Former NHL defenseman and Boston Junior Eagles coach Ian Moran (Acton, Mass.) is the guest on the latest episode of the RinkWise podcast.
Born in Cleveland, Moran’s family eventually settled in Massachusetts, where he played prep hockey at Belmont Hill and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990 before going to Boston College. Moran played nearly 500 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks from 1995-07.
He joins Matt Keator and Kirk Luedeke to talk about his development path in hockey, how he reached the NHL and then was able to stay there, life after his playing career, not being able to stay away from the game he loves and much more.
From the podcast:
On being 7 years old watching the Miracle on Ice, but focusing on another American Olympic hero:
I begged my father to build me a stride board in 1980. I still remember seeing Eric Heiden do the stride board and do lunge walks and duck walks. And I was fascinated by it. From the time I was little until I went to college, I did a thousand strides on the stride board every day. I shot a thousand pucks. I stickhandled for 15-20-30 minutes every day. And that’s not B.S. I really did it. All I really and truly wanted to do was play. The same Olympics. I saw Heiden doing plyometrics on the pole vault mat. And if you guys remember that, he would have a leg up and it would be like a split-squat jump and all that. And I did that and I had a bed and broke the frame and then I broke the box spring and I ended up having just a mattress on the floor for a long time because my parents wouldn’t give me a new bed. All I really wanted to do was play. It’s all I thought about.
On committing to BC after growing up dreaming of playing for BU:
When it came down to deciding, what mattered to me was I wanted to play. Had already been drafted and my goal was to turn pro when I was 20. Belmont Hill graduated on June 1st. I had figured out that BC’s night school spring semester ended a week later, so I was going to Belmont Hill during the day and I was going to BC night school and then I overloaded that summer. So when I was a freshman, athletically, I was a sophomore academically, and I just kind of accelerated the whole way. And it certainly wasn’t because I was smart and all that, it was because I was motivated and I wanted to play.
On how he found out the Penguins drafted him 32 years ago, before the Internet and social media:
The night of the draft, I was actually out with buddies in Arlington and they kept calling The (Boston) Globe or the (Boston) Herald to find out the order of the draft and who was going. We were in a buddy’s backyard and somebody yelled, “It was the Penguins.” And that was it. I wasn’t waiting by the phone. It ended up, I think, it was on Monday, I got a phone call from Craig Patrick and he was a GM in Pittsburgh at the time. He said something along the lines of, “Where have you been?” Or “What was going on, why weren’t you waiting by the phone?” And I just said, “I figured I’d get drafted and you’d get hold of me at some point.” And he said, “The only kid we’ve ever drafted that wasn’t just waiting by the phone.”
On playing in the NHL with Acton-Boxboro legend Tom Barrasso and how the goaltender and two-time Stanley Cup champion was misunderstood off the ice:
Tommy was great. He was, if you put the team first and played the way you were supposed to play, Tommy had all the time in the world for you. He was great. He didn’t care about the media. He didn’t care about his perception in the media. I’m not going to say he was about himself, but he was a goalie in that way, but he was about the team. And if you put the team first, he was great. He got bashed by the media, and I always thought it was unfair because they would say that he was just, you know, a “dink” or whatever.
But he would set up trips to the children’s hospital in Pittsburgh unannounced. He would bring the young guys with him. He would pay for all the (Penguins) paraphernalia, the guys to have the team sign it, all that kind of stuff. And he’d go through the children’s unit, and there’d be all these kids that were sick and he’d, you know. … the same media that are bashing him, if they knew that he was going through these hospitals and he knew the kids’ names, he knew the parents’ names, he knew what was going on. He knew their treatments. He knew everything about them. You know, it’d be unbelievable. But the reception was because he wasn’t friendly and didn’t like to do interviews, that he was just, you know, a mean guy, and it wasn’t the case at all. He was team-first. He could be ornery, but everyone can be ornery…for me, personally, as a young kid, he was great.