Hockey World Blog

Charity games, beer leagues keeping Steve Stamkos occupied during lockout

So what does a 22-year-old former Rocket Richard winner who’s tallied 90 or more points in each of his last three NHL seasons do to occupy his time during the league lockout?

He plays beer league hockey, of course.

While many players opted to travel overseas to continue playing this season, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos opted to stick around North America while the NHL and NHLPA continue negotiations on a new CBA.

But Stamkos, who recorded 60 goals last season, hasn’t been idle. Instead, he’s continued to train hard in Toronto for the upcoming season (whenever that may be) and has continued playing hockey with appearances in his dad’s Thursday night beer league.

“It’s great for my Dad and his buddies. A lot of them haven’t had the chance to skate with NHL players before,” said Stamkos. “It’s fun for me to get out there and skate with those guys as well.”

Stamkos had the opportunity to play competitively overseas this season after being offered several lucrative contracts, but decided to wait out the negotiations at home. So in place of the fast-paced NHL action that Stamkos is used to, he’s found solace in beer league games and charity events.

“There’s a couple times when I’ve had to take a little mustard off the shot,” Stamkos said, adding that former teammate Steve Downie and Leafs alum Dan Daoust play in their games.

“You can play pickup games, you can play shinny games, on an outdoor rink, but it’s just that nothing matches getting into an [NHL] game atmosphere.”

Stamkos also recently played in a charity game along with 38 other locked-out NHL players with players from the Canadiens, Red Wings, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Bruins, Devils, Penguins and Flames all participating.

Team Stamkos came out on top with a 14-10 victory over Team Subban. The event took place at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, where Ryerson University’s hockey teams now play. The building opened earlier this year after sitting dormant for more than a decade after the Maple Leafs last called it home in February 1999.

The event raised $100,000 for the NHLPA’s Goals & Dreams Fund and RBC’s Play Hockey initiative.

“That was outstanding,” said Stamkos. “Obviously, the fans are hurting through this process. I’ve had an opportunity to play in two charity games (during the lockout) — the Hurricane Sandy relief one in Atlantic City (last month) and that was an unbelievable turnout. It was a big venue and we sold that out.
“This one was a little smaller one, but still the great support from the fans — that’s why we have the best fans in all of sports in my opinion and it was great to play in front of them.”

Other locked-out NHL players who helped propel Team Stamkos to victory included Niklas Kronwall, Tim Connolly, Clarke MacArthur, Kris Versteeg, Michael Del Zotto and James Neal.

Team Subban, captained by Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, featured NHL stars like Tomas Kaberle, Chris Stewart, Joffrey Lupul, Phil Kessel, Dan Winnik and Logan Couture.

Rich Text Area Toolbar Bold (Ctrl + B) Italic (Ctrl + I) Strikethrough (Alt + Shift + D) Unordered list (Alt + Shift + U) Ordered list (Alt + Shift + O) Blockquote (Alt + Shift + Q) Align Left (Alt + Shift + L) Align Center (Alt + Shift + C) Align Right (Alt + Shift + R) Insert/edit link (Alt + Shift + A) Unlink (Alt + Shift + S) Insert More Tag (Alt + Shift + T) Toggle spellchecker (Alt + Shift + N) ▼ Toggle fullscreen mode (Alt + Shift + G) Show/Hide Kitchen Sink (Alt + Shift + Z) Format – Paragraph Paragraph ▼ Underline Align Full (Alt + Shift + J) Select text color ▼ Paste as Plain Text Paste from Word Remove formatting Insert custom character Outdent Indent Undo (Ctrl + Z) Redo (Ctrl + Y) Help (Alt + Shift + H) So what does a 22-year-old former Rocket Richard winner who’s tallied 90 or more points in each of his last three NHL seasons do to occupy his time during the league lockout? He plays beer league hockey, of course. While many players opted to travel overseas to continue playing this season, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos opted to stick around North America while the NHL and NHLPA continue negotiations on a new CBA. But Stamkos, who recorded 60 goals last season, hasn’t been idle. Instead, he’s continued to train hard in Toronto for the upcoming season (whenever that may be) and has continued playing hockey with appearances in his dad’s Thursday night beer league. “It’s great for my Dad and his buddies. A lot of them haven’t had the chance to skate with NHL players before,” said Stamkos. “It’s fun for me to get out there and skate with those guys as well.” Stamkos had the opportunity to play competitively overseas this season after being offered several lucrative contracts, but decided to wait out the negotiations at home. So in place of the fast-paced NHL action that Stamkos is used to, he’s found solace in beer league games and charity events. “There’s a couple times when I’ve had to take a little mustard off the shot,” Stamkos said, adding that former teammate Steve Downie and Leafs alum Dan Daoust play in their games. “You can play pickup games, you can play shinny games, on an outdoor rink, but it’s just that nothing matches getting into an [NHL] game atmosphere.” Stamkos also recently played in a charity game along with 38 other locked-out NHL players with players from the Canadiens, Red Wings, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Bruins, Devils, Penguins and Flames all participating. Team Stamkos came out on top with a 14-10 victory over Team Subban. The event took place at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, where Ryerson University’s hockey teams now play. The building opened earlier this year after sitting dormant for more than a decade after the Maple Leafs last called it home in February 1999. The event raised $100,000 for the NHLPA’s Goals & Dreams Fund and RBC’s Play Hockey initiative. “That was outstanding,” said Stamkos. “Obviously, the fans are hurting through this process. I’ve had an opportunity to play in two charity games (during the lockout) — the Hurricane Sandy relief one in Atlantic City (last month) and that was an unbelievable turnout. It was a big venue and we sold that out. “This one was a little smaller one, but still the great support from the fans — that’s why we have the best fans in all of sports in my opinion and it was great to play in front of them.” Other locked-out NHL players who helped propel Team Stamkos to victory included Niklas Kronwall, Tim Connolly, Clarke MacArthur, Kris Versteeg, Michael Del Zotto and James Neal. Team Subban, captained by Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, featured NHL stars like Tomas Kaberle, Chris Stewart, Joffrey Lupul, Phil Kessel, Dan Winnik and Logan Couture. Path : p

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