Marc Methot knows a thing or two about making a lifestyle change. Just two years ago, at the age of 34 and with 13 seasons as a pro defenseman in the NHL under his belt, Marc hung up his skates in a somewhat forced retirement. Forced, because he spent the last year trying to get back on the ice after a knee injury. Even when he no longer could play or practice with the team, Methot was renting private ice at Minto to try and regain his ability and get back in the game. In the end, Marc chose to not put further strain on his knee and start a long process with many pain meds to get in another season. He focused instead on his family, and two young children.
Transitioning from high-speed hockey to home life came with some challenges for Methot who, as he says, ‘lacks patience’. The same mental energy that made him a force on the ice seemed like that it had nowhere to go. Exercise became his outlet.
But when former TSN Reporter Brent Wallace, who has been a long time friend of Methot from his days with the Ottawa Senators, called him with a new opportunity to get back into the world of sports, he couldn’t refuse.
Brent Wallace, who is undergoing his own transition after 23 years with TSN, called Methot to discuss an idea for a podcast. Taking a former NHLer and a former sports reporter, and having them interview some great names in hockey? It was a unique idea that made sense for both.
In March, the two launched the ‘Wally and Methot Show’, a twice-weekly podcast series taking viewers behind the scenes of hockey, the players, and some Ottawa Senators highlights from years past.
We caught up with Marc and Brent to discuss their transitions from the professional world to their new show, including their biggest challenges and their best advice.
Photography by Sean Sisk
Off Ice & On Air: Marc Methot
When we last spoke to you in 2013, you were just starting your second season with the Senators. A lot has changed over the last 7 ½ years. Most importantly, you are married and a father of two. How has becoming a father and a husband changed you? What is the best thing about being a Dad?
It’s made me incredibly patient, because I’m not a naturally patient person (laughs). I’m very busy mentally. I’m always working out and doing stuff because I’ve got to stay busy. So, having kids definitely made me a bit more grounded. I went from a very fast-paced lifestyle with hockey into retirement with very young kids, it’s been an adjustment.
I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s been amazing. But, I can understand now what a lot of people go through by being at home during a pandemic. It’s not easy at times.
Tell us about the role that your parents played in your success. What do you admire most about them? Is there anything that you want to make sure to reflect in your own parenting?
My dad was an Ottawa Police Officer, and my mom was an emergency nurse for 40 years. You don’t realize it as a kid, but I can see now the sacrifices they made, between their full time shift work and me playing hockey.
My dad was always a big believer that you need to keep your kids busy, because there’s a lot of distractions out there. He saw that first-hand as a police officer. It kept us out of trouble. We were two boys in the family, and it was easy to just go out there and cause trouble. But, we were so busy and so focused on our sport that it kept us structured.
I’ll forever be grateful to my parents for making those sacrifices to get us to practice early and to those games during the week.
Looking back on your time with the Senators, you were a big part of two of the most memorable seasons in franchise history, 2014-2015 and 2016-2017. Tell us about that wild 2015 run, where the team went 21-3-3 down the stretch to make the playoffs. It was a wild, unforgettable ride for the fans and city. What was it like for the players? What are some of your favourite memories from that season?
Like any playoff run that I had with the Sens, the most memorable thing was the fan support. We’d get off the airplane after flying in from a game, and all of the fans would be there at the airport waiting for us. Elgin Street was always popping off with tons of parties, and everyone was celebrating. Being an Ottawa native, I really enjoyed seeing the fan reception. It’s always great during the year, but it’s another animal in the postseason and in the playoffs. That was always a lot of fun to experience.
Your last game with the Senators was Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. You played 33:20 in that game, the 2nd most of any player on either team (after Erik Karlsson). Tell us about that 2017 playoff run. Is there a particular game or moment that stands out to you the most when you look back at it?
Beating Boston and New York in the first two rounds was huge. The feeling of winning out that series and moving on, but then playing game seven against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins was awesome. No one had us pegged to win that series, and we were right there in game seven with them. It was up for grabs.
We lost, obviously, but being on the big stage like that was a really cool experience. I’d never been that far before, and I’m always going to remember it.
You were left unprotected in the Expansion Draft in an apparent attempt for the team to make a trade with Vegas to keep you here, while also being able to protect other players like Dion Phaneuf. No trade was made in the end, and you were taken by Vegas in the Expansion Draft, but then traded to Dallas shortly thereafter. How did all that unfold from your perspective? Looking back on it a few years later, did you have any idea that you had played your last game in Ottawa after Game Seven?
Initially, I was a bit resentful about the whole process, because I’m a local guy, my family is here, and I was having kids. My parents and my brother are all able to watch me play in Ottawa and we’d just come off a really good year, and all of a sudden I’m getting poached from another team. Only to get moved as bait to another team. Vegas picks me up and they trade me immediately to Dallas.
I wasn’t very happy about it. But in the end it worked out great, because I had such a great experience living down in Texas. I know people have mixed opinions on the idea of what that looks like, but hands-down it’s the best place I’ve ever lived.
It was incredible. When I actually got down there, and got to see the place, it was just a first-class organization, and I’m forever grateful for how they took care of me despite me being injured almost the entire time I was down there. It was a good experience.
You were forced into retirement due to injury. When did you officially make up your mind to retire? Was it an easy or difficult transition for you?
Oh, I was stubborn. The idea that at 34 I wasn’t going to do anything, was really difficult for me. So the transition was hard. And I was trying to come back, I was hoping my knee would slowly get better. I was renting ice on my own at Minto Arena here in Ottawa just to skate and see if it got better. And to no avail it never did. So I hung em up. I never officially made an announcement, but I knew I was done. I would try to skate and then the following day my knee would swell up and I felt awful.
So I’m still working out like a wild man, I’m still on the Peloton everyday and in the gym everyday in my basement doing exercises and weights stuff. But skating I can’t do. So I had to gracefully retire.
Looking back on your NHL Career, what is the accomplishment that you’re most proud of and why?
Oh, man. I think signing that first extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets. I’d played a couple years under my entry level deal and then I’d signed my first deal, it was a two year deal, and then my third NHL contract was a four year deal. Finally I had job security. Most players like to avoid it and say they’re all about winning, but let’s face it… in any line of work, you want job security. You want to know that you’re going to be comfortable for the rest of your life. So, I think achieving that for me was probably up there with getting traded to the Ottawa Senators.
You and Brent Wallace recently started the podcast, “The Wally + Methot Show”. How did your friendship with Brent begin?
We always had this really good comradery between us during interviews. He was always interviewing me throughout my career and we always got along really well and would chat between interviews. I’d gotten to know his family a bit because I had gone over to visit his kids. I was his daughter’s favourite player at the time.
So we knew each other very well. And then when he unfortunately was let go from Bell Media with TSN, he reached out to me within a week to do a podcast. His wife Lisa had suggested it, and the rest was history.
I agreed right away on the phone, because I was bored out of my mind at home.
Tell us about the podcast. You had a great start with interviewing Daniel Alfredsson and then Bobby Ryan on your first two shows. How did you like being the one on the other side of the microphone?
It was hard, and I have a new respect for what reporters do. One of the hardest parts is just flagging down athletes. Trying to get a hold of one to do an interview is a nightmare (laughs). Because you have to respect their busy schedules, and sometimes their not in the best of moods… so I’m starting to see first hand what that’s like. Oh man, it was tough.
But you know what, I’m enjoying it, because I’m not worried about taking a hard hit in the corner anymore, and not worried about getting terrible sleep from travel… it’s a nice change of pace for me.
I’m learning a lot from Wally, too, so it’s kind of been like a trial and error – education – crash course… it’s been good.
What can fans expect from the show?
Candid interviews, and getting a behind the scenes look at what these players are like. Getting a little more personality out of them, less hockey stuff.
It’s going to be hockey oriented, but you’ll find out quirky facts about these guys, see the lighter side of their everyday lives, and you’ll get an interesting and unique perspective because Wally’s a broadcaster and I’m a retired hockey player. And I toss in some stories, so it’s fun.
When you look back at your career, who are some of your teammates in Ottawa that grew into great friendships? What do you respect most about them as people?
Derrick Brassard, Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, Craig Anderson, Dion Phaneuf, I’m missing some… (laughs). But that 2017 run we had really cemented some bonds for a lot of guys. It’s weird what that does. They say you develop these bonds with players when you go through a lot of hardships and it’s true. I’ve been through it a couple times and you never lose touch with them. And when you do pick up with them, even if it’s been a year and a half, you’re right where you left off.
Who was the toughest coach you ever played for?
Probably Ken Hitchcock. He would have been the most intimidating, because I was a rookie when I joined the league and he was my coach in Columbus. And he’s a hall of famer.
Who is the funniest guy you ever played with in Ottawa?
Probably Chris Neil. He was unintentionally funny sometimes… (laughs). But a character in the room and a prankster. If you pranked him, he would always take it to the next level and ruin your day in some way, shape, or form.
Who is the greatest leader you ever played with, and why?
Daniel Alfredsson. For me he was the epitome of what a leader should be. He knew how to talk to the players, he was very approachable, but also very smart. And when he spoke, we listened. Because he was straightforward and he wouldn’t waste his breath.
The classic Swede. Very stern, doesn’t speak very much but when he does, everyone pays attention. I admired him the whole time I played for him.
When fans look back at your career, what would you hope they think of when they think of Marc Methot?
I know a lot of them are going to think of me as Erik Karlsson’s team partner, and I do take pride in that. I don’t like the idea of being someone’s sidekick, but he was a special player to play with and I can own that one. I think just a good, reliable, stay-at-home defenseman that could move well and always played very hard. I think those are attributes that I’ve always taken pride in.
What is the best thing about your wife?
Patience. My wife deserves a medal, because I am a high maintenance guy. Whether it was me not being able to miss a workout on any given day, so she’d have to watch the kids, or when she’s travelled or moved with me, like when I’ve lifted her from her roots in Ottawa and taken her to Dallas Texas. To some people, that may not seem like a big deal…but when you’re on your own somewhere with young children, it’s not always easy and you don’t have a support system around you. So hats off to her, she’s been fantastic to me.
You were born and raised in this city and got to play 5 seasons with the Ottawa Senators as part of your 624 NHL game career. How special is it for you to have lived out a dream that so many kids in Ottawa share? To those kids and young players reading this, who want to one day skate for the Senators like you did, what is the best piece of advice you could give them?
Good question. For me, it was incredible. I can’t really put it into words… I still remember the day that Bryan Murray phoned me. It was on Canada Day, and I was having a party in my backyard. And just before the party started, he called me to let me know that he had traded for me.
I still remember that feeling and the goosebumps from that. It just goes to show you how significant it is to be able to play for your home city. I grew up watching the Senators. So needless to say that was special.
If there’s advice that I could give any kid out there, I think it would be: you have to have fun obviously, but you need to make sure that you’re not just putting all of your marbles into hockey. Try to get a good education, because I’ve seen a lot of players sacrifice a lot of things only to not really have much to fall back on after their careers and it can be sad at times. So, I was lucky, but I know a lot of players out there weren’t, or aren’t.
So focus on your school, and you know what, have fun with it. Because hockey is not the all and all in life, there’s a lot more important stuff out there.
New Beginnings for Brent Wallace
A lot has changed since we last spoke. Tell me about the moment you got the call that said you had been laid off from your job of 22 years. What did that feel like?
Terrifying. Tuesday at 7pm on February 2nd was when I got the email. It just said we have a conference call… business update tomorrow. I knew right then.
I didn’t see that coming. I worked until 5:00 on Tuesday and got an email at 7pm. No idea. God, it was terrifying. The stress level of being told at 47 that you don’t have a job after 22 years was hard.
There was a long couple of days after. I couldn’t get off the phone, though. Everybody kept calling or texting, and I was trying to reply to people. I remember Ian Mendes called me pretty soon after. It was the hardest call I’ve ever had. The two of us were in tears. There were a lot of people that reached out, even people I didn’t know from certain other areas in the world. So that was really nice, but it’s all a blur.
During those first three days, I just remember that I would sit in my bedroom and probably cry about 10 times a day, and then try to respond to people and figure out what I was supposed to do. Everyone was reaching out and saying “do you want to sell real estate? or do this?” and my wife said, “why don’t you do a podcast with Marc?”
So I called him, and as soon as I called he said “Wally, I’ve been waiting for your call. Let’s do this. I’m all in.”
We talked for 45 minutes. I still don’t understand how it all happened. Then I called Craig Medaglia who had reached out before to say, “if you ever want to do a podcast, let me know.”. And I knew his work, so the three of us got together and started to figure it out.
Were you an avid listener of sports podcasts before this?
No, I’m not exactly a podcast guy per say… and that’s why our show is a Youtube show. Because I’m a TV guy, right? Look at me! I still have lots of makeup leftover. I thought that it would be a better product if you could see it. Because people love to see facial expressions. And we love to put in some fun graphics and do stuff like that. We want it to eventually be a TV show.
How did your friendship with Marc begin? What’s the best part about working with him?
Ever since he joined the Sens, he was always one of those guys you gravitated towards because he was awesome to talk to. So we’d always chat. But I never liked to get close to players, because we both have a job to do and it’s just awkward sometimes. But, we were always cordial and hung out in the locker room and always talked.
So in 2014, I’m covering the World Championships in Zurich. I take sleeping pills because I can’t sleep, and I’d forgotten them. So my wife called Meth, because she knew he was coming a few days later. So he comes over to the house to get them.
At the time, my daughter was about 9. And she says ‘do you want to come see my room?’. She has a Methot poster, the only Sens poster she ever had. And my son is like ‘can you come see mine’? He was super nice about it. And he brought over my sleeping pills, too.
Tell me about the first couple of episodes. Did you have to really coach Marc?
We would do test shows and get our friends to come on, like Ian Mendes. But Meth is not an interviewer. He likes to talk, he’s just not very good at asking questions. So we’re trying to figure out how to properly have me stop talking for him to ask questions. Because I get into interview mode and I can just go. So he’s trying to figure out a way to join the conversation. He thinks he should raise his hand…
We did Alfie and Bobby, who were great, but just trying to get our chemistry down has been the hardest thing. While I’m trying to be the guy without the suit on anymore, Meth is trying to be the guy who asks questions as opposed to answers them. So, we need to somehow meet in the middle.
It’s been interesting, just the dialogue between us and the outtakes afterwards, but the guest list has been great.
Here’s the thing about the guestlist. None of these people have to come on… they don’t owe us anything, they don’t have anything to sell. So they’ve all done it out of the goodness of their heart and mostly because of Meth.
But they’ve done it because either I wasn’t a jerk for the 22 years I knew them, or because Marc has been a good friend.
So, we like that, and we think we can keep that going. Our goal is to eventually have the biggest names and stories on our show. We’re going to try.
What’s a long term goal you have for the show?
If I can do one thing, it’s to get Sidney Crosby to come on so that we can talk about Meth’s missing finger. This is the goal of the show (laughs).
What’s next for you?
God, we haven’t stopped. I will say that… we’re 5 weeks into getting this started, and I have not stopped for even a day. There’s so much that we need to fix and do and make better, that I don’t know what’s next. This is next. I hope it works. People seem to like it, I hope they continue to.
We’ve been really fortunate to have a good reaction from people, and we just want to keep building it.
The two of us have a lot of fun together, and I would like us to continue to have that fun on our show and for people to see that.
Marc is so easy to work with. He has made that adjustment. He’s now ready to talk about players and criticize them if need be. So that part is what makes him entertaining. He’s great at breaking the game down in simple terms.