Tattoos painful, addictive: Belak

Toronto Maple Leafs' tough guy Wade Belak has seven tattoo creations etched onto his back and arms....

Toronto Maple Leafs' tough guy Wade Belak has seven tattoo creations etched onto his back and arms. (Michael Peake/Sun Media)

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:53 PM ET

Wade Belak is no James Whistler, but he has suffered for his art just the same.

About 8 hours in the tattoo parlour to be exact, while an elaborate Guardian Angel became one of seven creations etched into his arms and back.

"It's a painful process, but like I've said for years, they're addictive," Belak explained with a laugh. "I actually had only one in junior hockey (a little Yosemite Sam on his back), but started adding them in the minors when I played in Hershey. Too much time on my hands I guess. I've had them done in Hershey, Denver, Kelowna and Los Angeles."

The Guardian Angel, down his left arm, depicts his wife Jennifer and has the names of their two daughters.

"So I had to get another for the other arm (a Gothic-type pattern with the word 'Mayhem' took 5 hours) because I thought that not getting (matching tattoos) would look funny.

"Yosemite wasn't a big deal with my parents. But once I got a little freakier with tattoos, it was like 'We've lost control of our son.'

"I put a big scary mask on my back to cover up Sam, but I'm not happy with it and might change it. It's meant to scare kids, though my own two are fine with it. It's when I go to the beach or the pool that some kids get freaked out by it."

The tattoo artists let Belak watch DVDs as they work on bigger projects. The Guardian Angel took three feature films to complete. Belak, 30, is careful not to put any indelible art on his face or hands.

"One of these days when hockey ends, I might have to get one of those suits in my closet and get a real job as a broker or lawyer," he said. "So I can't have them showing."

He was reminded how odd he might look as a senior citizen with his shirt off.

"By then I'll just be worried about getting up every morning," Belak said. "Yeah, I'll be 60 or 70, all wrinkled and hangin' out at the old folks' home. But I'll look tough and I'll be getting all the women."


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