Although his days as a scrappy winger with the Leafs are over, Darcy Tucker’s love for the game of hockey is unwavering.
On Monday morning, Tucker laced up his skates for a hockey clinic with local elementary schools at Dieppe Park’s outdoor rink in East York.
“I was like a big kid out there,” Tucker said.
The brisk weather was still a far cry from the deep-freeze that Tucker was accustomed to, growing up in Alberta.
Illuminated by the headlights of his parent’s cars, Tucker and his brother would play on the pond in his backyard late into the night.
“Usually it was pretty darn cold out there,” Tucker explained. “Our feet were frozen, our hands were frozen, but we just enjoyed and loved the game.”
At age 40, his relationship with the game hasn’t really changed. Insulated by his love for the sport, the ice is still where he feels at home. The clinic wasn’t just a PR opportunity. He fought over loose pucks, he chirped the youngsters and he even took a few shots on the goalies. (Although he said they were “flicks” rather than shots.)
Aside from the fun, Darcy Tucker spoke about what he hoped to instil in the kids. It was the same thing he brought to the NHL. A grittiness.
“The willingness to do whatever it takes,” Tucker said.