First Posted: 11/6/2008 8:54:52 AM | Last Updated: 11/6/2008 8:54:52 AM
This week I’d like to provide a personal interest angle on this column, I feel it’s a little more interesting than straight stats and transactions.
So, last Monday night I got a few minutes with the Cyclones’ newly signed forward and “enforcer” Mitch Woods as he was appearing at the Cyclones Coach’s Show as a guest.
Woods came to Cincinnati after a championship season with the Fort Wayne Komets of the IHL(International Hockey League). There, he earned a rep as a fighter and led the league in penalty minutes.
Mind you, he’s done all of this at a height of 5-foot-10 and a svelte but sturdy 175 pounds.
Here's how it went:
Was there a point in your career where you decided to become an enforcer, or fighter?
“At one time in juniors I only had one goal and was getting really frustrated. I had to take it out, and felt that it was the right way to unload my aggression. I had three fights right away and did well.”
How do you decide when to “get into it” with a guy?
“If somebody from the other team is getting too aggressive or cheap-shotting, or my team is getting worked over and there is a need for a momentum change, then I’m all over it....I know what to do.”
Do you remember the toughest fight/player you've encountered?
“Yeah, Kris Mallette for Flint(IHL) was tough, Jeremy Cornish for Bloomington, and Cedrick Bernier for Wheeling(ECHL) just last week...I was hitting him so hard and I just waited for him to go down. I was like, what else do I have to do to get you to hit the ice?”
Do you have any injuries as a result of your fist work?
“Yes, my knuckle on my middle finger is collapsed down into the length of my finger. (at this point, Woods shows me his left fist, and sure enough, you can’t see a middle knuckle, but you can see scars and flesh wounds from the beatings....good stuff!) I have pins holding some bones together in there, too. I usually just take two Tylenol and let the rush of adrenaline carry me after a fight, and get back into the game. I had 36 fights in 41 games at one stretch.”
Lastly, will you punch me in the face as hard as you can right here at Jefferson Hall on The Levee?
“I can't, Coach Weber is right over there, so I’ll have to pass for now!”
From his affable and approachable manner, you wouldn't guess that Woods is one of the most feared pugilists in the league.
Thanks, Mitch! See you "On the Ice"!
Mitch Woods, No. 17, and the rest of the Cincinnati Cyclones will be at US Bank Arena this Wednesday, Nov 5, vs. Reading and again Friday Nov. 7 and Saturday, Nov. 8, facing the Elmira Jackals.
At press time, The Cyclones are 2-3-1 with the one being an overtime loss. Please visit www.cycloneshockey.com for more info on tickets and promotions.
Lou Gerrein is a Cincinnati Cyclones fan-club supporter and a pro hockey fanatic in general. He worked at WNKU in the early ’90s and has been a frequent guest on WLW SportsTalk. His column is featured weekly on www.CinciPulse.com.