At just 26 years old and with 474 professional games – split between the American and National Hockey Leagues – under his belt, Chicago Wolves center Brandon Pirri is already a seasoned veteran.
Chicago Wolves sideline reporter Mark Citron sat down with Pirri to discuss his role on a squad still looking to create chemistry as well as a special tribute by Wolves’ in-state rival – and his former team – the Rockford IceHogs, among other topics.
Q: Sunday (Nov. 19) marked the first time the Wolves faced Rockford this season. During that game, the IceHogs showed a video tribute of you and your successes (Pirri was the AHL’s top scorer in the 2012-13 season) during your time in Rockford. Were you expecting that?
BP: Not in the slightest. A nice tribute. Cannot say enough about that organization and my time there. A fantastic organization, from the rink staff people all the way up throughout. I was 19 when I was there; I became a man there in my time. I met my now wife when I was playing there. Still talk to those guys that I played with today from there. Nothing but great memories and good words for that organization.
Q: Back to your current team, the Wolves. Can you describe the state of the team? You guys are getting plenty of chances and shots on net, but are not putting pucks in the net. Everyone has to be frustrated.
BP: It has been a lot of bad luck, but I mean it starts with five-on-five play. Getting greasy goals and going hard to the net. It is good for us because this week is such a busy schedule with three in a row, so there is nothing to do but keep working hard and playing the next game.
Q: You have been among the players – Stefan Matteau, T.J. Tynan and now captain Paul Thompson – selected by the coaching staff to have a leadership role on this team. When you wear the “A,” how does it make you feel and what leadership traits do you bring to this team?
BP: I have experienced a lot, but I am only 26. Just being a positive guy. No matter what level I have been playing, that is still young but old enough where guys can ask you about advice on things. It could be anything really. For example, recovery is something I talk to them a lot about. As for wearing the letter, it is my first time ever wearing one in my career. However, being a leader isn’t something that is given to you. Regardless if I have an “A” or not it doesn’t matter. Being a leader to me means leading by example, just being yourself and having others look up to you and setting an example so they are trying to be better as well.