Alumni Spotlight: Ken Klee
[WashingtonCaps.com continues the summer series "Alumni Spotlight," where WashingtonCaps.com interviews former Washington Capitals players. Previous Alumni Spotlights include Chris Clark, Matt Pettinger, Ben Clymer, Bryan Muir, Jamie Heward, Brendan Witt and Anson Carter.]
WashingtonCaps.com (WC.com): You played in Washington for nine seasons and played in 604 games (regular season and playoffs). What do you think has changed most about the team?
Ken Klee (KK): (Chuckles) Well, the players I played with are now coaches there and that’s probably the biggest change. You know, I obviously had an awesome run and to play for a team for around 600 games is a great thing.
WC.com: You spent many years with the Capitals. Is there anything you have seen or witnessed that sets them apart from other teams you have played with?
KK: I just think it’s a great organization. I think George McPhee and Ted [Leonsis] do a great job in the front office and that was the stuff that really made my time there very enjoyable.
WC.com: What was your most memorable moment with the Capitals?
KK: You know, for me individually I would say probably playing in the NHL. Playing my first game with the Capitals in the Montreal Forum was obviously very special and as a teammate I think getting to play in the 1998 Stanley Cup final was probably one of the highlights for sure. For me it was just an honor to play in the NHL as long as I did. It was definitely a gift and not something I ever expected, you know, that I would get to have such a long NHL career, was something very special.
WC.com: Do you keep in touch with any other former or current Capitals players?
KK: Not too much. I run into some now and then. I’m coaching my kids so sometimes I’ll run into some players and last year when the Caps were in town here in Colorado I went down and got to say hi to all the trainers and Dale Hunter and Jimmy Johnson and some other guys.
WC.com: What do you remember about the Caps team during the 1998 Stanley Cup final?
KK: I remember I think it was just our will to find a way to win. I think we had many heroes from Brian Bellows, Todd Krygier, Joey Juneau, I mean we had everybody step up and we played in a lot of overtime games and different guys always seemed to find a way to pull us through. To me that was the amazing part of it. Also how much the fans got behind it and after every series we came back and Piney Orchard [practice facility] would be packed with people and how excited everyone was.
WC.com: What’s next on the horizon for Ken Klee?
CC: Well right now I’m just a full-time dad and hockey coach. I have three boys and we are here with my lovely wife, Robyn, and two of them were born in Annapolis there when I was playing for the Caps. Now I’m just coaching them full time and my oldest is getting ready to go off to high school so I’m just trying to spend some great family times.