Wade Redden is locked out, but he's using the down time to lock in a better future off the ice.
Since the defenceman isn't busy patrolling the Senators blue line these days, he's been working on other business interests -- which included a 10-day trip to China this month to do some research for his wakeboard company.
Redden is a partner with long-time friend Robert Oswell in a company called Roswell Wake Air, which is based in Edmonton. They don't make wakeboards, but are looking at manufacturing towers for boats in Canada.
The wakeboard is probably double the size of a snowboard, but not nearly as long. Riders uses the waves off the back of the boat to perform stunts. Redden said it's a sport that is growing in popularity in Canada.
"We wanted to get a look at some of the manufacturing plants because this is something we're looking at doing over here," said Redden from Edmonton yesterday. "It was interesting to see the work that is going into it. The places we saw were impressive."
Normally, Redden wouldn't have had time to make the trip to China, but the NHL lockout has afforded him the opportunity to get more involved with the business. The trip included stops in Shanghai and Beijing.
Redden was able to make time to visit the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. This wasn't just a business trip, it was a cultural experience that included a lot of meals with Peking duck.
"If there's no lockout I don't have the chance to go to China," said Redden. "It was a different world, but something that was definitely worth it. I'm not usually involved in the day-to-day operations with the company, but this has given me a bit more of a chance to work on the business."
RETURN TO ICE
What's next for Redden? He's not sure yet, but would like to get back to playing hockey again.
Redden has been offered the chance to play with the senior team in his home town of Lloydminster, Alta., if the NHL season is cancelled. He could also play in Europe.
The Border Kings would love to have Redden in the lineup since they're hosting the Allan Cup, annually presented to the Canadian senior hockey champions. But he might choose to join Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson in Sweden.
"I don't know what I'm going to do right now," said Redden. "I'm kind of in a situation where I'm just going to wait to see what happens.
"I'm hoping that something can happen to get us back to playing, but we'll have to see."