By Garry McKay
The Hamilton Spectator
The pianist was outstanding. So good in fact that several reporters wandering through the lobby of the hotel in Bridgeport, Conn., stopped to listen to him tickle the ivories.
After several minutes of enthrallment one whispered to the others.
“Isn’t that J.J. Hunter?”
In fact it was. It was the Calder Cup semifinals in 2002 and the Hamilton Bulldogs were playing the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Hunter, who had 103 points (43g-60a) in 140 regular season games in the ECHL from 2000-04, had been called up to join the Bulldogs as a Black Ace for the playoffs and was relaxing by playing the piano in the hotel lounge.
Hunter, who is now facing the Bulldogs as a member of the Manitoba Moose, is a man of many talents.
“When I was a kid growing up my father put me in hockey and my mom put me in piano,” said Hunter who has four brothers. “We had to play a musical instrument and we had to finish practicing before we were allowed to go play hockey. It was a neat thing because mom supported dad in the hockey and dad supported mom in the music and there was an emphasis both ways.”