Two new hips. That’s what Marty McSorley has, and he’s ready to hit the ice on Sept. 7 in Slave Lake, with Messier, Anderson and others.
“I feel so much better,” McSorley says. “I want to be out there!”
The former Edmonton Oiler is making a fifth visit to Slave Lake next month as part of the Ice Breaker hockey game and banquet. This time he’ll be playing for the Oilers side in what’s being called the ‘Battle of Alberta.’ Last year he was forced to watch the game, because his hips weren’t feeling so good.
“Both implants were loose,” he says.
Now it’s all systems go, and McSorley was in town last week for some fishing and jawing with local news people, just as the ice was going in the Tervita Arena. When he sees that happening, McSorley says, “the hair on the back of my neck stands up.”
With McSorley in Slave Lake on Sept. 7 will be former teammates Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Louie DeBrusk and Chris Joseph (possibly others), along with some local players. Lining up against them for the Flames team will be former Battle of Alberta enemies Joel Otto, Owen Nolan, Jamie Macoun, Mike Commodore, Curtis Glencross and Dana Murzyn.
Having Messier involved is going to make a difference, McSorley says, and not just because he’s a big name.
“Mark’s a perfect guy (for this sort of thing),” he says. “He’s not going to want to lose the hockey game, especially to the Calgary Flames.”
There you go.
For the Flames side, McSorley continues, having Macoun and Otto on board is a big plus.
“They’re really good guys,” he says. “It’s going to add to the scenario. “It’ll be competitive for sure – with respect.”
The game goes on the Friday, Sept. 7, with the banquet the next night at the Legacy Centre. Both events are organized by the people who look after the Landon Persson Memorial Fund, which is the beneficiary of any money raised.
McSorley does a certain amount of such forays for charitable events each year – as many ex NHL pros do. It’s part of how they make their living, but McSorley makes a point of stressing how important it is to him to make a positive difference in places like Slave Lake. He mentions passing by the Landon Persson Dog Park in Slave Lake, which he and some other ex-NHLers helped inaugurate a couple of years ago.
“We’re making a good footprint, I think,” he says. “Doing some good things.”
And if they get in some fishing – so much the better. In fact that’s a big part of the draw for the Slave Lake gig, and McSorley uses the lure of the lake when he’s helping chief Ice Breaker organizer Shawn Gramlich recruit former players for the event.
In fact he and Gramlich were heading out to test the waters early on Aug. 13, right after talking to the local press.
Now a resident of southern California, McSorley does some TV commentating, has been in a few movies and packs in a few charity event appearances on visits to Alberta (and elsewhere), leaving him as much time as possible for his young family. He and his wife and three kids live in Hermosa Beach, California.
McSorley is a personable guy, speaks well and has loads of hockey stories in his arsenal, many of them quite amusing.
Editor’s note: Regarding the ex-NHL players mentioned above as participating in the Ice Breaker hockey game: The list often changes, with additions and subtractions right up to the week of the game. The actual line-up may differ by Sept. 8.
Marty McSorley, right, shakes on it with Ice Breaker organizer Shawn Gramlich at the MRC in Slave Lake.