Jets blueliner has brush with royalty

, Last Updated: 1:13 AM ET

WINNIPEG - This was a brush with royalty Mark Flood won’t soon forget.

While much of the nation is aflutter with the royal visit of Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, the Winnipeg Jets defenceman actually got a firsthand look at the royal couple on the weekend in Prince Edward Island.

As Wills and Kate took part in a dragon boat race in Dalvay-by-the-Sea, Flood was among the local athletes asked to take part.

“It was a really neat experience,” said Flood, who played with the Manitoba Moose last season and signed with the Jets on Saturday. “I was fortunate enough to be sitting behind Prince William in the boat. I didn’t know how popular they were, really. I knew they were in the tabloids all the time, but to shake their hand and to see the media follow them around was pretty amazing.”

Flood didn’t have much time to interact with either William or Kate.

“They shook our hands really quick and after we finished the race he shook our hands and said ‘Good job’ and they were off to their next thing,” said Flood.

“I couldn’t imagine the life they live, they’re just whisked in and out of wherever they are.”

Among the other athletes who took part in the race were Boston Bruins defenceman and Stanley Cup champion Adam McQuaid, Olympic bobsleigh gold medallist Heather Moyse and sprinter Jared Connaughton.

“It’s great for the province of P.E.I., it’s a beautiful place, especially in the summer,” said Flood, a Charlottetown product who had 11 goals and 40 points last season with the Moose. “The people were pretty happy that they came.”

Flood, who has six games of NHL experience with the New York Islanders, is excited about the season ahead.

“I really enjoyed the city and playing there with the Moose,” said Flood, 26. “It was tough last summer not getting an NHL deal, but I was lucky to play in that market. Playing in Winnipeg was a great experience. It was by far the best organization I’ve ever played in. To have a good year, to get an NHL contract out of it and to stay with Winnipeg, I couldn’t be happier.

“There were a few other options but I knew all along that this is where I wanted to be. Zinger (Jets director of hockey operations Craig Heisinger) helped revive my career and I wanted to stay with the organization.”


Videos

Photos