Jay Flats Full Interview (Ice Crew Auditions, 6/30/2013)

Jay Flats took a few moments to speak with me at this year’s Ice Crew auditions.  You can find Jay on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or his website.

Jay is the in arena host and (my term) “hype guy” for the LA Kings and Galaxy.  He is a wearer of many hats and does a lot of other jobs as well.

How do you feel about this year’s potential applicants?
J: I can definitely feel this is a strong group. We have a lot of spots to fill and there’s a lot of good talent. It’s not going to be an easy decision for whoever has to make the choice.

Get inside the minds of the applicants, what are you feeling?
J: I’m sure they’re nervous. They’ve gone through almost an entire weekend of rounds of cuts after cuts. You can see the nerves on their faces when we announce whether or not they’re going to stick around. They still have to be nervous at this point. They still don’t have the job even if they get to the interview process- there’s still more to go. Even the veterans are nervous. I kinda like that. You have to fight for your job.

Pick one point of this whole weekend that you could label as your favorite?
J: Personally, I took a photo with all the girls when they were in their bikinis and that was great. Professionally, to see the turnout at Toyota Sports Center, it’s been one of our best turnouts. It was a good mixture of girls and guys. The best thing was the turnout, the number of people that showed up.

Even though these people are competing with each other and they’re strangers, they were instantly working together, befriending each other. Part of that is that it’s what the judges are looking for, but why do you think that is? What builds this culture?
J: You can see the camaraderie. They all have the same goal in mind. If you can make friends along the way, there’s nothing better than that. You can see them working together and rooting each other on and building that team atmosphere already which is what the judges have to be looking for. It is a team. You’re being a part of a team.

I’ve heard about 3 or 4 people today say that you are a huge ball of energy, where does your motivation and inspiration come from?
J: I don’t want to sound cheesy, but I love working for the Kings. If it takes me being a ball of energy to keep the room up, I go all for it. I live for this, I love this. I really love being a part of the process. I feel like me being here puts people at ease. I’m a goofball, they can be a goofball.

Let’s say you’re having a bad day. I can’t imagine Jay has too many bad days. What gets you going when you don’t really want to?
J: Working with the Kings I have no problem getting motivated. If it becomes a problem, I wouldn’t want to do it anymore.  If it becomes an issue where I’m like, “I don’t want to go to Staples center tonight?” That’s not the case. I’ll be going into my sixth season with the team. I’m just as excited for game day as I was season 1. I love it. Rent motivates me a lot. I like paying rent. The Kings are one of many jobs that I have. It is by far my favorite.

Favorite Kings moment outside of actually winning the cup?
J: The parade. Being on the middle float, the flatbed truck with the three trophies. Stanley, Conn, Campbell. The captain, the owners, the GM, their friends and family and ME. For some reason I got right in the middle. When we made a right hand turn onto Figueroa, and I saw how many people showed up at the parade, that’s when tears finally fell for me. I didn’t have time to tear up during the celebration after game 6. It wasn’t until after we turned on Figueroa that I realized how many people (were there.) The crazy thing was on the parade route, people were doing Go Kings Go chants. I heard a bunch of people doing “Jay! Jay! Jay!”  That will make your year right there.

How did you fall in love with hockey? All the work you do across the country, why LA?
J: I grew up watching hockey in New England.  Whalers, Bruins, Islanders, Rangers.  Born and raised in New England. I didn’t play hockey very well because the equipment weighed more than I did.  I was a scrawny little kid.  I made a movement to pursue my entertainment career by coming to LA.  I’ve been in 47 states.  I’ve worked, spent the night in 47 states.  I used to travel with the Harlem Globetrotters as an announcer.  When I got back to LA, I knew I wanted to keep sports and entertainment together.  A friend of mine told me about the Ice Crew, and I was like, that’s perfect, I’d be great for that.  And then doing the Ice Crew I saw an opportunity to create the in arena host job that didn’t really exist.  I’m rolling into my 5th year doing that, and I still love it.

Initially when you took over that, there was a negative response, but that’s almost completely changed and is near gone. What would you say to that and why do you think that’s changed? I’ve only heard positive things as of late.

J: I think a lot of people are superstitious and they don’t like change. Whether it was a guy or girl going into my role, people just don’t like change.

Well we weren’t winning before.

J: Yeah, that’s true we weren’t winning before.  I’d like to think I’ve done a solid job and impressed people along the way.  Now, people notice when I’m not around.  “Where’s Jay, where’s Jay?”  I really appreciate that.

Mike and Carrlyn have done a great job when they’ve filled in but people did initially ask where Jay was.
J: People are scared of change.  It’s going to happen in any business you’re in.  I’d like to stick around a while longer and do this.  How long can I do this for?  I don’t know.  I want to get into broadcasting and doing television stuff, so that’s why I’m sticking with this.  I want to stay in the Kings family and try to get towards FSW, do broadcasts.  I plan on shadowing Bob Miller and Nick Nickson as much as I can this upcoming season.  Even if that’s just coming and sitting in the booth during third period.  I love working in this organization, or if I was Canadian I would say “organ-eye-zation.”

Hottest crew on ice, why do you think that is? It’s not just about the girls being gorgeous, there’s more to it than that.
J: I think a lot of people don’t realize how much stuff the Ice Crew does.  There’s hundreds of appearances everywhere in the community from CHLA to military to fire department vists. We really do raise a ton of money for Kings Care.  And physically?  Great, attractive group of people with great attitudes and you barely find a flaw as a team.  One of the hardest working groups if they aren’t the hottest.

What is your favorite thing you’ve been a part of outside of Staples with the IC? Charity, event, etc.
J:  I’ve been very fortunate the last couple years to go to Sundance with Luc Robitaille when he has his celebrity hockey game and be the in arena announcer for that.  We goof off and throw a beach ball out there instead of a hockey puck for a while and celebs would show up and raise money for Luc’s charity.  I really look forward to that every year.  And the Robitaille poker tournament at Frozen Fury in Vegas.

You’ve met all kinds of people, you’ve been all over the place. Pick a surreal moment where you thought, is this really me? Is this really my life?
J: A really surreal moment.  I’m traveling with the Globe Trotters and we were at Olympic Stadium in Madrid.  A lot of people in the arena didn’t speak English.  They still gave me a standing ovation at the end.  All I did was stand up and announce the game and 20,000 screaming Spaniards were giving me applause.  The Trotters were already off the court.  It was pretty surreal if you’re asking for surreal.  20,000 people giving you a wave like that.  That’s definitely surreal.  On a comedic note, I met Jim Carrey during the playoffs.  Next time I saw him, he said “Hey Jay.”  Jim Carrey remembered my name.  That put me through the roof.  He’s one of my favorite comedians ever and he remembered my name, that’s uncanny.

If you could say one thing to Kings fans?
J: Thank you for bringing me into the family and keeping me here.  Hopefully I get to stay with the family for a long time.

Anything you’d like to add?:
J: Stick around guys. We’re not done.

And as a final tidbit- Jay dancing while everyone was “free skating” on the first day.



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