Like most people, Mike Gough plays hockey because he loves it. But the perks the game has brought him haven't hurt the love affair much either.
Gough has traveled the world -- Australia and Holland to name just a few exotic locales -- because of the sport. The game has also put him on the big screen, most recently as an extra in "Tooth Fairy," a big budget Hollywood film starring Dwayne Johnson that hit theaters Friday.
"Hockey has given me a lot of opportunities," Gough told NHL.com from his home in Vancouver. "It's been a great journey."
A journey that found him on the set of a Hollywood movie being filmed in Vancouver less than three years after he was a hero Down Under.
Gough, who was born in Australia before his family settled in Kingston, Ontario, left college (University of British Columbia) to try his hockey-playing luck in his homeland. He played one year with the Brisbane Blue Tongues of the Australian Ice Hockey League after being turned on to the opportunity by his former pee-wee coach and helped the Australian national team gain promotion at the World Championships that April.
"It was a really great experience," Gough said. "I had a lot of fun playing hockey there. They did some things different from here we do them here, but overall it was a great experience."
On his way back to Canada after the AIHL finished its summer season, Gough played a season in the Dutch pro league with the Amsterdam Tigers, where he had 15 goals and 23 points in 31 games.
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"That was my plan all along, to play the one year in Australia and then get in contact with some European agents and play the winter season in Europe," Gough said.
That's the thing with Gough; he always seems to have a plan -- whether it is with hockey or life. Gough was a pretty good junior player, playing five years in the Ontario Hockey League, including a four-year stint with St. Michael's Majors from 1998 to 2002 that led to free-agent tryouts with San Jose (2001) and Ottawa (2002). But Gough quickly understood that North American professional hockey was not in his cards, so he used his skill set to not only see the world, but get his education from the University of British Columbia and parlayed that degree into a job with Coca Cola in Vancouver.
It's a good job for sure -- especially because it allows him continue indulging his passion for hockey. He plays men's league hockey in Vancouver a couple times a week and coaches a Midget A team in the Vancouver Minor Hockey organization.
"I wanted to give something back because hockey has given so much to me," Gough said. "That's why I got into coaching, to hopefully give the kids some of the opportunities I have had."
The chance to be a part of "Tooth Fairy" is among the most unique of those many perks.
"I feel like a movie star," Gough said, even though he had just a small part as an extra.
Gough did play for Dwayne Johnson's team in the movie and got to sit next to the star during the shooting of several scenes.
"He seemed like a really good guy," Gough said. "He took it all very seriously, but he would joke around with us while we were sitting on the bench."
Gough can't wait to see how the movie turns out. It will be released Friday and he and the other extras located in the Vancouver area plan to get together and check it out.
"We might put out a red carpet and the whole thing," Gough laughed.
Why not? It'll just be another snap shot for an unforgettable hockey scrapbook.