Food of choice?
AB: I like Steak, and Sushi, big fan of Outback or Longhorn.
Thanks to the Sound Tigers Booster Club for allowing us to do this once again. Thanks to Andre for providing us a great interview. Make sure to check out our Sound Tigers instagram page, @Fight4First!