Every summer Buzzing the Net goes coast-to-coast talking to various players across the Canadian Hockey League about their summer jobs.
Since hockey has practically become a full-time, year-round venture for many players -- hockey schools, summer camps, development camps, etc. -- it's nice to see some of them take a break from the rink and earn a little cash on the side.
Not every player is fortunate enough to sign an NHL contract worth millions, so for many, a summer job is a necessity -- especially given the paltry weekly "pay" the kids make during the season. For others, a summer job gives players something to do outside of working out and playing video games. Like many teens in the summer, this is often their first foray into working in "the real world."
As we've tried to document over the years, the jobs players take are a varied as their roles on the ice: Bear hunting guide, garden centre attendant, restaurant dishwasher, road crew worker, IKEA warehouse worker, casino slot attendant, small business owner and sign installer.
So without further ado, here's a look at how some players are spending the summer...
Stephen Anderson (Saint John Sea Dogs)
Oyster fisherman - Morell, P.E.I.:
Stephen Anderson might be heading into this third season with the QMJHL's Saint John Sea Dogs, but this summer he was a rookie oyster-man on a fishing boat. His catch was primarily oysters and mussels, though he did occasionally fish for lobsters. While Anderson's a Sea Dog in the winter, in the summer he found it hard to find his sea legs.
"I get a little sea sick, so some mornings the water was a little rough," said the 18-year-old forward. "I didn't throw-up any, though my head was spinning sometimes, so that was probably the worst (part of the job).
"Sometimes you're so busy, you don't have time to worry about getting sea sick."
Anderson's boat would fish off the coast of Morell, P.E.I, in Red Head Harbour, which was a convenient drive for him. Since the winger was harvesting oysters, his hours were a little more manageable, usually working from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., though he says time flies when you're working on the water.
"You're out there all day," said Anderson. "You're in the sun, so it gets pretty hot, but you're working the whole time so time passes quickly.
"It was a new experience. Obviously in PEI, you always know about fishing, but that was the first time I ever really got into it and learned what goes in to all the fishing stuff."
Anderson said he'd have to haul the large cages used to catch the oysters up to the surface of the water which would be a great upper body workout. Each cage weighed around 300 pounds and there were 300 cages for him to maintain, which took up a lot of his time.
"It keeps you in shape," said native Islander. "You're throwing around 300-pound collectors around all day, so you get your upper body strength going for sure. The time passes quickly, so it's a win-win situation."
Another great part of Anderson's job was the fact that, as a seafood lover, he could eat all the oysters he wanted -- if the starfish didn't eat them first. The main reason they'd bring the cages to the surface was to flip them over and have the sun kill the starfish before they ruined their haul.
"They eat oysters and mussels," said Anderson of the starfish. "I never knew that."
Brendan Ranford (Kamloops Blazers)
Bakery assistant, Cloud 9 Specialty Bakery - New Westminster, B.C.:
During the Western Hockey League season, when it comes to leading the offence, Kamloops Blazers forward Brendan Ranford is always in the mix. The same is true in the off-season where he's been working part-time at Cloud 9 Specialty Bakery -- which specializes in gluten-free goodies. The Edmonton, Alta., native is currently in B.C. playing Jr. A lacrosse for the New Westminster Salmonbellies. The team's assistant GM, Ray Porcellato, owns the bakery and helped Ranford get the job.
"Most of the time I'm mixing flour," said Ranford, who was among the Blazers top scorers last year. "It's all gluten-free food, things like scones and muffins. It's kind of interesting how it all works."
The winger says the most difficult thing about his job is probably the amount of flour that he's covered with after a day in the kitchen mixing.
"Just getting really dirty from the flour," said Ranford of the mess. "Everything is white, but that's all part of the job. Coming home, getting changed and actually cleaning off it takes a while. It's crazy."
The 21-year-old says the nice thing about his job is that the hours are flexible enough to work around his lacrosse and workout schedule. Given that he's working in a bakery, you'd think that might add a few extra calories to burn off, but Ranford says he's pretty good at watching what he eats.
"I try to stay away from it for the most part," said Ranford of the sweet treats. "I'll treat myself once a week or once every two weeks. It's hard, but it's not that hard because I try and eat as healthy as I can."
If you happen to be in the area, Ranford recommends the chocolate with peanut butter cookies: "Oh, it's very good. That's the one I would suggest."
Hockey is still at the forefront for the overager, but he admits the relaxed atmosphere at the bakery makes it a nice place to spend the summer working.
"I love it," said Ranford. "It's a lot of fun and I work for good people. Making a little extra money for gas is always great too."
Brett Foy (Mississauga Steelheads)
Greenhouse worker, - Fonthill, Ont:
A hard worker for the OHL's Steelheads on the ice, Brett Foy works even harder in the summer where he's employed by a local greenhouse. His duties differed, everything from watering plants and cleaning geraniums to building stands for large, temporary garden centres. Since his job was short-term, only for a couple months, Foy worked seven days a week while there was still work.
"At the busiest point, when we're building the stands and filling them, I'd work from like seven in the morning until 1o at night," said Foy. "It's really hard work, you're lifting stuff all day. I enjoyed it, but it's hard work.
"There would be no break -- it was seven days a week and long hours."
The 6-foot, 200-pound centre said the job was very labour intensive which made for a good workout when he wasn't able to get to the gym. As you can imagine, working in a greenhouse during the summer could at times become a literal sweat shop.
"Outside was hot, but inside was even hotter," said Foy of his second summer working the job. "It was maybe 10 or 15 degrees hotter than it would be outside."
A friend of Foy's family owns the greenhouse and he was able to work with one of his friends, so despite the grueling work, the Niagara Falls native says his job was fun. He admits the worst thing was definitely being at the mercy of the weather since they would have to work regardless.
"The work doesn't stop outside if it rains," said Foy. "You'd be trudging through mud. One day we worked in snow. It was crazy."
In addition to developing a green thumb, Foy says his summer job has given him a greater appreciation for how good hockey players have it - especially being able to do something they love.
"When you slave over minimum wage for a whole summer to make what an NHLer makes in a week, it definitely motivates you," said Foy. "It puts it in perspective."