NHL Players Who Got Their Start Off the Ice
NHL players pour themselves into their craft. They work endlessly to refine their skills, perfect their technique, and improve their athleticism. It doesn’t matter if they’re on or off the ice—professional athletes are dedicated in every way.
So, it’s not surprising to learn that many NHL players have participated in street, roller, and inline hockey, from the early days of their childhood to leagues as an adult. Not only are these versions of hockey a great way to work on fundamental skills, such as shooting and stickhandling, but they’re also incredibly fun.
Here’s a look at NHL players who’ve credited street, roller, and inline hockey with helping them on the ice.
In an interview, Maroon said he started playing roller hockey when he was just five years old. “That was the first thing I really liked. I enjoyed it. All my best friends played it, and some of my closest friends played it. I grew up playing it and then I got into ice hockey, but I just kept playing roller hockey as I got older.”
When Bobby Ryan was 11 years old, his family moved to Los Angeles where he quickly became well known in the ice and roller hockey circuits. He didn’t just play roller hockey—he excelled in it, competing at the national level.
Henrick Lundqvist is another player who took his inline hockey game to the highest level—a gold medal. Lundqvist (and his phenomenal goaltending) led team Sweden to their first ever medal in inline hockey, winning gold at the 2002 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship.
Chase De Leo
Chase De Leo says roller hockey helped foster his dreams of playing in the NHL. “I don’t think anyone wanted to be a Duck as badly as I do considering it’s something I’ve wanted and worked for since I was three years old,” said De Leo in an interview. “Playing mini hockey or roller hockey in the backyard, pretending I was scoring the big goal as a Duck and to finally be able to have that dream come true—it’s pretty much a no-brainer if it’s an option for me to sign here.”
So there you have it. When it comes to playing hockey, it’s never a question of the floor vs the ice. It’s both!