A little solitude in the country is one thing, but Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Mike Smith may be taking it to new levels during the off-season as he spends weeks wandering around what he refers to as his “domain” - 52 acres with a little cabin on a lake in the town of Verona, Ontario.
If you plan on dropping in, think again. Verona, which sits north of Kingston, Ontario and is somewhere between Toronto and Montreal, was settled in 1821, but was not officially recognized and given a post office until 1858. That’s because settlers had a difficult time reaching the town, due to deplorable road conditions and the need to cross the Cameron Bog, a 5,000 acre swamp.
The population has grown to 1,800 today and it’s easier to get there these days, but that’s not much concern for Smith.
“I kind of live in the sticks,” he said. “I don’t even have an oven in the cabin – all the cooking is done on a barbecue or a smoker.”
The remoteness doesn’t bother Smith one bit.
“I’ve been doing some fishing and trying to get ready for the upcoming season,” Smith explained. “The fishing’s been pretty bad so far this summer but then again the weather has been very rainy. Hopefully, the weather will change and the walleye will start biting.”
Smith does have some travel plans upcoming, including a weekend trip to the relative metropolis of Colorado Springs, to participate in the Players Cup Golf Tournament. The format is NFL players vs. NHL players and the proceeds go to Judy’s House, the Denver charity founded by NFL quarterback Brian Griese, which is dedicated to helping children and families who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
But after that, and until the opening of training camp in September, it’s back to the country for Smith.
“I’m way in the ‘boons,” he said. “There’s deer and turkey lingering in the yard and I love it.”