Not many people make the association between cats and hockey. Few people could imagine felines sliding on the ice when they seem more at home in a quiet study or living room, cuddling up with an owner who is engrossed in a book. Dogs have usually been sportsmen’s best friends, but there are a number of hockey players who prefer the company of cats. While neither dogs nor cats seem at home at a hockey rink, cats can be a comfort to players after a hard game and can help them unwind and disconnect from the intensity and fast action of the sport.
Like other social media users, hockey players who have pets often feature them on Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms. On an Internet forum, hockey fans were discussing hockey professionals who own cats, and there was speculation that dogs are more commonly seen with players off the ice than cats. Not a few hockey fans were speculating that goalies probably had pets that were weirder than cats or dogs, perhaps lizards, strange insects or odd birds.
There was a story in South Korea of a stray female cat that decided to have her litter in a hockey bag. Dan Klein of the Gwangyang Crazy Eagles team came into practice and noticed there was a calico cat with four kittens in a player’s bag. The cat was a stray that wandered into the window and chose the bag as an ideal place to give birth. Klein described the cat as one of the calmest he’d ever seen, and while the feline was unlikely to take to the ice, she certainly seemed comfortable with the hockey players, and a few of them adopted some small kittens.
Mike Green, the Canadian defenseman for the Detroit Red Wings, had an image of himself on a social media site taking a nap with a tabby, probably resting after another stunning achievement. This hard slapshot has the nickname Game Over Green because of his tendency to score winning goals in the last minutes of the game or in overtime. In addition to taking warm naps with his tabby, Green spends much of his time outside of the rink raising money for and organizing children’s charities. He recently raised funds for the Children’s National Medical Center and started the program Greens Gang, for which he buys seven tickets and gives them to the Most Valuable Kids charity for underprivileged children. It makes perfect sense that a cat lover has a heart of gold.
Bobby Ryan, the American ice hockey winger for the Ottawa Senators was sitting on his sofa with a pair of chubby tabbies. Perhaps the kitties were taking in a video of one of his successful games. Ryan seems to enjoy cat companionship in the photo, as pets can be a comfort for a turbulent home life. Not long ago, Ryan came clean about his childhood difficulties living with an alcoholic father. Ryan hasn’t let this get him down, though and was drafted in the second round by Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2005. He was traded to the Senators in 2013 and plays on the US Olympic team.
Evgeni Malkin, the Russian center and alternate captain for the Pittsburgh Penguins had a beloved cat named Dixie who unfortunately passed away. Malkin was so moved by the passing of his beloved cat then he eulogized Dixie on Twitter. Malkin is one of the NHL’s top players and has a diverse skill set which makes him sought after in the league. He originally played for Russian teams and was rated second overall in the 2014 NHL draft.
Jaromir Jagr from Czechoslovakia is a right winger and plays for the Florida Panthers. It’s appropriate that the team has a feline name and image because he has been seen on social media with a black silk shirt while holding a gorgeous black cat with brilliant green eyes. Pavel Datsyuk, also known as the Magic Man, has played for SKA St. Petersburg and for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League. He tweeted a picture of his white cat with the comment that his feline friend was most likely watching the game and was proud of Pavel’s accomplishments. There is plenty to be proud of in Pavel’s career, which saw a victory in the Stanley Cup in 2002 and 2008 with the Red Wings. The Magic Man is originally from the Russian town of Sverdlovsk and his parents’ nickname for him is Pasha. The hockey player and cat lover faced a significant number of obstacles in his childhood with the loss of his mother at a young age. His talents as a player were overlooked because of his short stature, but when his abilities were eventually discovered, his career took off.
Kerby Rychel of the Toronto Maple Leafs is a feline enthusiast. He owns a Persian orange kitty with yellow eyes that he is so fond of that he has created a twitter account for his furry friend. He has tweeted, “Persian Kittie loves his family and the game of hockey is my favorite pastime.” Under one adorable picture is the tweet, “anybody need a pic for their locket?” Rychel is the son of Warren Rychel who won the Stanley Cup in 1996. He plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs as a prospect and was selected for the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round.
Cats may not like ice and are not often seen skating or at the hockey rink, but there are a number of hockey players who love cats. While dog owners tend to predominate the world of sports, there is plenty of room for cat lovers who enjoy the calm and peace of a feline in the room quietly snoozing on the couch in front of a hockey game. Hockey players enjoy the company of furry friends after tough matches and hard practices on the ice.