NHL hockey is tucked away into its bubbles and re-starting the season. The bubble system seems to be leaving players with some extra time on their hands, though. Toronto Maple Leaf’s Mitchell Marner is trying his hand as General Manager to pass the time.
The Ontario player drafted his fantasy hockey team Thursday, and its heavy on the Can-con. With Emilly Batty joining The Claw and Finn Iles, mountain bikers make up fully half of the line-up.
— Red Bull Canada (@RedBullCanada) July 30, 2020
Marner’s mountain bike-heavy Fantasy Hockey team
Freeride pioneer Darren “The Claw” Berrecloth is the first rider on the roster. The tough Vancouver Islander definitely knows how to take a hit, and will probably have to with this line-up.
Marner’s relying on The Claw to step in when Emily Batty, known for “getting in tough fights,” needs some backup. While the Brooklyn, Ont. World Cup racer is more than fine fending for herself on the cross country circuit, a teammate willing to drop the gloves is a good thing to have on the ice.
Last, but definitely not least, is World Cup downhill racer Finn Iles on defense. Iles grew up playing hockey so, while Marner lists his “youthful overconfidence” as a weakness, it’s not too likely he’ll will get caught out too far up the ice.
Marner’s probably not worried about the Whistler racer, either. He and Iles already had a shootout showdown back in 2018.
Pro snowboarder siblings Craig and Mark McMorris from Saskatchewan and surfer Mathea Olin round out Marner’s fantasy team.
Marner’s roster draws heavily, or exclusively, from Red Bull Canada’s list of sponsored athletes. But Batty, Iles and The Claw are not the only Canuck mountain bikers that would be comfortable lacing up. In fact, there’s easily enough riders with a hockey background to make a full team to play against Marner’s roster.
Geoff Kabush is notoriously a huge hockey fan. When he raced with Scott 3-Rocks, the team even used to travel with sticks and a net to play street hockey in the race pit areas.
Before she podiumed at World Cup XCO races, Haley Smith grew up playing hockey. It’s a background she still sometimes credits for her explosive power off the start and in short track races.
Who knows. If the rest of the World Cup season gets cancelled, maybe we could see a Canadian national mountain bike team hockey tournament! Who would you put on your mountain biker fantasy hockey team?
The next question is, of course, will Marner meet Iles in Whistler for bike park laps when the Leafs release him from the bubble?