On the ice you may love him or you might hate him; but off the ice it may be a little harder to not love Scott Hartnell. Filled with an upbeat personality and a big heart, it’s easy to see why he’s won over so many fans in the NHL.
For starters, you’d think to play in the big show, you’d have to have a lot of balance. For Hartnell he’s chosen to put his occasional slip ups to good use with the #HartnellDown campaign, just one piece to the constant puzzle of charitable endeavors that Hartnell participates in throughout the season and now the lockout.
It isn’t just about being a charitable player off the ice, but a consistent one on it. Hartnell has been just that for the Philadelphia Flyers, since his trade to the team from Nashville in 2007. A defensively sound player, with a knack for gritty goals and a gift for agitating his opponents has earned him success in his position with the Flyers; it also earned him a bid on the NHL All Star roster last season.
A fan favorite in not only Philadelphia, but across the league, Hartnell was kind enough to answer a few questions for Inside Hockey.
Inside Hockey: It seems as though you’re always coming up with creative ways to give back to the community, beyond Harntell down, what’s next on the horizon?
Scott Hartnell: With the lockout continuing, we have a lot of time to do creative things for charities. JVR and myself had a two week competition for the victims of Hurricane Sandy and raised over 40k between the both of us. It was awesome!
Inside Hockey: It’s safe to say that a lot of players find you annoying on the ice. Do you take pride in being an agitator?
SH: It’s always fun to get under the other teams skin. It makes them frustrated I think, and could take them off their game. It also gets me emotionally in the game as well.
Inside Hockey: Do you ever feel like you’re underrated offensively?
SH: I wouldn’t say underrated- its always something that I’ve tried to work on, whether it be shooting or working on stick handling.
Inside Hockey: Thus far, you’ve had the opportunity to play with a lot of big name guys. Who is one player that you’d love to play with at some point in your career?
SH: I think Jagr was probably the icing on the cake for me. He was one of the hardest working players that I have ever played with, as well as one of the best. I learned a lot from him and am very thankful for that.
Inside Hockey: Last season you appeared in a commercial for You Can Play. How important is the You Can Play message for not only NHL’ers but athletes at all levels of play?
SH: I think it’s very important. Not only is it important in hockey- but all other aspects in sports and in life.
Inside Hockey: You have quite a few female fans, some of which play hockey themselves. How great is the need to expand the female demographic within hockey, both on and off the ice?
SH: There is a lot of opportunity for women and it is there for the taking! It’s all about how you prepare and work to achieve what your goals are.
Inside Hockey: Perhaps an over asked question, but the sentimentality is never lost. What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to young hockey players that are chasing their dreams one stride at a time?
SH: The best advice that I was ever given was from my father, after every practice even still to this day he asks “who was the hardest working player?” What that means, is that you get what you put into your practice. If you work hard, good things will happen. If you’re a slacker and don’t work hard- don’t expect great things.
Inside Hockey: You’ve played in Philly for quite some time, what are a few must see, “off the beaten path” places that your fans should visit?
SH: Favorite Italian restaurant Spasso, or favorite pizza Zavino. I’m not sure which one is better.
Inside Hockey: At the end of the day, it all comes down to the hair. You have some of the best hair in the league, or most notable at least. What’s an average day of maintenance look like for that mane?
SH: Doesn’t take that long to do- anyone with curly hair knows that it is going to do what it wants to do!
Inside Hockey: Clearly you’re talented on the ice, do you have any off-ice talents or hobbies that you’d like to share?
SH: I love to golf, not the best but it is fun nonetheless.
Big thanks to @Hartsy19 for taking the time to speak with us!