Tough hockey career
Former Blade MacIntyre talks about fight for survival in pro hockey
The only place Edmonton Oilers tough guy Steve MacIntyre hasn't played is outer space.
The 30-year-old former Saskatoon Blade and native of Brock goes one-on-one with Ian Walker of the Vancouver Sun.
Walker: What is the Continental Elite Hockey League?
MacIntyre: (Laughing) The Continental Elite Hockey League is a glorified Jr. B league I played in after my final year of junior with the OCN Blizzard. I was actually enrolled to go to Red Deer College to be a teacher. I was 20 years old and thought I'd check things out and see the States.
Walker: I hear you weren't there too long?
MacIntyre: (Laughing) Yeah, I got booted out for accumulating too many suspensions. I had three. I don't know if they were warranted per se, but one was for letting a guy have it after he kicked our goalie, another was for punching a guy with his helmet in a fight and the last one I cross-checked a guy after he stuck me in the face, so after that they said 'See you later.'
Walker: Seemed like things turned out for the best, though. Didn't you win your only championship that same year?
MacIntyre: That was awesome. I was pretty worried for a few days. I didn't know where I was going to play. I had an opportunity to go to the East Coast League to the Toledo Storm, but I ended up going to the Muskegon Fury of the United Hockey League instead. I landed in time for the pre-game skate and played that night and it was history from there.
Walker: I see your point. . . . What is the QSPHL?
MacIntyre: (Laughing) There's a blast from the past. It's the Quebec Senior Pro League. I played there for a month. Now it's called the LNAH (Ligue Nord Americaine de Hockey) and it's a semi-pro league in Quebec and that was an adventure for sure. I was like: What have I got myself into?
Walker: Do you have any idea how many leagues you've played in since junior?
MacIntyre: Probably all of them except the Central Hockey League, but I have no clue as to how many.
MacIntyre: (Laughing) Kind of what I figured.
Walker: Do you know how many different teams you've played for, including junior?
MacIntyre: (Shaking his head) No idea.
Walker: Twenty. Saskatoon Blades, Red Deer Rebels, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL), OCN Blizzard (MJHL), Bay County Blizzard (CEHL), Muskegon Fury (UHL), St. Jean Mission (QSPHL), Muskegon again, Charlotte Checkers (ECHL), Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), Jacksonville Barracudas (WHA2), Charlotte again, Hartford again, Charlotte again, Quad City Mallards (UHL), Providence Bruins (AHL), Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers (NHL), Rochester Americans (AHL), Edmonton again.
MacIntyre: You forgot one, the SJHL's Kindersley Klippers (laughing).
Walker: (Laughing) Did you ever think of calling it quits?
MacIntyre: Oh yeah! Many times. I quit the year I was in Quad City. The first half-dozen games I was in I was in five fights and I was like 'What the hell am I doing this for?' I was fighting the same guys. I was away from my family. My little guy wasn't quite a year old. I had just lost all interest with the politics and the BS with being a fighter or enforcer, but I'm glad I stuck with it.
Walker: What changed your mind?
MacIntyre: I had a talk with my dad and friends and they just told me that I was getting paid to play hockey. It's tough, but you get paid seven months out of the year, pretty good money, and you can only do it so long. It came down to taking care of the family.
Walker: Do you remember your first NHL fight?
MacIntyre: Ah, who did I fight?
Walker: He's a teammate of yours.
MacIntyre: (Laughing) Oh yeah, Jimmy Vandermeer. That's right. That was my first NHL fight. Pre-season. That's funny. Jimmy's a great guy; we played together in Red Deer and we also fought in junior and he beat the snot out of me. So I always remembered that, put it in the old memory bank. So we were playing the (Calgary) Flames and circumstances led to us fighting and we had a good one. He's one of the toughest guys I've ever fought.
Walker: I don't know if this will help come your next contract, but you have one fewer goal than Derek Boogaard in 230 fewer NHL games.
MacIntyre: (Laughing) What does that tell you? I want his contract.
Walker: You played with Darcy Hordicuk in Saskatoon. What's your best Hordi story?
MacIntyre: (Laughing) Where do I start? Everything is 'Dude, I got a deal for you. Dude, I got a deal for you.' No, the best Darcy story . . . this is a testament to how really tough that kid is. So we had 65 fights between the two of us with the Blades. We were playing Brandon at home and he went at it with Burke Henry, who was on top of him and just pounding Darcy -- you could hear the smack of every punch echo around the rink and blood was splattering everywhere. Finally the linesmen break it up and Darcy gets up unfazed and he looks at the bench with this big goofy looking grin and all you can see is the whites of his teeth, everything else is covered in blood. He's got a head like cinder block. I swear to God, he has that big dent that runs across his forehead, he didn't have it before that night. (Laughing) He took dirty beatings a few times and he'd always come back for more.
Walker: What's with you and the hot yoga?
MacIntyre: (Laughing) You know what? I just tried it on a whim. I was training this summer with this lady in Charlotte, that's where my wife is from, and after one of the workouts she invited me to yoga so I had some time and went. I swear, it's awesome. It's a different type of workout.
Walker: I used to do it when I was single, but that was just so I could take my shirt off in a room full of women.
MacIntyre: (Laughing) That's funny. I'm sure it worked for you, too. For me, now that I'm getting older, I can't pound on my body as hard with the weights. I just felt so much more loose. I don't get into the spiritual side so much as much as I try and push myself physically. I haven't done it since the season started, but talking about it here with you now, I'm thinking I should go.
Walker: Can you name any yoga poses?
MacIntyre: Down dog. Cobra. (Laughing) I can't remember any others right now.
Walker: Do you have any Lululemon gear?
MacIntyre: (Laughing) I do! And I love it!
Walker: (Laughing) I just got my first pair of Smash pants for Christmas and was a little worried of what people would think, but then I tried them on and they're just sick.
MacIntyre: (Laughing) That's the first thing I said to my wife, 'Is this weird that I like wearing Lululemon?' I've got a shirt, tank top, a pair of pants and a sweet jacket. Actually, I have three jackets come to think of it.
Walker: What's something else about you not a lot of fans know?
MacIntyre: I'm kind of a big softy. At Christmas, I don't know if you'd call it crying, but just being able to spend times with the kids and watching them so happy opening their presents had me shedding a few tears.
Walker: Is it true that Wade Belak hit you so hard in a fight that he cracked your helmet?
MacIntyre: For sure. (Laughing) It was last year. I was playing in Florida. It was a heck of a good fight, he was one of the guys I looked up to when he was in junior in Saskatoon and have followed his career, and him and I finally tangled and I was like 'Holy Smokes! I'm in for one now.' He caught me with a left and split my helmet. It was pretty cool. I sent it over to their room after for him to sign it. I don't even know where it is now. It used to be on our mantle with the puck from the game I reached 1,500 PIMs (penalty minutes).
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