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Tim Hortons Burger and...Four Hours with Steve Wasserman!

Tim Hortons Burger and…Four Hours with Steve Wasserman!

You have the opportunity to spend four hours in the car with Steve Laserman. You and only you.

What are you talking about and above all.. how do you act?

Oftentimes, this type of scenario is imagined by a gang of “friends” who gather hands around a fire, enjoying immersion in a fantasy world they know is impossible.

Sauf que pour Joe Veleno, un jeune espoir québécois des Red Wings de Detroit, l’univers fictif s’est transformé samedi en un événement concret : il s’est bel et bien retrouvé sur le sièger de la voiture, son Steve Y Director general. Yes, the same Steve Yzerman who has 1,755 points in 1,514 NHL games. And yes, “tête-à-tête” lasted four hours.

Turn on “Ten Cent”

Friday night, 10 p.m. Vilino, who has settled comfortably in his Grand Rapids hotel room (the season started with the Griffins, in the MLS), is about to go to bed. Suddenly his phone rang. On the phone, Laserman.

“Steve told me the Red Wings called me back. He wanted me to join the team in Toronto. That was the start of a race against time.”

Then follows a crazy as it is unlikely series of events which, less than 24 hours later, will lead the youngster to the Scotiabank Circuit in Toronto… where he will play an NHL game, his sixth so far.

“I had to call the Griffins training ground host late in the evening. We met there and he opened the door for me to get my equipment and power poles. I went back to the hotel and stored all my things in a small room in the hallway.”

Filino finally went to bed around 1:30 AM.

“The next day, I got up around 6 a.m. I had to leave Grand Rapids for Detroit, where I was going to board Little Caesars (home of the Red Wings) to get my COVID test done. So I drove for two and a half hours. In my head, I took the plane after that. to Toronto.

surprise size

The original Montreal striker is still in the ring when he receives another call from Laserman.

Skeptical, he said.

“Steve tells me he should also go to Toronto, but he’s going by car. Then he introduces me “elevator”. I certainly would not refuse! First, because it’s Steve Yzerman, and secondly, because this method was much easier than taking a commercial flight.”

The route from Detroit to Toronto is 333 kilometers long. We’re talking about a 4 hour walk.

4 hours, along with a live hockey legend.

Image credit: AFP archive photo

“Of course I was embarrassed at first!” says Filino, laughing.

“You don’t want to say anything in front of him. But he made me feel good very quickly. He is a very nice guy.”

And the thousand dollar question: What did they talk about?

“Obviously we talked a little bit about the team and hockey in general. But there was also a Michigan State football game on the radio and we both love the league and the sport, so we also talked about it a little bit.”

Halfway through the flight, though, the lack of sleep for the past few hours has haunted Velino. He sleeps.. still sitting next to Yzermann! Not that embarrassing after all!

“I finally woke up because I had to eat. We were in a hurry. My meal was before the game… Tim Hortons! It was the only thing I ate before the game.

“I was a bit hungry on the field, so the coaches brought me Burger And a salad, but I told them I couldn’t eat this before the game! So I ate some snacks and jumped on the ice.”

evening dreams

Once on the ice against the Maple Leafs, neither fatigue nor emotions on a crazy day show, not even the atypical Filino meal before the game.

In the third inning, Toronto leads 3-1 when Quebec, who is left alone in the pocket, receives a pass and quickly pulls away. His shot finds the back of the net and.. bingo! His second goal in the NHL. that simple.

Velino will also add help later in the game. He finished his night of work with one goal, one pass, three shots, two checks and a +2 rating. All this at 12:28 on the ice!

If Detroit still drops the flag 5-4 to the Torontonians, the former Quebec Minor Hockey League can still be proud of it. No one can doubt the hard day he just spent seeing him “fly” on the rink.

clear goal

Villino is clearly hoping to see an extended stay with the Red Wings this time around. It was his second audition with the “big club” since he was selected three years ago.

Drafted into the first round of the 2018 draft, the youngster has had some great times in the AHL. But he thinks his time has come and he now knows what he must do to settle down in Detroit for good.

“If I’m still playing the same way I played on Saturday, I’ll stay with the Red Wings.”

He will no longer have to take long car trips on match days. Unless his crazy day with Steve Yzerman makes him want to start over?

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