If there was one word to describe Norfolk Admirals Equipment Manager, Tim Abbott, it would be experienced. He brings twenty-seven years of experience in pro sports to Hampton Roads.
The Mount Clemens, Michigan native spent thirteen seasons serving as an Associate Equipment Manager with the Detroit Red Wings. During that time, the Red Wings captured three Stanley Cup titles.
Before his tenure with Detroit, he worked in the AHL with Detroit’s top development Club, the Adirondack Red Wings, where he was part of two Calder Cup clinching teams.
The Sin Bin’s Ted Warren chatted with Abbott about player quirks, superstitions, practical jokes and fondest memories from Abbott’s days in the Red Wings’ organization.
S.B.: You hold some ties to the Detroit Red Wings. How was it to be part of three Stanley Cups?
T.A.: It was one of the best experiences anyone could have. I was really fortunate and lucky to have that experience and be able to go through all that. I was in Detroit for fourteen years and we had great teams, world-class players, and world-class coaches. You would call him a mentor as far as how to handle everything and do things professionally, and that would be Scotty Bowman. He was one of my good friends. We talk all the time still. It was that relationship that meant the most to me besides being there for all those cups.
S.B.: Often times players request certain items. What did Steve Yzerman request?
T.A.: He was very particular about his skates. He wanted his skates sharpened everyday. Normally that doesn’t happen, but he wanted them. He was really particular about that. That was the only thing that was his. He wanted his done every single day. He wasn’t really a quirky guy at all or anything like that. He always wanted to be as sharp as he possibly could. Just a true pro.
S.B.: What about Lidstrom or Shanahan did they have any special quirks?
T.A.: Lidstrom was so low maintenance you didn’t even know he was there. He was quiet. He was always prepared. One of the most prepared athletes I’ve ever been around. Shanahan was very superstitious. He had to have his sticks in a certain spot. Some things didn’t need to be touched. He was one of most superstitious guys I’ve been around. He was very particular about where things were, how things were done, how things were left. The other one that was like that was Dominik Hasek. He was very particular about everything. Things had to be done a certain way for him.
S.B.: What’s the funniest practical joke you’ve seen in all your years in hockey?
T.A.: Oh, There’s been so many of them! I’ve seen guy’s cars being put up on blocks and their four tires being brought in and hidden somewhere. A really good one is when some of the guys (the rookies) were going to be late or had been late, the vets would move big Coke machines in the hotel and would put them right in front of their hotel room door. When they get up and go to practice they would walk out and there would be a Coke machine and it’s tough for one guy to move that and get it out of their way.
S.B.: Where was the Coke machine joke played?
T.A.: That was in Anaheim one year. (With Detroit)
S.B.: What’s your fondest memory of twenty-seven-years in pro hockey?
T.A.: Winning the three Cups was right up there and being around those teams. Then the two Calder Cups in the American League were special too. We had great teams and great coaches. Barry Melrose was there when I was there. Those two championships were great. The three Cups and being around those world-class players and coaches. Just being able to experience that and go through that whole ride was the top for me.
Check back soon as The Sin Bin paints a picture of what it is like to be an Equipment Manager in the ECHL featuring Tim Abbott.