This is the 33rd in our summer series in which we’re pulling hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.
When the Devils and Flames met this past season, Chico Resch went on one of his trademarked rambling asides about the exotic pets Robyn Regehr had as a youngster, growing up, as he did, in exotic locales with his missionary parents. There was something about a monkey, but Chico was significantly more taken with the notion that Regehr had a pet tiger. It was touch-and-go for a while during the broadcast, as it seemed we were going to lose Chico to the romantic notion of having a pet tiger. And in a summertime exclusive, IPB and the PBS series has an exclusive look at other hockey players whose pets blow Chico’s mind.
Niklas Lidstrom: Harp Seal As a wee bairn in Sweden, Nick Lidstrom cherished his favorite seal, Humperdink. Everywhere he went, he insisted Humperdink be allowed to go with him, except for the one place Humperdink most wanted to follow — on the ice. Sadly, Humperdink was bitten by a rabid bat during a summer visit to the Lidstrom family fishing cabin, and in his ensuing madness, attacked young Nicky. This is why Lidstrom excels on the ice as an adult — he’s psychologically so much more stable in the one place where Humperdink could never get at him.
Joe Thornton: Heirloom Chickens Thornton can’t get enough of his beloved Welsummer chickens, Jojo and Coco. Their distinctive terra cotta brown eggs are gifts his teammates are perhaps a little tired of finding in their dressing stalls. Jumbo Joe loves the saving money by not buying eggs at the store, and to repay Jojo and Coco for their generousness, he allows them to roam free in his house, rather than living in a coop. The damage they might do to the superstar’s house is outweighed by Joe’s own fear of being cooped in himself.
Ray Emery: Common Housecat Chico, like everyone else, has had his head turned by tales of Emery’s douchey pet python (or whatever it is), but will be bowled over when he discovers that Emery does not, in fact, actually own that snake. He only rents it. In real life, his pet is much less toolish: a regular old orange tabby alley cat, adopted from an Ottawa-area PetSmart.
Martin Erat: Angora Rabbit Erat’s hometown of Trebic is well-known as the Angora Capital of the Czech Republic thanks to the efforts of Father Zdeno, the 12th Century monk who imported 500 angora rabbits to the area. The wild rabbits overrun the city and its surrounds, but are treated as sacred and thus not hunted or disturbed in any way. As a way of remembering his homeland while playing in the United States, the city fathers presented Erat with a matching pair upon his being drafted in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. Erat accepted the gift so as not to appear rude, but after getting the obscenely soft pets home, quickly became a rabbit enthusiast.
Philippe Boucher: Red Fox “Sweets to the sweets,” said the pet store attendant to Philippe Boucher when he dropped in one lonely day at the mall, “Have a fox.”
Sid Crosby: Origami Frog Because of constant demands on his time from a young age, Crosby was never allowed to get a proper pet. He found an origami frog in a wastepaper basket in a hockey rink after a junior junior figure skating tournament. For years he was hesitant to name the frog, fearful of it being taken away from him after he formed a lasting bond with it. It wasn’t until his 12th birthday that he bestowed the name Braydon Clawforth on the paper animal. Clawforth lives in a terrarium in Crosby’s room, and is fed exactly 87 pellets of imaginary frog food a week.
Zigmund Palffy: Luminescent Jellyfish Remember that dude in the metallic pom-pom-esque, multicolored wig who used to come to Devils-Islanders games at CAA in a Palffy sweater? Ziggy liked him so much that he got a pet to match the wig.
Travis Zajac: Julio the Rock Shrimp It needs no explanation.