The Hurricanes made a controversial signing on the opening day of free agency Wednesday, signing former New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo, to a one-year deal worth $1 million.
Incidents in DeAngelo’s past include a physical altercation with Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev last season, and being was suspended in the OHL for violating the league’s harassment, abuse and diversity policy resulting from a slur directed at a teammate.
DeAngelo spoke with members of the media on a Zoom call Wednesday night and addressed his attempts to better himself, how he feels he’ll fit with the Hurricanes and more.
Here’s a full breakdown of everything he had today:
On his efforts to grow as a person and what convinced the Hurricanes to sign him: As you get older and more mature, a lot of the stuff that’s happened in my career has been emotions from being competitive. There’s never been any off-ice problems or anything like that. It just comes from having a high level of compete for the game and passion for the game. I think I’ve made some mistakes along the way obviously, stuff that I regretted. I tried to improve on it. Now I just have to prove it to the Hurricanes. Like Don said, they spoke to a lot of people, and I’ve spoken to them. They’ve talked to ex teammates, coaches and stuff. They felt comfortable to bring me in. I told them I’m not going to let them down and I’m a man of my word. So that’s what I plan on doing.
On if he supported the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol: No. To be honest with you, I think that’s a ridiculous question to ask. I don’t think anybody in their right mind would support that, so obviously I didn’t support it. Everybody has their own political views and I think people have a perception of myself based on some stuff I’ve put out there. But obviously to think that I would support the January 6 events is just ridiculous, so obviously not.
On the group Don Waddell said he’s working with in New York and what he’s done that shows he’s grown: I’m not going to get too specific with the group because it was through my agency and we kind of worked together. Obviously I’ve kind of had some down time since the beginning of February after leaving New York. It’s just trying to control your emotions the best you can and not let the emotions get the best of you and making mistakes from it. So we’ve done a lot of work. My agent set us up with some good people. I think there’s been a lot of progress. And now, like I said, I just have to go to Carolina when I get there, prove it to the team, the players and obviously ownership, coaches, so I’m looking forward to it.
On the incident with the Rangers: I’m not going into incidents and stuff and exactly what happened. That’s private stuff. They didn’t let it out, I’m not going to be the one to let it out. I will say that I think there’s been some misunderstanding of maybe exactly what happened, but I’m not going to dive into what’s in the past. There’s mistakes made for myself that I take responsibility for, and on the other side as well. But it is what it is. You’ve got to move on. But I’m excited to be in Carolina and continue my career.
On what he’s going to have to do to win people over: The teammates to me is not going to be a problem. I’ve always had a great relationship with teammates. That might sound funny, because I had an issue with an altercation that came out in New York, but I’ve always had a good relationship with teammates. I have two former teammates on Carolina with [Brady Skjei] and [Jesper Fast] that I was really close with. I spoke to both of those guys today. I think the fans are going to appreciate my play. I play hard. I make plays. I’ll stick up for my teammates and all that kind of stuff. But I there’s a perception of myself, and I think there’s a reality as well that gets lost a little bit from what you read on social media and stuff. Everybody likes to make up their own thing. But I think once the fans get to see me play and see me around the community, I think they’re going to take a liking to me, and I hope they do. So that’s my plan.
On Hurricanes fans wanting to cancel their season tickets because of his signing and the reality of who he is: That’s a really good question, to be honest with you. It’s always hard to describe exactly what you are, and everybody wants to describe themself in the best light possible. But I’ve made mistakes in my career, like I said, but they’re not mistakes that define me as a person. I’ve made mistakes based off of competing and letting my emotions get the best of me in a game because I want to win. I haven’t made mistakes off the ice, saying bad things to people and doing bad things to people.
I’ve said some stuff and done some stuff that stemmed from being on the ice that I regret, and I’m not going to sit here and say that I haven’t done it, but I regret it and I’ve got to move on. You’ve got to become a better person and control it. I’m not going to act like it never happened. I think once they watch me play, they’re going to see me on the ice more than anything. I think once they watch me play and interact with people, I’m big into the community here. The people, I have a lot of close ties to the hockey rinks around here. I think once they get to see that, they’re going to know what kind of person I am. I would home that they don’t cancel their season tickets. There’s a lot of great players on the team, it’s a great organization. Stick with us, give me a shot and I’m going to make the best for you guys.
On playing with Ethan Bear, who’s dealt with racism in the past, and what he’d say as his teammate to stand by him and support him: I can tell you I’m definitely going to be supporting him. But I would support anybody. It’s not just him, because he’s a teammate. I would support anybody through that. I wouldn’t say that I’m drawn to [racism]. I wouldn’t go there. I’m going to support him. I know he went through some stuff in Edmonton there. I’ve seen that there was a lot of stuff on SportsNet and all over social media there, so I was able to see it. We’re all going to support him, myself and I think I can speak for every player on the team. He’s one of our teammates now. I’m excited to meet him. I don’t know him, I just know the kind of player he is and stuff from Edmonton. But we’re going to be with him, and that stuff’s obviously not going to be tolerated. We’re going to be right there with him, so I’m looking forward to meeting him.
On how he fits into the team off the ice and if he aligns with Hockey is for Everyone initiatives: I align with all of that. I don’t know who wouldn’t. Hockey is for everybody. We want people to be included in hockey. Hockey’s not the most important thing. Obviously there’s a lot going on outside hockey in the world. So everybody has different opinions on stuff, but I don’t think you can have different opinions there. I want everybody to be included in hockey, and I’m going to be there, whatever we’re doing as a team and individually, I’m there to support. Like I said, there’s this perception that I’m against all these things. It’s just not true. I’m going to prove it to you guys this year. I’m happy to answer all these questions, but I’m going to keep giving you guys the same answer, because it’s the truth.
On his conversations with Rod Brind’Amour: Rod is a major reason that I’m signing with Carolina today, that’s for sure. Just from speaking with him, hearing about him from players, being able to talk to him on the phone as many times as we did, he just gives me the sense that he’s perfect for me and I think I’m perfect for him. Obviously hockey wise, you can talk that, but I think personally, he’s played the game, he knows that emotions run high with players. He was a player himself. I think we’re going to work together really well. Even the stuff you see on Instagram, you watch his speech with his Dad after the game, just the kind of guy you want to play for. I’m excited to get to Carolina and work under him.
On the interest he got from around the league: We had a lot of interest and sometimes the interests stopped at GMs and head coaches. There were, I guess, ownerships and whatnot that didn’t want to face the backlash. I think that’s pretty obvious as we look right now with some fans upset. But I think I’m really appreciate to Tom [Dundon] and the Hurricanes organization for being the ones to get on the phone with me and giving me the chance to speak and do extensive research like they did. Ultimately that’s why I chose Carolina. They showed the most interest in me, not just hockey wise, but trying to figure me out personality wise, talking to players and coaches. They kept popping up and I appreciated that. Like I said also, I talked to Rod and Rod seems like an unbelievable guy and I’ve heard nothing but great things about him as a coach too. That meant a lot to me too as I’m a loyal guy. They showed some loyalty to me in a sense and I’m very loyal back so I’m happy to be there.
On the things he and Tom Dundon spoke about: We spoke about everything that we’re speaking about now. Everything that you guys are asking in a sense. We had a lot of time to talk and I told him more than I’m telling you guys right now about specific incidents and stuff that happened and made him aware that I had nothing to hide. I’m happy to tell you about everything that happened here and there. We went over it and I told him I’ve made mistakes and I’m just looking for a chance to come in and prove myself. He was willing to give me that chance and I’m very, very appreciative and grateful to him. I told him on the phone that I’m not going to let you down. It’s really exciting to be there.
On if he feels he deserved every next chance he got and if this should be the last one: Well hopefully there doesn’t have to be another one, I can tell you that. I’m hoping this works out and I’m not thinking, I know it’s going to. I’m very confident in what we’re going to be able to do there. I’m not going to go into every suspension, but some of the suspensions have been tied into things that they weren’t. Especially if you go back to juniors. But that’s neither here nor there. That’s kind of in the past. Like I’ve said, I regret all that stuff and that’s stuff that happened 10 years ago. I’m not going to go into all the stuff… actually I will a little bit. Two of the suspensions were for yelling at a ref in juniors. Obviously everyone knows about the eight-game suspension where there was a teammate involved and me and that teammate are still friends today. So I just wanted to clarify that two of the suspensions in juniors were not tied into that. Two were with the refs. I wanted to get that out because that comes around a lot. But I don’t think there’s going to have to be another chance because things are going to work out. They have a great team out there and I can tell you that from what I’ve heard. I’ve been talking to some of the players today and I know what I can bring hockey-wise to the club as well. Obviously they just lost Dougie [Hamilton] today and I play a similar style in a sense, so I’m looking forward to getting down there. It’s going to work.
On how he feels he fits in on the ice: I think it’s the perfect fit. I had a couple of teams in my head when I was going through it and Carolina was popping right in there. 1, 2, 3. It kept coming around when I was talking to my agent. I thought it was a good fit. When you look at the team, you’ve got high flying guys, there’s speed, there’s scorers, there’s guys with skill that possess the puck and that’s all stuff I’m going to do with them. Transporting the puck with Aho and Svechnikov from the back-end. Teravainen too. I can go on and on. They’ve got like 10 guys I can name off right now. They play fast. I played them a lot when I was with New York. They play fast, up-tempo and they’re skilled and they play hard. I think they get a little bit of a rep that they don’t play hard, but they do. They play hard and fast and they’re in your face. I think I’m going to fit right in with that style and I think I can bring a little bit of jam to their game too which I think is going to be good.
On what he would say to fans that deal with racism today: I would say to them that I’ve learned. It’s never happened again and I was regretful of it. I’m still friends with that guy and I’ve apologized to him. I did what I had to do there and I wanted to do it. I had to go to some counseling classes back then. I don’t know what you would put them as. I don’t think you would describe them as anger management, more like sports psychology would make more sense to say, I guess. But I regretted what I said. It was in the heat of the moment in a game and it’s something that I wish I could take back. I can’t take stuff like that back though. It’s not like I can say, ‘Oh it didn’t happen because I’m sorry.’ But it’s something that I wish would have never happened. But it did and I learned from it. Hasn’t happened again and never will happen again. And to fans that are still dealing with that, it’s something that you hate to see. It’s not what anybody wants to be and I’m sorry for that. I hope that I can help people when I get to Carolina. It’s tough for me to know exactly the people that are dealing with this, but I know it goes around still. I’m just hoping people get to know me and I think if they do, they’re going to like me. I’m really looking forward to getting down there.