Calvin de Haan loves Carp and hates carp.
He loves Carp, Ontario, his hometown of 1,965 people and one traffic light conveniently located a half-mile out of town. He can’t stand the fish of which it’s indirectly named after.
“They are big and kind of disgusting fish,” de Haan said. “Bottom feeders.”
So don’t order the fish, no matter how fresh, if you’re sitting down at Alice’s Village Cafe – one of de Haan’s and Trip Advisor’s recommendations. Skip carp fishing as well. Instead, hit up the outdoor rink.
“The outdoor rink is really nice,” he said. “I used to be on there for hours and hours and hours when I was younger. I almost wish we could not play in Ottawa and go to the rink instead. It’s so much fun. That’s the best time to go out and play hockey; with your buddies and relatives and playing shinny. It’s very laid back, but it’s always a fun time.”
Most of the Islanders go back home in the offseason, but no one seems to have as much municipal pride as de Haan.
“It’s just a small little town with everything you need,” he said. “It was a good place, fun place to grow up.”
If you follow the Islanders defenseman on Twitter, you’ve probably heard of the term #CarpLad. In fact, it’s in his Twitter bio: “Carp Lad....Former General....Islander.”
So what does it mean? The dry, matter-of-fact de Haan sums it up.
“It’s just a thing that you call someone from Carp,” he said. “I hail from Carp.”
It’s part of his identity, the Carp Lad nickname sticking to him like a carp’s mouth on the bottom of a riverbed.
“I don’t think some of the guys [on the team] know my real first name,” de Haan said. “They just call me that.”
Located 10 minutes from the Ottawa Senators’ rink in nearby Kanata, ON – where the Islanders play Friday – de Haan will be back among his people. The Carp Lad by himself no longer.