GLENDALE – Coyotes players skating informally on Thursday morning welcomed Canadian pro golfer Graham DeLaet to the mix for about an hour.
|Graham DeLaet. Photo by Dave Vest. |
DeLaet, dressed in Coyotes practice gear, competed in drills with the NHLers and then played winger in a scrimmage with them before heading to the locker room.
“I haven’t been on skates in a while and that kind of showed out there, but it was fun to get a good sweat going and get back out on the ice,” said DeLaet, who grew up playing hockey in Saskatchewan before deciding to make golf his career.
“It was always my dream (to play pro hockey) but I was never quite good enough, unfortunately, to play at this level,” DeLaet said. “But I’m a huge hockey fan. It’s good to rub shoulders with these guys. It was fun. I didn’t feel great and it took me a while to find my edges, but it was a lot of fun.”
Like many of the Coyotes, DeLaet trains at EXOS in Phoenix. It was there he bumped into Coyotes captain Shane Doan a few days ago and mentioned he’d enjoy skating with the NHLers at the Ice Den in Scottsdale before training camp begins. Doan took it from there and DeLaet, a Calgary Flames fan, became an honorary member of the Coyotes for about 60 minutes.
|Graham DeLaet and Shane Doan. |
DeLaet has played 127 events on the PGA Tour since 2007. He has notched 23 top-10 finishes, including three second-place finishes. Thumb and neck injuries have slowed him the past two years; he ranks 112th in the FEDEXCUP Standings with 545 points. He finished eighth in those standings two years ago with 1,415 points.
DeLaet, 33, hasn’t played competitive hockey in 15 years. He said he misses the camaraderie of the game and the ribbing the players give each other, which he heard from the NHLers after he “panicked with the puck” a few times during the scrimmage on Thursday.
“For the most part, the guys said I did alright out there, especially early,” DeLaet said with a smile. “But then as we started to scrimmage some of the guys started giving it to me a little - chirping that I was coughing up the puck.”