Hockey lives in Pelletier

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:19 AM ET

Growing up in Lachine, Que., David Pelletier faced a difficult decision.

As a youngster showing a certain amount of athletic prowess, he faced the dilemma of whether to pursue hockey, which would have been the most likely pick, or take a chance on figure skating.

"My first love is hockey, but I think I made the best choice," said Pelletier.

No question about it, but there's still that burning desire to grab a stick and get on the ice for one-half of Edmonton's famous skating duo, which is why he joined up for this past weekend's charity four-on-four tournament at the Parkland Arena.

Just days off an exhausting leg on the Stars on Ice tour, Pelletier was part of the Pro-Skate squad that squared off against opposition featuring tourney organizer Georges Laraque and Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr.

"I'm playing with a few ex-junior players. Georges really stacked his team. He's got five or six NHL players," said Pelletier. "It's supposed to be a fun tournament, but Georges is so competitive."

SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGE

Pelletier does have one significant advantage over Laraque. Big Georges may have the best team on ice, but nobody can touch Pelletier when it comes to cheering sections. He's got fiancee and partner Jamie Sale leading the wave every time he snatches up the puck.

Pelletier is such a devoted fan of the game that during his cross-continent skating tours he'll often be found at the rink on off nights checking out the action.

"I've seen games in Columbus, New Jersey, New York, St. Louis a few times," recalled Pelletier, who is now keeping close tabs on Sidney Crosby and the Rimouski Oceanic's quest to reach the Memorial Cup.

"San Jose was absolutely awful to watch a game. It's sold out, but it's quite quiet and they don't know when to cheer. Madison Square Garden is a very special place to watch a game. It's not a great rink but there's so much history there."

LOCAL HOCKEY FRATERNITY

Pelletier's close ties to the local hockey fraternity garnered him the invite to this weekend's tournament coming on the heels of his debut during the Christmas holidays.

"At Christmas, Georges called me up and I wound playing with all these NHL players - Jarome Iginla, Ethan Moreau, Mike Comrie, Jamie McLellan and Cory Cross. It was a dream come true,"said Pelletier.

But just how did the Olympic champ stack up against the out-of-work NHLers?

"I'm a magician when it comes to skating. I was always in the right place at the right time, but I've got hands of steel," laughed Pelletier. "The first games didn't go too well, but I was able to pick it up a little bit. My stamina was fine and I was able to finish on two legs."

And it sure helps when you let the big burly types do the all grinding.

"When I played, they didn't teach physical contact, so I don't go in the corners."


Videos

Photos