“Lifting three trophies and being a captain was thrilling. Some guys play 16 years and never have a chance to win,” he began. “I think the years I was there we had just a great run with championships, it was quite amazing and my biggest accomplishment with the team.”
When pressured to choose a favorite championship memory, Maltais can’t. To him, all three championships (1998 and 2000 Turner Cups, 2002 Calder Cup) were unique in their own way.
“All the cups that we won were special. All of them have their own significance because they were different groups of players and different circumstances. They all had their own story. The first was just great because we weren’t expected to win and we came back and won in front of the loudest crowd I have ever played in front of,” he remembered.
“In 2000, we were the favorite to win, and expected to win. There was a lot of pressure, but we had a great group of guys that meshed well and were very talented. We handled the pressure very well and won. The third cup was interesting because we weren’t the favorite, and we weren’t supposed to go anywhere, but we got a couple of guys back from Atlanta like Dan Snyder and we kept going and going.”
The former left wing, who still holds most of the franchise’s all-time records including points (950), goals (454), assists (496) and penalty minutes (1,061), says he really did it all for his family.
“It is not so much for me, but for my family. My daughter is seven now, but when I get to bring her there and she can see the banner hanging in the rafters, that selfishly makes my day,” he said. “I want my son and her to see what their dad did. They missed what I did for a living. It is definitely an honor.”
At the end of the day, what Maltais really misses most about the Wolves is the sense of camaraderie.
“I miss the joking and day-to-day nonsense that goes around. I miss stepping out on the ice and battling the other team together. You watch your teammates play through injuries and you walk away with tremendous respect for your fellow players.”