Ray Ferraro is finally home after two solid months on the road as the lead analyst for ESPN’s Stanley Cup coverage, and he is relearning just how much of what happens there is none of his business. It doesn’t necessarily keep his marriage vibrant, but it does keep it sane, and safe. It’s an arrangement that most spouses would sign up for enthusiastically because in all human relationships, the less we know, the less we forget and the less we blab about the stuff we remember.
There is, however, a tactical reason why he is on a need-to-know-only basis at home.
“Like the other night, I’m on Twitter and I see the Canucks did something, so I ask Cammi, ‘Hey, did you guys just sign [Andrei] Kuzmenko?’ and she says, ‘Yeah, this morning,'” he said. “People don’t believe it, but she doesn’t tell me anything. If maybe she tells me one thing, she knows I’m gonna want to share it so she doesn’t say a word about anything. I am literally the least informed person there is about the team my wife works for. I know more about everyone else than I do about them.”
The Cammi in question is his wife Cammi Granato, who is one of three assistant general managers of the Vancouver Canucks, and while he was speaking openly about his informationally untouched marriage, she was in the office working on the Canucks’ draft board and keeping all the club’s developments away from him—not because he isn’t trustworthy necessarily, but that the optic could create the illusion that she isn’t.
“It’s a trust thing for both of us,” Ferraro said. “And there’s no value in telling me anything. We talk about other players sometimes just around the table, but it’s always about someone like Victor Hedman, who would never be available. Like I know they have the 15th pick in the draft, but when they signed [Brock] Boeser, which is kind of a big deal up here, I found out on TV.”
Ferraro ought to be in the know about a lot of teams. Before ESPN scooped up their share of the NHL rights, he had spent 20 years working either at TSN or Sportsnet as an analyst for the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, and Winnipeg Jets, the latter three simultaneously. “I’d do 25 Leafs games, 20 Sens games, and 10 Jets games,” he said. “I’d fly out to Toronto on Monday, do a game, then fly out and do a game Thursday, then fly to an ESPN game on Saturday and go home Sunday. It was pretty ridiculous, but that was the gig. Now it’s just the ESPN stuff and the 25 Leafs games. But I was still gone from May 2 to the end of the Final [June 26] with only four days at home, which is a little much.”
Ferraro had known nothing but the road for the last 40 years, beginning by playing for the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League, and he plowed through 18 NHL seasons, including nine with two teams (Hartford and Atlanta) that no longer exist. From there he began what is now a 20-year broadcasting career, which means among other things that he has seen as many of his kids’ games as his wife has missed: “Believe me, I now know that mum guilt is a thing. She felt bad because she missed one of the boys’ basketball games, and I was thinking that I’ve missed hundreds of them.” In fairness, he was there when his son Landon played for Boston in a Leafs home game in 2015, but the point is made.
The dynamic changed when Granato was hired as an assistant GM in Vancouver after being part of the nucleus of the U.S. Women’s Olympic team and a broadcaster as well, and as her responsibilities have grown, her ability to talk about her day has largely been reduced to, It went OK. Maybe she embellishes a bit and says, You know I’m not going to tell you anything, but you can get me a vodka tonic. Indeed, she has had years of practice walling the hockey information from the ol’ ball’n’chain with almost unconscious zeal. “We’re on a kind of family vacation and I get a text from John Buccigross asking me if I’d seen the news about her brother Tony getting the head coaching job at Wisconsin,” he said, going back to a 2016 story, “and I said I hadn’t. Then he asks me if I’d seen that her brother Don was going to be one of the assistants, and I said no. So she’s in the next room and I ask her about it and she said, ‘Oh yeah, I know.'”
And now? Well, it’s a wonder that she tells him her location at any given moment. And he seems properly fine with it.
“This is her time,” he said. “She had to take this job, and I’m ready to be support staff. I mean, I can call DoorDash and do the dishes and stuff, but that’s the upper level of my contribution. If something breaks, I’m useless. I needed [ESPN’s] Emily Kaplan to set up my Apple Pay because she couldn’t understand why I still used credit cards.
“I mean, I’ve had two great careers, and I’m eventually looking to do less, not more. I like what I’m doing, don’t get me wrong. I don’t even mind people always complaining that I like the Leafs or hate the Rangers or whatever as a broadcaster, but I couldn’t find a way to care less about who wins. I mean, if the Avalanche likes the way I did a game, it’s not like they’re putting my name on the Stanley Cup. Tell the truth, all I want out of a game is no overtime.”
For that blasphemous afterthought, hell will be his final reward, but we digress. With any luck, he will reach the stage where he is free of his media concerns while his wife is running her own NHL franchise, and when he asks, “So what happened at work today?” she can answer freely and openly.
“When that happens,” he said, “the big trade she tells me about might be me.” But she definitely won’t tell him what prospects, cash, foodstuffs and/or miscellaneous other assets she got in exchange. That’s what Elliotte Friedman’s Twitter feed is for.