2016 Inductee, Dan Gratton – Hockey

Hi, my name is Rick Mannen and I’m an
inductee into the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition. I’m honored today to be interviewing Dan Gratton from the sport of hockey. Dan
Gratton was a key member of the Brantford Minor Hockey League, and played in
numerous finals and the Memorial Cup. He was drafted as 10th overall into the
Ontario Hockey League by the Oshawa Generals, and also in 10th spot in the
National Hockey League by the Los Angeles Kings. Dan spent 2 years with
the Canadian Olympic program, competing in the Spengler Cup, Pravda Cup and the
Izvestia Cup, and winning the gold medal **** world and Junior***** team in 1985. He went on to 6-year European play, which included time in Switzerland, Austria, Italy.
Denmark, and the United Kingdom. So Dan, what drew you into your sport? I think, for me, a big part of it was, I come from sort of, I guess, a hockey family. I had my
dad that played hockey, my uncle played hockey, so that brought a lot of my other
family members into the sport of hockey, so they got excited about it and I was
around it my whole life. Growing up, I was always at the rink, I was going to watch
my dad play, my uncle play, it just became something that you got used to doing,
going out for a skate. But, I think also the climate for us, back then, I
remember having winters where there was 5-10 feet of snow. There was options to play ice hockey at the park, you could play it at school, you
could play it anytime you wanted, so all your friends would gather around and you
just started playing hockey, and then the more you played it the more you fell in
love with it. Good answer. Do you have any mentors that have had an impact in your life, your sport, or your career? Sure, there’s probably way
too many to think of. All my Junior coaches, right from my parents, to my
coaches, to my friends, there’s been a lot of people in my life who have, kind of,
taken the time aside to help me out, to help guide me, give me advice. There’s way too many, my grandparents, to start with. There’s way too many to mention, but I
think all throughout my career there’s been coaches and teammates and friends that have contributed to my success and helped, kind of, guide me in the right path. Great. What are some of the highlights in your career? Some of the highlights would
definitely be the Woorld Junior team, or the gold medal one in 1985, that kind of gave me my first case of international ice hockey experience, and
then follow up by getting drafted first-round NHL, but I still believe, in
my heart, playing international hockey with was probably the greatest thrill
and the experience for me. I remember going into Moscow one
time and looking across the bench and there was Victor ***Teaganoff***, you know, and he’s staring right down, he’s staring at us, right, and just the intensity. It was real
neat to, kind of, play against people like that. It would be a good experience. How
has sport impacted your life? Sport, basically, has made me who I am today. It’s allowed me to be competitive, not take no for an answer,
fight through work with teams and team atmospheres, manage people, motivate
people. I think being around 20-25 guys every single year, it really gives you
the experience, and how to deal with people, how to push yourself and respond
to specific coaches. What does it mean to you being inducted into the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition? I was thinking about this for the last few
months and to me it’s the it’s an acknowledgment a sense of a compliment
compliment it’s trying to find the right word a
sense of accomplishment that I’ve done something in my career and obviously had
some success and made people happy and made some people proud for me it’s just
that I’ve acknowledged been acknowledged for what I’ve done it’s a great feeling
good what advice would you share with a young aspiring athlete first and
foremost I would say find your passion if you’re playing hockey and you have no
passion part I would say step back and take a look at it you need to understand
what passion is to have passion for a job or for a sport or for anything you
do in life it just creates hard work dedication commitment but I think
without passion you don’t have very much to go on it’s a good advice any other
comments or thoughts you’d have then not at this time I just had a great time
growing up in graphics being around the players that I played with throughout
the years growing up and we grew up together and all the parents we built so
many bonds back then and I remember coming out of the rink with the cowbells
going and you know we’d go to weigh in tournaments and it was such a family
atmosphere and the biggest thing I think of back then was everybody was pulling
for the same thing there wasn’t as many distraction as far as money and fame and
fortune it just made it more relaxing and more fun

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