Jan Hejda Has Personality – Who Knew?


Everberg: You’re a funny guy.

Hejda: No, I’m so serious about everything.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda is best-known for being a stay-at-home defenseman, and a bit of an aging one at that. The most people talk about him these days is to wonder why he’s still on the top defensive pairing. (Answer: He’s the only non-Barrie defenseman who can keep up with Erik Johnson.)

On Tuesday, November 18, the Colorado Avalanche participated in the Mile High Dreams Gala at Pepsi Center. As is tradition, Avalanche PR asked a player to go around interviewing teammates. Last year, winger Jamie McGinn made a good attempt, but captain Gabriel Landeskog had to take over. (Most notable – Landy to MacKinnon: “What are you drinking?” Nate: “Water.” Landy: “Are you sure?” Nate: “Yes, because I’m only 13.”)

This year, Jan Hejda took over the interviewing responsibility. Personally, I thought Gabe might have to step in again. Not only was that not the case, Hejda killed it. Turns out he not only has a personality, he’s a funny guy!

Here are some of the notable interactions:

Hejda: Did you have a good two days off.

Reto Berra [gnoshing on his food]: It’s always good to have days off, especially after a long road trip. And you?

Hejda [hoping Berra’s English is worse than his]: So, perfect, you had a good rest. What you was doing?

Berra: I just took rest, so, laying on the couch…

Max Talbot: My parents used to go to Puerto Val-arta quite a bit when I was growing up.

Hejda [making fun of Talbot’s accent]: I have no idea where Porto… where ever was it.

Talbot: I think it’s in Mexico.

Hejda: Let’s try to figure out what is your favorite food. [small pause] Ok, tortil-a.

Hejda: Do you have your girlfriend or your wife here?

Marc Andre Cliche: Yeah, she’s here somewhere, probably drinking champagne.

Hejda: Oh, I didn’t expect that. I didn’t know you have a girlfriend with your look.

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Hejda: Who is your most favorite defenseman ever you played with?

Nick Holden: He started his career with the Edmonton Oilers, taught me a lot with Columbus. It’s got to be Jan Hejda. He was my first D partner in the NHL, and now I’m living my dream playing with him.

Hejda: Oh, I remember you told me already, when you was a little boy, you was watching me to play in Edmonton, right?

Holden: That’s right. I lived, dreaming of meeting you one day, and now I get to play with you — it’s amazing.

Hejda: Thank you, I like this.

Talbot: Why are you playing with my back while you’re…

Hejda: Well, you know, because…

Talbot: You’re making me awkward.

Hejda: Because I always play with your back, or-

Talbot: Ok, ok. [awkward silence] Do you have any questions for me?

Hejda: No, I already answered your questions.

Hejda: How did you like when you growing up, how did you like to play with wood sticks?

Nathan MacKinnon: I actually did use wood sticks. I know it’s a young joke, but I did. I got my first fiberglass stick when I was seven, though, so I haven’t used it since.

Hejda: What about the Jofa helmets?

MacKinnon: No, I never wore Jofa.

Hejda: Oh, you didn’t play with that helmet, like Mario Lemieux? The nice one? The round one? The big one?

MacKinnon: Yeah, I guess not, man. I didn’t wear those. Is that what you wore growing up?

Hejda: I actually wore a Jofa, yeah. But that was the older version than Teemu Selanne played with.

Hejda: We have one of the youngest guys on the team here. Nice head, by the way.

Dennis Everberg: You mean my hair?

Hejda: Oh, this is hair? All right. Did you ever cut them, or did you ever do something with that?

Everberg: [laughs]

Hejda: How do you enjoy playing with me?

Everberg: I love it. You’ve been around for a long time — too long time. I wonder when you’re going to quit, so I’m happy to play with you.

Hejda: Who was your favorite player you was watching when you was growing up?

MacKinnon: Oh, I was a big Hejda fan when he played for the Oilers and the Blue Jackets.

Hejda: You are not the first one. I think most guys watch me when they were young.

Everberg: You’re a funny guy.

Hejda: No, I’m so serious about everything.

Hejda: Did you have television signal?

MacKinnon [snorts]: Yeah, I was a very avid television watcher growing up.

Hejda: So, what about cell phones?

MacKinnon: I got my first cell phone when I was 14.

Hejda: No, really? I had my first cell phone when I was 30.

Hejda: How about your mustache? How long are you growing it?

Everberg: A couple weeks?

Hejda: A couple years?

Hejda: Erik here. [laughs and stops]

Erik Johnson: [stands awkwardly, waiting for a question]

Hejda: [laughs some more] So, we all know that he really likes his dogs. How many dogs do you have?

EJ: In the dog house? Um….. four? How many snakes do you have?

Hejda: I have only one snake, and it’s enough. Actually, he’s a pet — you know I told you. What about horses? How many horses you have now?

EJ: Yes, I’m getting into the equestrian game. I’ve broadened my base from dogs to horses. Not sure what’s going to happen next with that. But, I thoroughly enjoy them.

Hejda: Yeah, we know that. We getting tired of talking about horses every day on the practice with EJ. So, let’s talk about hockey now – enough of animals. Who is your favorite defenseman you ever play with?

EJ: Favorite D partner? I really liked playing with Jay McKee…

Hejda: No, no. [to the camera] Cut it.

Hejda: Who is your favorite D partner you ever play with?

EJ: Well, what I said initially was I liked playing with Jay McKee…

Hejda: No, no. [to the camera] Cut it. Start again.

Hejda: The question is who is your most favorite D partner, with a number between seven and nine you ever played with?

EJ: Oh, it’s got to be Darryl Sydor, then. I played with him in St. Louis…

Hejda: All right, I’m not going to be asking this question anymore. That’s enough.

The Mile High Dreams Gala is an annual event held at the Club Level of the Pepsi Center. Fans have the opportunity to mingle with players from the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Mammoth and Colorado Rapids. The event features live music, food and wine from area restaurants.