Not many people know this but I grew up in a huge hockey family... Like everyone plays hockey as a kid until they get old enough to disappoint their parents by not wanting to play so there is an entire season in youth league where you just drag a stick behind you forlornly but you eventually you do but your brother doesnt so you spend the best part of childhood feeling like a disappoint until you realize your brother was just being staged mom-ed by your dad.
And then you're okay.
So growing up I was constantly watching hockey, surrounded by hockey debates, in a house where hockey sticks were hung like art and hockey magazines shared space with the New York Times. Which was how I discovered this:
Eric Lindros was some kind of weird crossbreeding of Zack Morris and AC Slater--smart aleck mixed with jock, the kind of guy who would play rough but be gentle off the ice. Now honestly--is most of that true? No--but he was exactly the kind of guy my teenage self idolized.
I also think I thought it would be cool to date a hockey player because my dad would have to be more accepting of his son's gay professional hockey player boyfriend. Not that Lindros was gay--but don't tell my preteen scrapbook filled with pictures, stats and even still from ad campaigns. The heart wants what it wants.
As a player Lindros was a bad boy from the moment he skated into the NHL with his refusal to play for the first team that signed him--the Quebec Nordiques. They weren't cosmopolitan enough, not enough marketing potential and they were French Canadian so he just flat out refused to play. So yeah--he was a bad boy.
But he was also an amazing player--he was constantly 4th all time in points game for his first 5 years in the league, a big guy paying a small guy's game, known for playing on the famous Legio o Doom line for the Philadelphia Flyers... He may not have been the nicest player but man:
Of course all good things come to an end--and a career filled with concussions didn't help--and in 2007 he retired from playing the game as a player. To his credit he did donate 5 million dollars to London Health Sciences Centre before taking a job as the NHLPA obudsman for a little over a year... Since 2008 he has been basically retired with the exception of a handful of Alumni games
here and there.
He also got fat which I am not going to post pictures of cause I would rather remember him this way