I had a chance to catch up with some of the Philadelphia Flyers at Philadelphia Style Magazine party for the Nicole Miller cover. (Nicole Miller arrived on a motorcycle.) Team captain Chris Pronger and players Matt Carle, Wayne Simmonds, and Max Talbot were there.
After longtime Flyers executive Fred Shabel told me to go over, I talked to defenseman Matt Carle. He is one of the nicest professional athletes that I ever met and I have met many. He deserves a gold star for patiently answering my questions.
Carle is originally from Anchorage, Alaska. No, he does not know Sarah Palin, which he says is the first question that everyone asks him when they find out where he is from. As you cam imagine, he spent his entire childhood on skates because "what else is there to do in Alaska."
He now lives in South Jersey with his wife of one year and two dogs. He likes South Jersey because "it is near the stadium and close enough to come into town for dinner." His wife was not with him, but she is a lucky woman. Carle did not look at another woman all night. (The same can't be said for the single Max Talbot, who was busy collecting the phone numbers of beautiful women all night.)
Carle laughed when I asked him if he had all his teeth. (I had just come from the dentist.) "Knock on wood. I have come close to losing them a couple of time," said Carle. He pointed to Talbot and said "he has lost some of his."
I asked Carle how he felt about being traded to the Flyers. "When I was traded, it was bittersweet," he explained. "On one hand, I was rejected by my old team, but on the other hand, I was coming to the Flyers, which was number 2 in the league."
I expected Carle to regurgitate the standard player's feeling about management when we talked about Flyers Owner Ed Snider. Instead he delivered heartfelt platitudes. "Ed Snider really cares about his team and esprit de corps. Other team owners may talk about it, but he really follows through. He holds a poker night and golf tournament each year for players and their wives or girlfriends."
Carle studied real estate for three years at the University of Denver. He intends to pursue that as a career when he retires from hockey, which is hopefully a long way off. While I am usually skeptical of the off rink business careers of pro athletes, Carle may be the exception. He is exceptionally articulate and sagacious.
I did not get to chat much with the very sweet Wayne Simmonds because he was shy and reserved. Much to my surprise, the entire team could teach Charlie Sheen a thing or two about proper behavior.