Mike Dunham's performance Friday as the medalist in the qualifying round of the NHL's 'Drive Fore The Goal' at the FleetBoston Classic may have surprised some people, but not the Rangers goaltender.
"My dad's a golf pro," Dunham said with a shrug and a grin before heading home to take over babysitting duties. He expanded on his golf background Saturday morning before joining a threesome that included Champions Tour players Ed Fiori and Dave Barr, a former Canadian junior-hockey player from Kelowna, British Columbia.
"This may seem surprising, but I never took a lesson from my Dad," Dunham said. "Oh, once in a while, he might tell me I'm dropping my shoulder. But when he plays with my sister and gives her advice, she gets angry and they argue. So, we don't do that."
Dunham said his Dad, who is now the general manager of a golf club in Jackson Hole, Wyo., took the same hands-off hockey approach to his youth-hockey career. He agrees that a lot of parents take the fun out of their kid's game with excess criticism.
"He never said anything to me about my games, but he would make comments to my Mom," Dunham said. "They got so they couldn't sit together. He stands in one part of the rink and she sits in the stands."
Dunham was quick to stress that there's no marital stress there. No one can sit with his Mom at one of his games, he said.
"She's up there playing goalie with me, making kick saves, kicking shots away," Dunham said. "My wife she can't sit with Mom, either. She said she gets all bruised up."
Dunham, from Johnson City, New York, near Binghamton, said he grew up around golf, working in the pro shop and doing a lot of golf-course jobs.
"You get used to having a golf club in your hand all day long, whether you're playing golf or cleaning clubs or just carrying a club. It becomes a natural feeling to be holding a golf club," Dunham said.
That natural feeling served him well Saturday morning. There's no doubt he was the most relaxed NHL player prior to teeing off with the golf pros.
Dunham said he played a lot of golf earlier this summer, but his golf game has come second in recent weeks to pre-season conditioning.