|Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price rides at the Bella Coola Rodeo in British Columbia July 3, 2010. (Michael Wigle photography)
MONTREAL — Despite not yet having a contract for next season, Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price is keeping busy ... by living the life of a cowboy.
Price, 23, has been participating in team lasso competitions in British Columbia rodeos, according to Montreal colour commentator Ron Reush (TheReushBlog).
Although the hobby isn't quite as dangerous as bull riding, it may not be an ideal situation for a Habs organization that has tied its hopes for the future on to Price.
According to Reush's report, while Habs management hasn't been champing at the bit to give its blessing to Price's unconventional off-ice training, the team softened its stance when the No. 1 goalie agreed to limit his rodeo participation to the lasso competition.
The goal of the sport is to catch a steer with a lasso and immobilize it as a two-person team. The first person must catch the animal by its head, while the other ropes the animal's hind legs. Price's job is the latter.
Price seems to be getting the hang of it, having won two competitions so far.
In July, Price and partner Virgil Poffenroth won the rodeo in Price's hometown of Anahim Lake, a small town about a 12-hour truck ride (740 km) northwest of Vancouver. The duo subdued the animal in seven seconds, the fastest out of the 35 competitors, to take home the $634.27 prize.
The team recorded its second win two weeks ago in Nemiah Valley, where Price and his partner roped the animal in 15.4 seconds. The cowboys picked up $300.30 each for their efforts.
Just over a week ago, Price and his partner took part in the Fraser Valley competition. They didn't win, but the Chilliwack Times reported that Price made many friends at the event. After participating in three of the 10 competitions for the year, Price's team sits sixth among money leaders with $934.52 in winnings.
Obviously, the prize money is just an added bonus and doesn't quite measure up to the $26,829.27 the goalie has earned per Habs game, whether he plays or not.
Price is not the first Canadiens player to take part in rodeos. Left winger Perry Turnbull, who played 40 games with the Habs during the 1983-84 season, was also involved in the sport. At the time, Turnbull said he needed to be involved in competition during the off-season.