SUN Hockey Pool

Out of the woodwork

SCOTT FISHER, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:16 AM ET

If a hockey career wasn't in the cards, Dion Phaneuf wanted to become a lawyer. And apparently, he could have made a few extra bucks moonlighting as a carpenter.

The Calgary Flames first-round draft pick has been filling his spare time refining his craft at a Red Deer high school.

"I take a woodworking class during the day," Phaneuf says. "It's something I've always liked to do."

Maybe he can create a trophy case for his shiny new world junior gold medal.

"I don't know about that but I do little things here and there," the Rebels defenceman says. "I built an entertainment centre for my family and one for my billets and a nightstand for my bedroom."

Phaneuf's billets, Dan and Christine Doyle, received their hand-crafted piece of furniture for Christmas.

But Phaneuf had to take it back to school this week to put it on display.

"He's built several items for us," says Dan, a retired RCMP officer.

"For him, I think it's a great outlet away from hockey. It helps channel his energy outside the game into something creative."

Phaneuf drew rave reviews for his creativity and physical play at the recent world junior tourney where the 6-ft. 3-in., 208-pounder was repeatedly compared to New Jersey Devils bruiser Scott Stevens but with more offensive talent.

Phaneuf thinks of that as a compliment.

"I try to play like Scott Stevens. He's definitely my favourite player now," says Phaneuf, who like any good, self-respecting Edmontonian, grew up idolizing Wayne Gretzky.

"I like the comparison. I just want to play my game but anytime you're compared to a guy like that who was as successful in the game as he's been, it's very special."

Phaneuf may go on to have an even better career than Stevens, who has played in 13 NHL all-star games and Dan said he won't miss a minute of it.

"He calls us his second mom and dad," says Dan, who, like Phaneuf's parents Paul and Amber, hails from P.E.I.

"It's a relationship that's going to continue for years down the road."


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