2 NHL Players Who Shared Their Love for Horse Racing - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

2 NHL Players Who Shared Their Love for Horse Racing

It is a thrill to be a fan amongst fans, and when it comes to the craze of sports, sportsmen love both sides, the one they play and the one they watch. Just like that, some NHL players have been taking an interest in horse racing.

Erik Johnson

At Arapahoe Park, Erik Johnson put his zest before his fans when he showed up to watch his Crosscheck Carlos, who ran in Gold Rush Futurity. That day, he was asked for his autographs several times because many fans of horse racing in Colorado were also fans of NHL.

Johnson performs skillfully for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, and regardless of being very occupied with exercising and training for the next World Cup of Hockey, Johnson really loves going to the horse racetrack whenever he can fit it into his daily schedule.

“Hockey is my top priority,” Johnson said. “Just like people love to play golf on weekends, I love to watch my horse races.”

Johnson’s fascination with racing started as a youth. At the same time, he’d spend a few hours at Canterbury Park with relatives and buddies. Johnson is now the owner of 10 racehorses with different partners, including Paul Reddam, owner of Kentucky Derby, Ed Olczyk, a former NHL player, and Vinnie Viola, owner of Florida Panthers.

The involvement of Johnson in horse racing was seen when he bought Colorado-bred yearling at Arapahoe Park at a Silver Cup sale event.

Eddie Olczyk

The horse racing track was the first place where the NHL player Eddie Olczyk won the Stanley Cup when his New York Rangers trudged its way to supremacy in NHL in 1994.

A photograph of Olczyk and “Go for Gin,” that year’s Kentucky Derby champion is actually a precious thing of the former Toronto Maple Leafs center. His passion for horse racing is as great as his love for hockey.

Olczyk, as a well-known NBC hockey broadcaster, put his performance with the NHL playoffs at bay temporarily while he worked with the Preakness Stakes broadcast, framing the memories around the second jewel of the United States Triple Crown.

American Pharoah, a winner of Kentucky Derby, is a mind-boggling favorite in the eight-horse Preakness field. However, a de facto learner of horse-race handicapping, Olzcyk, believes that Dortmund, his Derby pick, has a chance to hit back.

“I do believe Dortmund happened to run a certainly better rush (in the Derby) as compared to this third-place finish shows,” said Olczyk. “I believe he ran on the deeper area of the track. You do typically want to play a horse that is closer to the early stride in the Preakness.”

Olcyzk picked the longshot during the Derby telecast; Danzig Moon, the Canadian-bred who finished 5th in the Preakness field.

Danzig Moon would run faster in the Derby because that day, Churchill Downs’ track seemed a merry-go-round swing due to a speck of thick dirt on it, Olcyzk shared his estimates during the Derby telecast.


Feature Photo by Julia Joppien on Unsplash

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