One could argue that NHL hockey players should be terrific golfers. Their off season is peak time for golfing. The only thing preventing a good 3-4 months out on the links would be a deep playoff run chasing Lord Stanley’s Cup.
While the golf swing is different from a slap shot, there are similarities in the weight shift as well as the inside angle of attack. Perhaps the most significant similarity between professional golfers and NHLers is the necessity to possess soft hands. Gracefully cradling a puck prepares many for stepping onto the course and using that feel to execute the wide variety of delicate shots, most often around the green.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the top NHLers, both past and present, who know how to get it around the course.
10. Joe Sakic - The highly regarded captain of the Colorado Avalanche, had the shot of his life at the 2011 American Century Championship. Sakic recorded a hole-in-one on the Million Dollar Challenge hole. He took home half, with the other half going to charity. You can see his shot here: http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=120975
9. Mike Cammalleri - A golfer who consistently shoots in the 70’s, Cammalleri has stated that he credits the attitude he has developed on the ice to what he has learned on the golf course. Just like in golf, he seeks to focus what he can control and pay no attention to anything he can’t.
8. John-Michael Liles - Defenseman who has played for the Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs and presently the Carolina Hurricanes. As a scratch golfer, it can be assumed that he is enjoying playing hockey in a climate which allows him to golf year round.
7. Marc Savard - Now retired from the NHL due to repeated concussions, Savard is now taking a crack at golf. Has received sponsors exemptions to play in PGA Tour Canada events. A talented athlete, it will be interesting to see what he can accomplish as a golfer.
6. Jamie Langenbrunner - Retired in 2013, played in 1,109 regular season games, recording over 600 points. A scratch golfer, Jamie has been known to return home to Minnesota during summers to compete in local events. In 2010, recorded a T8 finish in the prestigious American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe where celebrities and professional athletes hit the links to compete while at the same time raise money for charity. Read more about Jamie’s game.
5. Brett Hull - An avid golfer since early in his career with the St. Louis Blues, Hull has worked to get his game into the plus-handicap digits. A man known for his strong forearms and quick hands, they have certainly served him well both on the ice as well as the links.
4. Jeremy Roenick - Always a fan favourite, played for five different NHL clubs, netting 1,216 points in 1,363 games. Roenick is regarded as one of the most competitive golfers among celebrity players. Between 2008 and 2014 he has finished in the top ten all but once at the American Century Championship.
3. Mario Lemiuex - Regarded as one of the best to ever play the game of hockey. His 1,723 points ranks 8th on the all-time list; this despite a career plagued by injury and illness. A skilled golfer throughout his days in the NHL, he claimed the American Century Championship back in 1998. Mario shot rounds of 67 and 69 in the final two rounds of the 54 hole event.
2. Grant Fuhr - Has made golf his second career since retiring from the NHL in 2000. Is currently the Director of Golf at Desert Dunes Golf Club in Palm Springs, Ca. An established tournament golfer, Fuhr has made an attempt at professional golf in the past.
1. Dan Quinn - As a youngster, received scholarship offers in both hockey and golf. Has established himself as one of the premier players on the celebrity golf circuit, having won the American Century Championship five times between 1990 and 2014. With an eye on one day possibly attempting to play his way onto the Senior PGA Tour, Quinn is a part-time caddie for Ernie Els on the PGA Tour. Listen to Els & Quinn:
And lastly, someone who has some work to do prior to cracking our top 10 list, Alex Ovechkin. As seen in the video below, playing golf for the first time, it takes Alex a few tries before connecting with the ball, but when he does, the results are unbelievable...
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This article was written by Jonathan Carr as part of our Eat Sleep Golf 'Top 10' series. Jonathan is a talented and passionate golfer surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter (@JonathanWCarr) or read some of his other articles here.