04/27/2009 - As seen in the game program
Jim Starr, BEARS Staff Writer
Bryan Helmer is a seasoned defenseman with over 10 years of experience. He's 6'1, - 210 pounds and he keeps climbing the AHL stats sheet adding points behind his name every season. Bryan was also voted by the players as the HERSHEY BEARS team Captain for 08-09. That's saying something when you're a free agent walk on, and you are found worthy to lead the team. He is expected to play a big roll in the locker room, as well as on the ice.
There's a little secret about Bryan I'm going to tell you that very few people know about. He once tried Karaoke while he was out with some friends. He loved it! The problem was, no one else did. Not even the back up singers on the CD would sing along with him. Lol
Here's more "Inside Stuff" about Bryan Helmer ...
Jim Starr: What happened that night you tried Karaoke for the first time? Was anyone hurt? (smile)
Bryan Helmer: My wife and relatives urged me to go up and sing so I did. I was having fun, I thought I sounded pretty good. They taped the song and the next day we played it back, and that was it for me! No more Karaoke, and I began working even harder on my day job.
Jim: Was this after just one beverage?
Bryan: Well, it was after a few beverages... that was the only way I would do it. (laugh)
Jim: Are you ever going to try it again?
Bryan: aahhh..... NO!
Jim: You're not even going to sing in the shower?
Bryan: aahhh..... NO! Not even in the car. If anything, maybe I will hum along. (laugh)
Jim: What pre-game superstitions do you have?
Bryan: I don't have too many. I like to eat and sleep before the game, then get up and play with my kids for a bit, and then get ready and go to the rink. Once I get to the rink I start focusing on the game. I start putting my equipment on the right side of my body first. You know, the right skate first, then the right shin pad, elbow pad, stuff like that.
I always have a half cup of coffee before each game. It's just another ritual, I DON'T EVEN DRINK COFFEE. I did it one game, I had a good game so I just continue to do it.
Jim: I used to drink coffee and I found myself visiting the rest room more than usual ... isn't that a little risky for a hockey all suited up and in the middle of a period.
Bryan: No, it's just half a cup so it doesn't bother me like that.
Jim: I was always curious, What does a professional do when all of a sudden he has to go. You played in the NHL, there's 20,000 fans, National TV, network announcers, etc. What does a hockey player do if there's 12 minutes left in the 2nd period and he's gotta go!
Bryan: The player should tell the coach he's gotta go and hurry and go do what he has to.
Jim: Sometimes when a player mysteriously goes from the bench back to the locker room ... the announcers on the Radio or TV get all excited and start second guessing what injury or equipment problem the player is having, and they talk about him until he comes back out on to the bench. Are you telling me that once in a while the only reason a player leaves the bench is because he has to relieve himself?
Bryan: (smile) Sometimes. When you gotta go – you gotta go.
Jim: And when he comes back, all of the announcers are saying: "There's so and so, he's back on the bench again, boy that's good news."
Bryan: And it is good news for that guy, because he feels a lot better. (laugh)
Jim: You've played here before as a visitor, now you have a couple of games under your skates playing for the Hershey fans. How is that different when it comes to the fans?
Bryan: I think Bears' fans are the best fans in the AHL! I've played in a lot of rinks and different cities, and Hershey is definitely a hockey town. They expect a lot out of their team and it's good to have that pressure on you. I'm excited to be here and playing with these great guys, and to it all in front of these big crowds.
The fans here do a great job, they have led the league in attendance for several years, and they are absolutely the best fans in the AHL. It's true, the fans really are the 7th player on the ice, their cheers and support pulls a little more out of each player, and many times that adds up to the production of 7 players.
When I came to Hershey as a visitor, it was always tough to play in this town and head home with a win.
At the end of this past season, I was a free agent, and the Hershey fans were one of the reasons I signed here. They like a winning team and it seems like Hershey is always still standing at the end of the season, hopefully we can do the same thing this year.
Jim: The Bears have only missed the playoffs around 10 times in 70 years.
Bryan: I know, and I don't want to be a part of Hershey's history where I am one of the players on a team that didn't make the playoffs!
Jim: Do you feel a good chemistry in the locker room?
Bryan: I do, I really do. We have a bunch of great old guys, and a bunch of young guys that are ready to get things going here, so we have a good mix of guys. Woody is a good coach and everyone respects him, and that's what you need, is for every player to respect their coach and want to play for him. I think every guy feels that way so we're ready to get this party started!
Jim: What do you think about before you go out on each shift?
Bryan: I think about what I want to do, and what I don't want to do. Being a defenseman, I want to be the guy to make that first good outlet pass, I want to shoot the puck when I get the chance and I want to work hard. Those are the three things I keep going over and over in my head. For me, that works!
Jim: What do you do after a home game?
Bryan: I have two younger kids so I usually go home and my wife has a meal for me and I play with the kids a bit. I always like to talk to my wife about the game, so I just enjoy family time after the games.
Jim: Does your wife listen to you when you talk to her about the games, or can she be accused of what girls always accuse guys of ... NOT LISTENING? (laugh)
Bryan: No, no, she's a great listener. She's listened for a long time now, and she's got me where I am now, so she's a good listener and she's a good person. She's very good when it comes to hockey, and she has been through it all with me.
Jim: What have been your greatest achievements so far in hockey?
Bryan: My first NHL game, my first NHL goal, also winning the Calder Cup with Albany in 1995. Just making it to pro was a proud moment. I came right out of tier two Junior A (one level below the OHL) and I never thought I would make it to pro, but I had a good year and I got signed by the New Jersey Devils and began my career in Albany.
Jim: What other sports do you like to watch and play.
Bryan: I like to watch golf, football, playoff baseball. I love to take my family to minor league baseball games in the area and we enjoy the sunshine. During training camp, I took the family to a National's game in Washington too. Locally, we took in a game in (Lang-cast-er).
Jim: Wo, wo hold on there Bryan. You just made an honest mistake but I feel obligated to enlighten you to the proper way of pronouncing that city. (as I duck a little and hold up both of my arms for protection.)
It's pronounce: (Lank-es-ter)
Bryan: Oh, OK ... I'll remember that, (as he slowly put his gloves back on). lol
Jim: What's your favorite junk food?
Bryan: I don't think they have this in the states, but they are called "Crispers." You take a cracker and a chip and add vinegar and salt, and eat it with a dill pickle. I also love popcorn at the movies.
Jim: No wonder you can't sing. (chuckle)
Jim: What do you do to relax?
Bryan: Movies! Especially on the road. I just sit there and watch one or two movies, eat my popcorn with a bottle of water and relax.
Jim: Doesn't the salt and butter hinder your peak physical performance?
Bryan: No, I use a little butter but no salt.
Jim: Any special hobbies?
Bryan: Just fishing, the rest of my hobby is spending time with my wife and kids, and just being a Dad .... It takes a lot of time, it's sometimes stressful ... BUT IT'S FUN!
"WOMEN WANT TO KNOW"
Jim: Well, we know you are married to a hockey mom, and you have two great children, Have you ever changed a baby's diaper?
Bryan: Yep! All the time!
Jim: Can you cook?
Bryan: Yep! I barbeque outdoors, even during the winter. I do stick close to the dining room door though. (laugh)
Jim: How often do you vacuum, wash dishes, do laundry?
Bryan: My job at home is to load the dishwasher. When my wife cooks, I clean up afterwards; we have that little deal going on. I do laundry once in a while.
Jim: Male Bears fans are going to hate you! (laugh) That's way too much helping out at home.