Kevin Bergin came into British Hockey after joining Basingstoke Bison for the 2006/07 season after several seasons in the ECHL. Leaving Bison for Switzerland, Bergin soon arrived in Nottingham after being unable to settle on the continent. he won two Challenge Cups in his time here and becoming a cult figure with the Panthers faithful and famous for his ‘Bergy Bounce’.
Kevin spoke to Jay Courtney.

When did you know when you wanted to be a hockey player?
As far as I can remember

Which players inspired you as a youngster?
Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Eric Lindros

After your time in the QMJHL and not being drafted, were you worried that you wouldn’t make it?
It was a stressful time of course, I just kept working hard!

During your time in the ECHL, you iced for ten teams. Did you feel you got a raw deal from your ECHL days?
No, it’s the way it is in pro hockey at that level, My only regret is not having a call up to the AHL.

After your stint in the ECHL, why did you choose to go to Basingstoke?
Because a friend of mine was asking me all summer! I was waiting to get a try out somewhere in the AHL after a great year in the ECHL. When it never came their was not many jobs left in Europe, so Basingstoke was my option at that point.

What culture differences did you notice when you came the UK?
Everything was smaller, from the cars to the apartments. People live so close to each other and you guys drive on the wrong side of the road of course!

Looking at some of your previous team mates, you’ve played with a lot of players that have played in the Elite League, did many of them contact you to ask about the standard of British Hockey?
Every year I have a few phone calls from guys wanting to go play in the UK, I try to help them as much as I can.

After leaving the Bison you left for Chur in Switzerland, why choose Chur?
It was a very bad mistake, I finished top goal scorer of my team the previous two seasons and a European agent contacted me with this offer and I took it without doing my homework. The worst two months of my life and then the Panthers saved me.

And after a few games you left, did you leave or were you released?
It was mutual agreement, they did not want to pay me and I hated it there so I packed up and left.

Why did you choose Nottingham? We’ve herd about your friendship with Corey Neilson, was he a factor in you signing for the Panthers?
He was a big factor of course, but in hockey its all about timing, at the same time I was looking to go back home from Switzerland, Panthers had a roster spot open up so I took it.

Former Panther Jade Galbraith hit the headlines with the fans for the right and wrong reasons. What was he like as a team mate?
Jade is an unbelievable player! Maybe the best hands I have seen, with a bit more work ethic he could of gone really far. Very funny to be around in the dressing room as well. He is the life of the party!

In your debut season for Panthers you won your first trophy. Can you explain how that felt?
Sorry, you cant explain that kind of feeling, it’s just unreal and to win it at home was even better!

In your three years in Nottingham, you won two Challenge Cups, came close in the play-offs, had your ‘breakout season’ points wise, also became a bit of an all round player you played 167 games scoring 157 points and claiming 279PIM, is their anything that stands out for you in your three seasons?
I might surprise you guys here but what stands out the most of my time in Nottingham is the people I became friends with. Of course the two trophies are up there but there are so many good stories with so many good friends that I Just can’t write about on here. Those are the things that we are gonna talk about in 10 years when I see them again, like taking salt stop cramps!

In your final season here, you fought Sean McMorrow, did you feel you had to fight him?
It was part of my job. I take pride in playing the way I play and I don’t ever see it as a job, got to do what it takes to win.

During your stay you were an active Panther having a burger named after you and getting your haircut on national TV. How did you feel when you found out somebody was naming a burger after you, and did you choose to get your haircut or did your team mates say ‘look Kevin, sort your hair out’?
Like I said before I became very good friends with Johnny Putzai (Bergin Burger) and Rocco at the chip shop (Berginator) and I was very honored to be part of their work, and the hair cut is David Clarke’s fault, thanks goose!

After three seasons in Nottingham you signed for Amiens in France. Why did you leave?
I felt like I was getting a bit too comfortable and I needed a new challenge in my career. I have a lot of old teammates that played in France and were asking me to come. I wont lie, the money is better too, but it was a very hard choice because I loved my time in the black & gold!

How was your first season in France?
First season was harder then I expected, the style of playing is completely different then in the UK, it’s a lot less physical which does not advantage me, but I was able to come along. The play-offs in France are like in North America, so I was able to show my style of playing and that’s how I was able to sign for another year in Amiens.

Now you’re back in France, do you have any aims for the upcoming season?
We lost last year in the semi-final of the play-offs, so this year goal is to get to the final, once your are there, anything can happen!

Finally a message of support from number 25.
Good luck to all the Panthers organization on this year’s quest to win the league title! I want to come and celebrate it, like the play-offs win last year!

TCW would like to thank Kevin for his time and Jay for conducting the interview.


1 Response to “Kevin Bergin – September 2011”

  1. 1 sandra September 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Miss you Kevin ……

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