Backstage Pass Episode 4 Written Recap

Joining Corben and Parker in the podcast for the fourth episode is Motor City Rockers captain Danny Vanderwiel. Before Vanderwiel joins the podcast, Parker and Corben recap the weekend's game. 

Parker begins the recap by breaking down game one against the Prowlers in Port Huron. 

PB: It was tense. It was great to have Danny Vanderwiel back, it was great to have TJ Sneath coming off the injured reserve list, especially in a 5-1 win.  I’m sitting over the press box and for most of the game, Port Huron didn’t score a goal so I’m hoping Trevor Babin gets that shutout but low and behold Port Huron gets one and I was just so upset. But it was a great atmosphere and great to see a bunch of Rockers fans down in Port Huron. 

CS: Speaking of Danny, he got an assist in that game too so welcome back Danny! 

Before diving into the recap of the games, Corben and Parker slightly brag about their predictions coming through. 

CS: I had said watch out for Tristen Wells and he got a goal that game. Immediately when Parker texted me I was like clearly this show is a good luck charm. 

PB: But that wasn’t the only goal that got predicted. Scott Coash got a goal too. 

CS: Yes, standing on business there Parker. That was his prediction as well. I said clean sweep. 

PB: We both said that. 

CS: Yes, we both did say that. 

PB: And Trevor Babin received his first point in an assist over the weekend. It was Scott Coash's goal, assisted by Josh Colten, assisted by Babin. 

Moving on from the bragging of their predictions, Corbyn dives right into the recap of Friday's 5-1 win in Port Huron. 

CS: Overall Friday night was just a dominant 5-1 performance. Goals by Jamison Milam, Scott Coash, Josh Colten, and Tristen Wells as I had predicted, and an assist from Jamison, Scott Coash, Mike Winn, Danny Vanderwiel, Pavel Svinstov, Geroge Holt, TJ Delaney, Ryan Rotondoi finishing it off. You are going to get it in a rival game, very chippy. 20 minutes of penalties combined between the two teams. A lot of roughing and a lot of fighting.  

Wrapping up Friday’s recap, Corbyn jumps right into Saturday's 4-3 overtime win at home. 

CS: 4-3 OT win, 35 seconds into OT, if you blinked you missed it. I hate to tell you for a minute not going to lie, Parker, a little worried at first, Port Huron got down to a straight 2-0 lead in the first period. Heading into it, what do you think the Rockers did to flip the switch? 

PB: I think they went in the locker room and were like “We’re not losing to Port Huron. We’re not going to come home and lose to Port Huron again.” We’ve seen how we are against Port Huron. I think it’s one of those rivalries that are great in the state of Michigan, it’s great for the state of Michigan so I think they went in the locker and said let’s go. 

CS: The first period was owned by the Prowlers, the second period was owned by the Rockers, and they split it in the third period. And basically, it all came down to OT and TJ Delaney said, “I got it guys. We’re going to go home quickly all right.” 35 seconds into it, he got the game-winning goal, and it earned him the first star of the game. Goals scored by TJ Delaney, Mike Winn, and Jonathan Juliano.  Another goal in that game from Scott Coash. Little two-goal weekend for you there Scott, congrats. Assisted by Josh Colten, he had three, TJ Sneath, Danny Vanderwil again welcome back, and Devon Fields with another assist. Trevor Babin with a meaty 34 saves and all around just a great win. 

Moving on from the recap of the games, Corbyn and Parker discuss how important a win like Saturday's 4-3 overtime win can be a big push when it comes to a playoff push as the Rockers sit second in the Empire division behind Binghamton. \

Wrapping up the recap of the I-94 rivalry, Danny Vanderwiel joins the podcast to give a backstage look at who Danny Vabderwiel is. 

CS: You are the captain of the team. What does it mean to be the captain of the Motor City Rockers? 

DV: I was very blessed when Gordie explained to me last year when I was coming back from Birmingham that they were naming some leaders on the team. Gordie explained to me that he was going to give me the C. I was pretty grateful, but also a little bit shocked because U was a newer guy on the team. I’ve been in that position before, not a captain but I’ve been an assistant captain multiple times in my life. it has always kind of been me being myself that’s gotten there. It hasn't been me trying too hard or seeking that out, it was more so something that was given to me. I love it here. I think it’s a great idea. I love the color scheme. I have a lot of friends who say they love the jerseys. It is pretty cool and pretty neat. 

CS: You said that was your first time receiving the C patch right?

DV: Correct.

CS: Ever in your whole hockey career? Was that always something on your bucket list or more so if it were to happen, it would happen?  

DV: Something that was if it were to happen, it would happen, not something I sought out. But as the boys know I’m a vocal guy so if I got something to say, I’m going to say it. Also, it is kind of one of those things I think my actions more so than anything else have put me in that spot. Day-to-day consistency and effort. 

CS: What advice would you give to the younger audience who may want to be captains one day?

DV: The biggest thing is to be yourself and for sure be the hardest working one. It is kind of one of those be yourself. I think leadership comes from within and I think when some people go after the C patch or assistant captain, or any type of leadership it doesn’t go well for them. The biggest thing I say is to be yourself, and always be on time early. If you have something to say, say it but deliver constructively, and, in a way, you’d want someone in a leadership role to deliver it to you. That’s one thing I learned throughout this year and last year the whole process of delivery, conversation, and constructive criticism.

Moving on with the interview, Corbyn dives into Vandy’s past starting with his start in the FPHL with Binghamton, his stint in the SPHL, and wraps it up by asking the question of how it was transitioning to a new team when he joined the Rockers. 

DV: I knew one of the guys coming here. The hockey world is pretty small, so you always seem like someone you’re playing with knows one of your buddies. This group for the most part, and the other guys that have been here are very welcoming. Everyone has a good time and works hard for the most part. It was extremely easy and a lot of it has to do with Gordie’s solid coach. He is a very understanding guy. The fellas on the team Jamieson Milam and Jonathan Juliano, are some of those older guys that kind of sometimes seem a little grumpy but their bark isn’t as bad as their bite. It has been a very easy transition.

 Bringing up the fact that Vandy is also a coach for the Rockers, Corbyn asks what being a player and a coach has taught him about hockey. 

DV: When I am playing there isn’t too much of the coaching aspect. The short stint I’ve had being injured and being on the bench has definitely brought a new perspective to the game for me. The intensity is still there and you’re still in the game. Seeing things from a different angle and seeing the boys interact with each other. I have learned a lot about the game.  A lot about patience, delivery and communication. 

CS: Do you see yourself coaching when it’s all said and done?

DV: Yeah absolutely. That’s kind of a major reason I’ve continued to play. I stopped playing hockey when I was twenty for seven years. A big reason was because of head injuries. Covid was a little weird and I had an opportunity to get back into hockey. And then a big reason I have continued to play is to keep myself in this hockey community with the idea that I want to coach. 

Moving on from the topic of coaching. Corbyn dives into Vandy’s return after being out with an injury and how it felt to be welcomed back by the Rockers fans. 

DV: It was awesome. I want to say thank you to everyone and very blessed for all the support throughout the entire experience. I am very grateful to be back. My parents and girlfriend might not be so grateful I’m back, but I am very grateful for all the support and stoked to be back. 

Diving into the fun questions, Corbyn asks Vandy what his favorite aspect of being on the Motor City Rockers is. 

DV: I’d have to say this group of guys, the guys we have here are lights out. It's ELE (everyone loves everyone), it's rare, and it’s not common. You have 18-20 guys coming in every day with smiles on their faces, happy and joking around with each other. The fellas in the room are my favorite aspect. 

Continuing with fun questions and one that Corbyn asks all his interviewees, why do they wear the number that is on the back of their jerseys? 

DV: My mom was born on July 19th. So, when I was coming here that was one of the jerseys that they already had available. I wore 98 when I was kid and a funny story, when my mom asked me why I wanted to wear 98 I said because 99 was taken. 

Going into a deeper dive into who Danny Vanderwiel is, Corbyn asks what it was like growing up in Island Lake Illinois which is about an hour from Chicago, and most importantly what it was like to be so close to the city of Chicago when the Blackhawks were winning Stanley Cups. 

DV: It’s unreal. It's surreal because you can’t believe how many people. It is an insane and cool atmosphere to be in. The streets are filled with insane positive energy, 

Keeping the conversation going about growing up and being in Illinois, Vandy reveals he loves going to nature preserves and just hanging out with his friends when he gets the chance to go back home. 

Moving the conversation onto food, Vandy gives a deep dive into what kind of Chicago-style pizza he likes compared to Detroit-style pizza. 

DV: I do love a good deep-dish pizza. I like the sausage wheel. I like it with cheese, the big sausage wheel, and the sauce on top. Chicago style is a knife-and-fork kind of pizza and the deep dish here you can still eat with your hands. 

Keeping the topic on food, Corbyn asks what Vandy’s favorite food is. 

DV: Oh boy that’s a tough one because I have such weird eating habits. When I was younger I would say chicken parmesan. But now I’m a big meat and potatoes kind of guy. Veggies, big veggie breakfast burrito guy with a little bit of salsa. I try to eat what makes me feel good. On game days I love just plain pasta. Juliano I Live with him and that is the pregame show and I’ve learned plain pasta is very good. 

Moving on from food Vandy discusses his favorite hockey memory. 

DV: I would definitely say pond hockey growing up as a kid, especially back home with my cousin. My uncle would freeze his driveway and I had another buddy Dan Coleman, he lived on a lake and we would shred up that pond. Just that free flowy and having fun and simply doing it for the love of the game. 

Wrapping up the interview with one final question, Corbyn asks what keeps Vandy happy as he is seen around the rink with a smile always plastered on his face. 

DV: Gratitude is so important. Being grateful and being alive. I love hockey and I love being here. It is not often that people can go to sleep and can’t wait to wake up in the morning and that’s what I get here. I am going to bed, and I cannot wait to get up and come here. The people here too are pretty easy to get up to and put a smile on my face. 

Before ending the podcast, Parker rejoins the podcast as the two discuss the weekend's three-home game matchup against the Columbus River Dragons. Parker predicts one or two wins if the Rockers play physically. He predicts a TJ Sneath goal while Corbyn predicts the River Dragons' 15-game winning streak coming to an end, Vandy scoring a goal, and Devon Fields being someone to look out for.