2022 Stanley Cup Final: Talking hockey, Mighty Ducks’ and more with Kenan Thompson of SNL

Kenan Thompson's hockey roots are unusual for a celebrity NHL fan. Before becoming an Emmy Award-winning sketch comedian at “Saturday Night Live”, he was a Mighty Duck.

Thompson hosts the NHL Awards in Tampa, Florida for the second consecutive night at 7 ET. He played Russ Tyler, in “D2” (1994) as well as “D3” (1996). Ever hear of the “knuckle puck,” The shot where “it's difficult to be precise but it drives goalies insane”?

Yes, Kenan Thompson.

Thompson spoke to us last week about returning to host the NHL Awards. We had a great time laughing with him. Tampa Bay LightningHis New York Rangers And Sidney Crosby The “Mighty Ducks Legacy” and the best moment in hockey history of “SNL” are all fandom.

Thompson will host the NHL Awards, which will be broadcast on ESPN. Kevin Weekes impression:



A new comedy sketch featuring Kenan Thompson as Kevin Weekes, NHL analyst, is airing on Tuesday at 7 PM ET on ESPN.

ESPN: Why is Kenan Thompson a good choice for the NHL Awards?

Thompson: The NHL is a passion of mine. Since my Mighty Ducks days, I have been a fan of the NHL. A relationship that allows me to actually contribute to the league's success is wonderful. I want more than just to wave on the JumboTron. Because it's such an amazing community, it's great to be active in it.

ESPN: Your joke during the 2019 NHL Awards The legend of the Tampa Bay Lightning is still alive: the story about their humiliating loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets An NHL record was set for the lowest number of wins. What is it like to sit there and ridicule players?

Thompson: While I don't know much about the players, I heard some reactions from fans. “How dare your diss us!” It was not a little. Simply stating facts. That's all. [Laughs] But it seemed like it was a motivating factor. The guys have been on an emotional rollercoaster ride ever since.

ESPN: These back-to-back Cups should be credited to you.

ThompsonThey are undefeated since that joke was made. [every playoff series]. This is the greatest turnaround I have ever witnessed.

ESPN: How did you become a New York Rangers fans by living in New York?

Thompson: Yes, you can just go to the Garden. I love Madison Square Garden, man. I became a Knicks supporter by default. When they were not playing my Tampa or Atlanta teams, I began going to Rangers games and rooting them on. Rangers vs. Lightning series was an intense tug-of-war. Lightning is a favorite of mine. Absolutely.

ESPN: You are part of an exclusive NHL tradition: The JumboTron is a JumboTron that Rangers fans see at home. The fans cheer as they play a clip from “SNL” and then show it to you. Jimmy Fallon and other celebrities have made bits before they are featured. Do you ever try your hand at the game?

Thompson: It's incredible. It is an honour to be acknowledged in this manner. It's almost like New York is giving you a pat on the back. It's very, very cool.

Lea DeLaria played Big Boo in “Orange Is The New Black” and did a bit wherein she drank her drink after being placed on the JumboTron. So I followed her, and she downed mine too. It was crazy. The same vibe. Have fun.

ESPN: You've stated that you are an ESPN analyst in the past. Alex Ovechkin guy. Are there other NHL players you enjoy?

Thompson: Although it might seem blasphemous to say so, I admire Sidney Crosby's talent. Sidney was a great guy who I had the pleasure of meeting at the NHL Awards. You can have a lot of fun with your audience members. He was willing to participate. He allowed me to hop on his shoulders a little. He is just a good guy. He's a great kid, though it's a shame he's in another city than the Rangers.

You gotta respect talent. David Ortiz is always greeted with a standing ovation in Yankee Stadium whenever he visits. They respect his work. Like, we get it. He was a Red Sox player and was a constant source of frustration for us for years. Talent is talent, and dedication is dedication. Cities should respect this, I believe.

Connor McDavid This is absurd. Nathan MacKinnon This is absurd. T.J. Oshie? This dude is so cute. P.K. Subban is a friend of mine, so I must shout him out. This year's Rangers team was solid. I have to give it up. Igor ShesterkinI love the feeling of stepping into big shoes. My Lightning is also essential. Steven Stamkos And Nikita Kucherov They are solid. Alex Killorn has been working hard for many years. Atlanta is a great place to be a fan.

ESPN: Have you ever had strange encounters with Mighty Ducks fans?

Thompson: [Laughs] Strange? No. It's been super-duper loved all along. Sometimes hockey fans get rowdy after a game, but they want to shout “The Mighty Ducks!” and tell me how much it meant to them and how it helped them stay motivated. It's been a lot more love than ever before.

ESPN: Hockey is a sport that has a whole generation of people who have gotten into it through the “Mighty Ducks” or by playing on-line hockey games. You likely found new fans.

Thompson: Yes, it's amazing. I still vividly remember that moment in “Swingers”, when they were playing that particular game. You can see the footage here. [pixelated] But, it was still possible to crack open someone's head. It was incredible. It was a wonderful era.

ESPN: The greatest “SNL” hockey moment Wayne Gretzky's “Waikiki Hockey” Elvis movie parody Or Chance The Rapper's “Let's Do That Hockey?”

Thompson: [Laughs] Oof. Chance would be my choice. Gretzky is the best, but Chance s— was amazing. It was amazing. He was stunned when he saw Brady Skjei's name.

ESPN: Let's imagine Kenan Thompson as the “NHL Commissioner for a Day.” It is possible to change hockey in any way you want. What are you going to do?

Thompson: What would you change?… What would you change? I don’t know. It feels positive. What about paying the players more? That is always a good option. These guys go out there and really try to survive. You must give these guys the resources they need to provide for their families and survival. This is possible only with a strong support system. Giving back to the community is always appreciated. It's already happening in the NHL, so it wouldn't be surprising if more were done.

ESPN: Kenan Thompson hosts the NHL Awards. The salary cap should be abolished.

Thompson: [Laughs] Here it is. This is a great headline. They will be mad at this.

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