CALGARY, AB -- Old habits die hard.
Just ask Calgary Flames alumnus Robyn Regehr.
Better yet ... ask the forwards he’s playing against, recreationally.
“The first game, I did take a penalty for body contact in the corner, just because I was so used to doing that,” said Regehr, who ended his 15-year NHL career in April 2015, and officially retired as a member of the Flames last January.
“It’s been a little bit better since then. The league I play in is a very competitive league. There’s a lot of guys that played good hockey, whether it was major junior or professionally in North America or over in Europe. It’s a very, very good league. It’s actually fun to play out there.
“Do guys test you? Yeah, to go around you, but that’s just normal competition. It’s fun for me to play against good competition that way.”
Yes, the tunnel of death is alive and well.
Regehr, who spent 11 seasons with the Flames, finished with 1,090 career games played, 36 goals and 199 points, and won the Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings in 2014, is back on the ice.
But it's not what has his attention.
His focus has switched to the oil industry as part owner of Blueline Oilfield Rentals.
And in that, laying off guys in the corner isn’t the only adjustment the now-36-year-old has had to make.
It's not completely foreign territory, though.
“I think there is some correlation,” said Regehr, who is also part of the management team and focuses on business development and sales. “Being in the same environment as a team, so with Blueline Oilfield Rentals, there’s a team of us that are trying to run the best business we can and grow our business and deal with the ups and downs and challenges of the business. I think being involved in a hockey team before that, learning discipline and what to do in different roles and how important those roles are for the team and how a team works and can work together to achieve what they set out to.
“But that being said, there’s a lot of things and a lot of skills that I don’t have, or am trying to learn now … things that might sound simple. Now, I need to structure my own day and what I need to get done and prioritize and things like that. Before as a hockey player, you were told, ‘Tomorrow’s a practice day … show up at this time for your warm-up and workout’ and you’re done. It was very structured. Everything is structured. Same pre-game meal. Same times. Same hotels. It’s almost military-like in the structure of hockey. There’s structure in the game. There’s a system. It’s a structure.
“That is very different from what I’m dealing with now. Now it’s up to me to set goals on what I’d like to achieve, and build a plan back from there on how to do that. There is no roadmap to say do it this way. It’s up to me to figure that out, and balance work and family life, too. Before you just had to go. Now, there’s a choice of not having to if I don’t want to, or how do I make it fit with what’s going on in my life now. There’s quite a bit of difference.”
Blueline Oilfield Rentals was formed in 2008 and provides rental equipment for use in exploration and drilling, with a focus on Heavy Weight Drill Pipe Rentals.
It’s a drastic change from bruising opposing forwards.
But not one that has him missing the game.
Not when he’s getting his fix in the beer leagues, that is.
“The thing that I really enjoy about it is more the social aspect of it after, just getting a chance to sit around and eat some wings and grab a beer with everyone and make fun of each other on some of the good plays or the bad plays that we did out there that night,” said Regehr, hobbled by a left knee injury that still plagues him to this day.
“You’re just being around that team atmosphere a little bit. That really helped me this year in not missing hockey as much as I thought I would being out there in the NHL.”
It’s in hockey that he’s embraced life after hockey.
“I have a friend that works downtown in the oil and gas business … Mike Krooshoop,” Regehr started. “Krooshoop calls me and I was playing on their team this winter and he’s like, ‘Robyn, you know that you’re with the Regular Joes when you have to go out and buy your first stick from the sporting goods store.’ I had a really good laugh.
“I haven’t had to go there quite yet.”
A change in playing style has helped prolong any purchase.
So maybe some old habits do pass.
“I never went through that many sticks,” Regehr said. “I keep using them over and over and over again. The flex just isn’t where you need it to be, but I never went through too many. Mine were pretty durable. I wasn’t handling the puck nearly as much as a lot of other players were out there.
“The sticks I used, believe it or not, were very durable. They work very well for cross-checking and things like that. They don’t break very often.
“I still have a good supply.”