Q: So, let's start off with where you are right now and what you've been up to during this wild COVID-19 pause?
A: I'm down in Boise, Idaho, that's where I live full-time. It's where I went to university and met my wife here. So, we kind of planted roots here. All the city-owned golf courses have been closed, but all the privately-run golf courses have been open here and have been pretty much through this. So, I've been playing like two or three times a week. Not like practicing or really getting ready to compete, or that type of thing, but have just gone out and kept swinging them just to stay somewhat sharp. And then when the time comes to start ramping it up again once there's a light at the end of the tunnel, I'll start practicing a little bit harder. But we're kind of doing the same things as everyone else - it's a weird time. Trying to keep the kids busy and everything.
Q: As a Saskatchewan boy, you've talked about how you became a Flames fan watching Theo Fleury in Moose Jaw and then him going to Calgary and winning the Cup in his first year with the organization. That was the connection to our team. How did that all unfold?
A: I was probably three or four, I mean I hardly have memories in all honesty, but I do remember my dad used to take me to pretty much all the Warriors games and (Theo) was obviously my favourite player. And then fast forward a few years to '89 when they won the Cup, those are actually my first real hockey memories. That was what basically hooked me as a fan - I had perfect timing. Being a Theo fan and then have them win the Cup right away. When Lanny raised the Cup, that's something, too, I remember. He was such an iconic captain, you know, with the red mustache, and all the emotion and everything. It was a perfect scenario for me to jump on the bandwagon and become a fan.
Q: Do you remember the first jersey you got?
A: It's actually funny, my first ever hockey jersey as a three-year-old - I still have it, my Mom found it a few years ago and I have it downstairs - was a Theoren Fleury jersey. It's tiny.
Q: So you've had a chance to meet a bunch of the Flames over the years. Do you keep in contact with any of them?
A: A little bit. Cammalleri, I kind of text back and forth with once in a while. Played with him and Giordano at Whisper Rock in Scottsdale one time. Cammy took some money off me (laughing). So he always reminds me of that. A few years ago at the Flames Poker Tournament, Gio was talking about that with some of the guys. That was pretty fun, honestly. I've gotten to meet Lanny a few times. We did a thing in Calgary with (former pro golfer) David Feherty. Lanny was there. He's one of the greatest guys. As a player, I remember him briefly from being a kid but he's kind of one of the guys I've really started to like now more and more. Then there's other guys you kind of bump into here and there, at charity events and that kind of thing. Sometimes you get the odd text here and there.
Q: So how good a golfer is our captain?
A: He's not too bad - he'd be the first to say it's not his best sport, by any means (chuckle). I was really impressed with Cammalleri. He had great hands around the green. He was a pretty good player - he's a pretty avid golfer. Gio, I think, he was talking about how much he sucked the whole time but he really didn't. He had a good time and some laughs. I think that's what he plays for - to have fun.
Q: How do you get your Flames fix - and NHL fix, for that matter - given where you live and all the travelling you do?
A: I have the GameCenter app because the problem in the U.S. - and almost all the tournaments are in the U.S. or overseas or whatever - is that the only games you get on TV are NBC and they're from certain areas. So I always have the NHL GameCentre app on my iPad. I'll probably watch about half the (Flames) games per year, as far as on TV. I'd like to do more but it's just harder now with kids and our schedules and everything like that. Obviously, I never miss a playoff game. As far as live, when I was down in Arizona every winter I would always go to every game I could when Calgary was in town. I went to a game in L.A. one time against the Flames. Just happened to work in our favour - we were playing there. I went to one down in Sunrise one time because we were in a tournament there. Anytime it works when I'm on the road, I try and check one out. Basically, as many as I can.
Q: Being a good Canadian boy, I read you wanted to be a pro hockey player when you grew up but you were better at golf.
A: I was a decent hockey player. I was never gonna make it to the NHL, but I was pretty good. Jarret Stoll was from Yorkton and we played against them in atom and pee wee and bantam before he went on to AAA. There was one year, I think I was second or third in scoring in the league with 50 or 60 points and he was about 60 points ahead of us. I was like, 'Yeah, I think I might have to look for something else to do.' It was a bit of an eye-opening experience . Watching Stoll, he was on such a different level. I was like, 'wow!' He obviously had a great career but he was on such a different level then and I think that's when I realized even though that's what I wanted to do (make the NHL), it was probably never going to happen for me. It was a passion, though, to play the game. I played through my minor hockey and then that was it.
Q: How often do you still get on the skates?
A: Almost always in the winter I'll try. Now that my kids are four-and-a-half (twins Roscoe and Lyla), they've started skating a little bit. There is a rink in Boise. It's only a double rink, the only one, other than the downtown rink where the semi-pro team plays. It's like 45 minutes away (he pauses with another chuckle) … and we'll drive all the way out there and then put full gear on them, we get out and skate and in like 10 minutes his feet are sore and he wants to go. It's like holy, it's like a two-hour mission to skate for 10 minutes.
Q: So, is there a men's league there you can skate in and impress them with the silky mitts?
A: I got a couple of buddies who played for the Idaho Steelheads here and they all get together once a week or whatever to play. The only thing is with my back right now and the fact I want to get out and be playing at the highest level of golf, I don't want to go out there and risk getting hurt. Probably something I'll wait until I retire and go out and skate a bit more often.