Wheeling 'n' dealing

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:34 PM ET

Mark Napier doesn't appear to have lost a step.

But the former Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota North Stars and Edmonton Oilers speedster insists he has.

"I'm down to about 10-second bursts now," he said during a break in the action at yesterday's 3-on-3 tourney.

While some former players had to bang the rust off their skates, Napier has been on the ice regularly.

He used to tour with the Legends of Hockey all-star team but now he's got his hands full as the executive director of the NHL Alumni.

He travels across the continent to play in charity games.

"I try to get out to as many as I can, especially a big event like this," he said. "We have an alumni group that plays in Ontario. We play about 34 games for the Special Olympics.

"I'll play in about 10 of those but I'm certainly not in the shape I'd like to be in.

"It's fun to be out and it's an easy way to talk to the guys. If they have any questions and want to know what the alumni is doing, then we can have one-on-one conversations.

"We're trying to create some national programs. We work very closely with the NHL and the NHLPA and try to make life better for all the players."

Napier said some alumni groups are stronger than others.

"We are loosely associated with all the alumni associations across North America," he said.

"We try to keep the lines of communication open between all the players.

"Calgary has such a strong alumni. There's probably 10 or 12 alumnis that are strong -- all the Canadian teams and the other Original Six teams as well.

"But there are other guys living in areas that aren't very strong, so we keep them in the loop with what the alumni is doing."

Napier scored 235 goals and 541 points in 767 NHL games while playing for two of the game's biggest dynasties: The 1970s Canadiens and '80s Oilers.


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