Catching wave of anticipation

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:06 AM ET

Leaving behind the desert sun, you'd think Mike Leclerc would be worried about his golf game.

Guess again.

"I haven't golfed for two years," one of the newest Calgary Flames, and former Phoenix Coyote, said yesterday.

"It'll be a while before I surf again."

Not all NHLers immediately trade their sticks and skates for golf clubs.

From his time with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Leclerc became hooked on surfing.

"Paul Kariya actually got me into it," he said.

"We have a group of guys, myself, Paul, Keith Carney, Joe Sakic bought a house down there.

"We'd go every Wednesday morning during the summer and, in the lockout, we were going pretty hard.

"It's a lot of fun to take the long board out."

Which would make Leclerc one of the best surfers with Winnipeg on his birth certificate.

"I don't know if that's saying very much," he said with a laugh.

It was two summers ago when Leclerc first tried riding waves.

He and his buddies regularly would hit Old Man's Beach in the San Clemente area.

"It's world famous and a great area for learning," said the 29-year-old left winger.

"It's such a challenge. It's so hard to master it. I'm not even close to mastering it.

"When we weren't playing, it gave that adrenaline rush that you miss.

"It filled a void."

For now, though, it's a hobby, and Leclerc has no illusions of becoming a new Laird Hamilton or Kelly Slater.

"I wouldn't say I'm good. I can catch waves and ride waves. That's the most of it," he said.

Unfortunately, save for the Olympic break, the opportunity to go surfing won't come for a few months.

With any luck, having joined a team expected to make waves come playoff time, the next opportunity will be in June.

"It'll keep me hungry for the off-season," Leclerc said.


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