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Marois, still on the ice, sees All-Star fever in Montreal

by Shawn P. Roarke
A day doesn't go by now when Daniel Marois isn't on the ice. It's almost as if the 40-year-old never retired from professional hockey.

"I'm on the ice every day, seven days a week, for two or three hours a day," says Marois.

No longer are those sessions designed to sharpen his skills. Instead, he is passing on his knowledge to the next generation. Marois, who played his last pro game as a member of the Verdun Dragons of the Quebec Senior League in 2005, now works exclusively with kids.

"I'm involved at minor hockey at so many levels," says Marois. "I'm coaching, taking care of school programs and doing individual training. The kids range in age from 6-18, so it's always different and I love it."

Marois is coaching his 12-year-old son, Nick, in peewee AA hockey in the Montreal area. He also has a 13-year-old daughter, Claudia, who is making a name for herself on the ski slopes.

Nick Marois, by the way, is a chip right of the old man's block. "He likes to score goals, yes," Daniel Marois said with a laugh.

So did the father. Daniel Marois was a big scorer in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before being drafted by Toronto in 1987. He broke in with the Maple Leafs by scoring 31 goals as a rookie in the 1988-89 season, followed by a 39-goal campaign.

But the goals dried up after that. Marois scored just 37 goals in 206 more injury-ravaged NHL games with Toronto, the New York Islanders, Boston and Dallas. Marois then played another decade in top leagues across Europe before returning home in 2004 for the one-season run with Verdun, the city where he played most of his junior hockey.

Having played his last NHL game during the 1995-96 season, Marois often is forgotten -- even in his home province -- when it comes to his time in the NHL

"Sometimes, when you haven't played in the NHL for the last 10 years or so, people forget about you," said Marois. "Now, with all the excitement around the game and with some of us alumni being involved, you are appreciated more. It's been great."

Marois also says it has been great watching his hometown come alive for the All-Star Game. He knows first-hand that Montreal is a hockey city, but the way it has embraced the All-Star Game and all of Montreal's Centennial festivities has left him stunned.

"It's bigger than I thought it could be, to be honest with you," said Marois.

Plus, Marois can watch the excitement grow on a daily basis just by watching the reactions of his son, who will be at the game thanks to dear old dad.

"He was very, very excited when he found out he was going to the game," said Marois. "He's not a very emotional kid at all usually, but he got pretty emotional when he found out. He's a big (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin fan, so he can't wait."

Neither, it seems, can the rest of Montreal.
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