Cowboy Carey prepares for rodeo


From out in B.C., Carey Price is ropin’ calves and thinking about hockey.

Percy Hebert of The Quesnel (B.C.) Cariboo Observer found Price putting protective equipment on himself and his horse as he prepared to practice his roping for an appearance at the 45th Annual Quesnel Rodeo, which starts today. Hebert’s story has a photo of Price in the saddle, cowboy hat and all.

Price will be entered in the team roping contest and he’s a heeler, lassoing the calf around the heels after the header has thrown his rope around the calf’s head. “The satisfaction of pulling back on a pair [heels], that’s it for a heeler to see two feet in there [in the lasso],” Price told Hebert.

He also discussed his disappointment losing in the first round to the Bruins. “I sat and pouted for about three or four days,” Price confessed.

“Also part of the healing process for Price was to spend time with teammates that had become like brothers over the season, teammates that may not be back in Montreal next season,” Hebert wrote.

“That’s the worst thing about the end of the year,” Price said. “Some of those guys you might not ever play with again.”

And indeed, Price goalie partner Alex Auld, defencemen Roman Hamrlik and James Wisniewski and forwards Jeff Halpern and Benoit Pouliot won’t be back in Montreal next season, among others, while UFA defencemen Brent Sopel and Paul Mara are also unlikely to return.

Hebert also asked Price if he had a favorite save during his three years playing for the Habs and Price pointed to this one from Sept. 30, 2009, a  preseason game against the Red Wings.

“I batted the puck out behind my back,” he said. “I never even saw it [the puck] and wound up hitting it. It was pretty lucky.”

He also reminisced about his time with the Junior A BCHL Quesnel Millionaires, which will be relocating to Chilliwack for the upcoming season after 36 seasons in Quesnel. Price was only 15, much smaller than his current 6-foot-3 and the team’s third string goalie. “I remember sitting on the bench a lot,” he told Hebert with a grin. “But I did get to play in Williams Lake against the Timberwolves and I got a shutout.

“That was my only BCHL shutout, in Williams Lake and that was pretty fun.”

Price has been roping for three years and he revealed the hardest part was learning how to stay on the horse. “I think if you are going to rope it’s best if you learn how to ride first instead of trying to learn to rope and ride at the same time,” he said. “When you’re watching, it doesn’t look that hard. You see guys doing it over and over again, it seems repetitious and that makes it seem real easy. But once you pick up a rope, never mind throwing it, just trying to figure out how to build a loop is tough enough.”

There’s little chance Price will turn to professional rodeo when his NHL career ends. He got a late start and he only does it in the offseason. “I think I’m just too far behind, I’ll stick with roping recreationally.”

(A big thanks to Bruce Hollingdrake, editor-in-chief of The Hockey Writers for the link.)

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