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“Who Are You?” with Brett Kulak

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
11 months ago
Welcome to another addition of Who Are You? The main focus is talking to an Oilers player about his non-hockey interests. There might be one or two hockey questions, but the rest will be about other aspects of their life.
Jason Gregor: We’re here with Brett Kulak for another edition of “Who Are You?” where the only rule is you must answer the question. Work for you?
Brett Kulak: Yeah, sounds good!
Gregor: Let’s start with a fun one, Brett Kulak going old school, just a slobber knocker of a tilt a few weeks ago.

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When was the last time you just went all in on a tilt like that?
Kulak: I don’t know how many fights I have in my career, maybe just 10 or something, but it was a fun one. You look and the guy, we’re very similar size; same height, same weight. It was good, we were both exchanging punches. It was fun, it brought energy to the team and the fans.
Gregor: Mom, wife, dad — how do they react to fights?
Kulak: They don’t like it. They say you had better keep those gloves on. They are always aware of how quick you could be injured in a fight. None of them like it, but maybe deep down my dad enjoys seeing it every now and then.
Gregor: I noticed during minor hockey week you went back to Stony Plain where you grew up and played. What’s your favourite minor hockey memory?
Kulak: Oh geez, I think its just the friendships you had and the fun. We had some good and successful minor hockey teams and we enjoyed winning. It’s funny how competitive you get with your friends right from the age nine, 10, 11 and you learn how fun winning is right from that age. So, I just look back at the tournament wins, and fun times at the hotel with your teammates.
Gregor: You guys ever go to provincials?
Kulak: Yeah, we did go to provincials a couple of years. Also, an Alberta Winter Games event, I think we ended up winning gold. I think it was double overtime and a guy on our team we didn’t expect to score all season, he ended up potting it and he was all emotional. I remember he was tearing up when he scored the goal and things like that. It was awesome.
Gregor: What other sports did you play growing up?
Kulak: Not too much. Me and my brothers and our friend group were into paintballing a lot. That was something that we enjoyed doing a lot. Besides that it was riding quads, dirt bikes on the farm, stuff like that.
Gregor: Paint balling? Were you serious, did you guys have the headgear?
Kulak: Oh yeah!
Gregor: Semi-automatic guns?
Kulak: Yeah, every Christmas Santa brought us a new mask and new paint balls and equipment and stuff like that. We had an area in the forest out back behind the farm and then Young Guns Paintball which is a local outfit, just west of the city. We were there all of the time playing and having fun.
Gregor: When was the last time  you played paintball?
Kulak: Oh, it’s been…. Geez, maybe I’ve been once in the last 10 years now. Since I went to Juniors, that slowed down a lot.
Gregor: If the Oilers were going to have a paintball tournament, which teammate would you want on your team and why?
Kulak: Ooh, if I could get Connor so he isn’t scared of the paintballs coming at him, because you have got to be moving, you must keep moving, you can’t stay in one spot otherwise you get pinned easily, then I’d want him. It’s hard to hit a moving target in paintball and he can move very quick. He’s probably the fastest runner.
Gregor: But he might be a little scared of the paintball?
Kulak: Yeah, it’s a little bit of a fear thing too. It definitely hurts a little bit when you get hit, but if you’re ok with that, you’re good.
Gregor: Are you a reader?
Kulak: Yeah, I enjoy reading.
Gregor: What’s your favourite book you’ve read recently?
Kulak: The book that I’m reading right now, No One Wins Alone, Mark Messier’s book. I’m about halfway through it and I’m at the part where the Oilers just won their first Stanley Cup. I really enjoy a lot of stuff where he talks about the commitment it takes, not just on yourself as an individual, but as a team; everyone has to bring it every day and so that’s one I’m enjoying right now.
Gregor: Are most of the books you read sports related or do you like other genres?
Kulak: Six or seven years ago, I was really into reading self-help, personal development books, a lot of leadership books. The last couple of years here, I’m just reading more for fun. I like those types of books, I like mystery, non-fiction, fiction. I’ve been reading anything I can get my hands on. But I always got a book going.
Gregor: What about being a dad? Which one are you reading to your daughter?
Kulak: My daughter is still young enough, can’t really narrow down one she likes mostly, but she likes The Little Blue Truck series. They’re fun books. They have some good rhymes and some energy in them. She likes flipping pages and seeing pictures and she’s starting to talk a little bit.
Gregor: Do you have one of Zack Hyman’s books?
Kulak: He hasn’t given me one yet. I read one in the kids’ class here at Roger’s Place once, but I don’t have one in my personal collection at home yet.
Gregor: If we pulled up your musical selection right now, what are the top three go-to songs for Brett Kulak?
Kulak: I don’t know if I could give you the titles. I like music, but I’m not one who is going in and picking my song. I kind of listen to what comes. I have Sirius XM so it’s the Highway, Y2Country, CISN Country, it’s all country.
Gregor: Do you have a favourite country artist?
Kulak: I like Jason Aldean a lot.
Gergor: Best concert you’ve been to?
Kulak: I haven’t been to many concerts, but back at Commonwealth, a long time ago, my first concert was Taylor Swift and Kenney Chesney. I went with one of my friends and that was awesome. The memory stuck pretty good.
Gregor: Do you have a special interest or a hobby?
Kulak: Not really, especially with a baby girl. My free time now that I have is playing with her. And she’s starting to get more interactive, playing with her toys and things. We have fun together. But besides that my wife and I like outdoor activates, we enjoy some cross country skiing on days off around town and we can pull the baby along behind in the chariot. So that’s something that we enjoy on our time that’s a little different.

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Gregor: When you retire if you could go on any reality show, what reality show would you choose?
Kulak: I’d have to brush up my skills, but maybe Alone, where you get dropped off and have to survive the 100 days. It takes some learning, survival skills.
Gregor: So, you’re an outdoorsman?
Kulak: I like it. Yeah, yeah, getting more into it. I enjoy that a lot, being outside and in nature. That show has always intrigued me so I think that that would be a cool one.
Gregor: If all of a sudden the power goes out on the road, Brett Kulak is the one to be with?
Kulak: Yeah, that’s right exactly. I don’t know how long I would survive right now, might be lucky to get through a night I guess, but definitely something that I will pursue, and talking books, I read survival books and just try to accumulate a little knowledge here and there.
Gregor: What would be more fearful, a bear, cougar, or wolf?
Kulak: I think a wolf. Bears, it takes quite a bit for them to attack you, cougar, you can fight off — not easily, I would say, it would be a fight for sure, but you could eventually get him away from you. But a wolf, it’s not often they are by themselves. So the next thing that you know, you have got two or three coming at you. They are relentless.
Gregor: Most people would agree that McDavid is the fastest Oiler. Brett Kulak is pretty fast, so who is the second quickest on the team?
Kulak: Second quickest… I don’t know, maybe Markus Niemelainen, I mean he took it at the skills competition. Stats don’t lie, so I think that I have to go with that. I’ll go with Niemelainen.
Gregor: You’ve had the luxury of playing in three Canadian markets. This one is closest to home. How is it being a local guy in this market?
Kulak: Ah, it’s great. Obviously, family, friends and this is the team that I grew up loving. To be able to throw on the Oilers jersey every day, I’m very grateful to do that. I work hard every day, and as you say it’s close to home. I’ll finish my NHL career here, and then I’ll go and play for the Stony Plain Eagles.
Gregor: How many Kulak jerseys have you had to purchase since coming here?
Kulak: I don’t know, there always seems to be a request coming in.
Gregor: At least 20?
Kulak: Probably around there, we have four or five on order now. For a while the orders were backed up (laughs), but just the odd request here, there, one here two there, whatever. Different things for some charity, different things like that.

WRAP…

Kulak really loves the show Alone. It is on the History Channel. And if you missed Episode one of Who Are You? this year, you can read our conversation with Connor McDavid here.

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