Anyone who’s met Brian Patafie for even five minutes will tell you he has no trouble talking.
If you’ve nowhere to go and he’s got time to spare, the Chilliwack Chiefs trainer will bend your ear with side-splitting stories from his decades in junior and professional hockey.
Ask him one question and he’s off to the races, guaranteed to have you laughing out loud.
But what happens when the questioned becomes the questioner. That’s what the man they call ‘Taf’ is finding out now as he launches ‘Live with Taf,’ a video show broadcast twice weekly on the Chiefs Facebook page. Patafie is figuring out how to draw out stories from an eclectic list of guests that ranges from Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks to actress Blanchard Ryan of Deep Water fame.
Couture was a young player with the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67s when Patafie worked for the team, and it was easy enough to get the NHL star on the show.
Blanchard, on the other hand, was a connection made through Twitter.
|“Current Chilliwack Chiefs trainer Brian Patafie, seen back in the day with the Moncton Flames, a minor league affiliate of the Calgary Flames.”|
“Did you know that her father was the coach of the New England Whalers in the old WHA (World Hockey Association)?” Patafie asked. “He was at one time the president of the Philadelphia Flyers, and Blanchard is a big hockey fan. So she started following me on Twitter, and she was liking a lot of my hockey tweets and I wondered, ‘Who is this person?’ So I looked at a few of her pictures and I was like, ‘That’s freakin’ Blanchard Ryan!’
Patafie messaged her and asked if she’d be interested in being a guest, and she said yes.
She’ll be on May 6 talking about sharing a movie set with Ben Affleck.
Patafie has constantly expanding list of potential guests, including one super duper heavyweight he can’t announce just yet.
This Friday he’ll be chopping it up with NHL legend Theoren Fleury and Ottawa Sun writer Don Brennan.
Patafie is also having members of the Chiefs on the show, which might be the ultimate interview challenge.
Getting teenage hockey players to open up about anything beyond managing the puck and taking it a day at a time is daunting, but that’s where Patafie’s insider knowledge from the Chilliwack dressing room will come in handy.
“If you come into my quote, studio, which is a den in my house, one wall is just pasted with notes written out in sharpie,” he laughed. “So I plan ahead.”
Patafie is comfortable in the spotlight. The former NHL trainer and published auther of Ice It Down: A Look at Pro Hockey Through a Trainer’s Eyes, is regularly hired to give keynote presentations and standup comedy sets. During one stretch last year spent 12 of 19 nights on a stage.
But he needed a little persuasion to try this idea. Patafie’s wife, Dawn Dennis, and his mentor, Gair Maxwell, came up with the concept and Haley Ferguson of the Chiefs stepped in to handle the technical side of the show.
The first episode aired April 22, featuring Maxwell and David MacLeod, the equipment manager for the Glasgow Clan, a Scotland-based team in the United Kingdom-based Elite Ice Hockey League.
Last Friday’s show had Couture, who appeared shirtless with beer in hand from the deck of his pool, joined by Chilliwack Chief Tommy Lyons.
“Logan tweeted out that he was going to be on a show with one of the best dudes he’s ever met in hockey, and that was a real nice thing for him to say,” Patafie said. “I love that guy because he’s no different from when I met him as a 16 year old with the 67s.
“He’s got a pile of money, but he’s the same polite guy I knew.”
Tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) show features Sportsnet anchor Ken Reid along with Stanley Cup winning athletic trainer Pete Friesen and sports conditioning coach Thomas Kiriakou.
Any hesitation Patafie might have had about doing this is long gone, and he’s now thinking the show will carry on well after the COVID-19 pandemic madness ends.
“But we need to move it to Tuesdays and Thursdays, because Fridays are usually game days, and we need to move it into prime time,” he mused. “We can do at noon now because people are at a home and it gives them something different to watch, but when things get back to normal I think maybe we switch it to six or seven p.m.
“I’m excited about this because it’s a pretty crappy time for a lot of people, and this is some entertainment for them. It keeps my name out there when I can’t do any speaking engagements, and it’s something that gives the Chiefs exposure as well.”
Find the latest episode online at facebook.com/ChilliwackChiefs/ and follow @bpatafie or @Chiefs_Hockey to see who’s coming up next.