Victor Hedman, the Deer Park Chiefs’ Swedish-born star, remains a man of few words as he learns English and its tricky nuances.
One subject, though, gets him talking, and a lot: the Vancouver Heroes, the opponent the 19-year-old Hedman already loves to hate.
The young, talented defenseman still talks about the matchup against the Heroes in the pre-season, how the Heroes bullied the Chiefs and got them off their game by inducing fights. In an additional indignity, he remembers popcorn being dumped on the Chiefs’ bench by rowdy fans.
“That’s one of the teams that it’s really not a pleasure to play against,” Hedman said. “I really don’t like playing against them.
“I don’t like that team.”
Don’t like the Heroes? Join the crowd, Victor – most Chiefs fans haven’t since the 17th Round of the ’09 Draft this past summer.
In their pre-season game back in September, for example, Hedman received a nasty cut on his left cheek from the skate of the Heroes’ Simon Gagne, and the two teams began fighting less than a minute into the game.
Now, the AFHL’s first rivalry is taking a turn in Week 14 as the Heroes and Chiefs meet in a regular season game for the first time. With the Chiefs looking for a playoff seed, and the Heroes trying to stay on top of the Canadian Conference, this matchup is certain to be competitive, contentious and colourful.
They don’t like each other? No kidding.
“What else can you ask for?” Heroes goalie Ryan Miller said. “It’s going to be a battle, it’s going to be fun and, as a hockey player, you want to play in and be a part of.”
“There’s some extra spice to it when it’s Deer Park and Vancouver,” Chiefs forward Corey Perry said. “It will be intense.”