In person, former NHL great Pierre Turgeon is as calm and cool as he was on the ice over what I consider to be 19-year Hall of Fame worthy career. The other guys in sports scoffed at the notion, suggesting Turgeon will be remembered more for the hit he took from the Washington Capitals Dale Hunter in the 1993 eastern semifinals as opposed to the 1,327 points he produced and class he brought to the game. I had the chance to meet Turgeon on his Scotiabank NHL Alumni Skills stop in St. Johns last week (no word on whether he fared any better getting clear of the rain, drizzle and fog than the hundreds of stranded Juno-ites). The guts of the story we ran was mostly about his time in Montreal and the pressures that came with being a Hab, but we spoke about a great deal more than that in our 40 minutes together (thanks to the St. Johns Caps minor association and the peewee players for allowing me a few more minutes.) For instance, turns out Turgeon and wife Elisabeth have established a little athletic brood of their own. The youngest, 12-year-old daughter Valerie (probably not named after Dads Montreal and Dallas teammate Valeri Bure) plays both hockey and soccer, while 14-year-old Dominic is a team leader on his Colorado Amateur Hockey Association peewee squad coached by dear old Dad. Twin daughters Elizabeth and Alexandra, 18, are set to graduate this spring and both are off to play NCAA Division 1 sports next year. Alexandra will stay close to home, committed to the University of Denvers womens volleyball program. Elizabeth, like her father, is a hockey player, and a rather good one at that. The teen was part of the 2008 Team U.S.A. world under-18 championship squad and has attended four USA hockey national camps. Next fall she and Paradise native Sarah Davis will be Gophers as both have committed to the University of Minnesota. Small world, eh? So if you wonder what hes been doing to keep himself busy since retiring in 2007, ask his kids. Im busier now with the kids than I was when I was splaying. Theres a lot of travelling, with four children, theres something going on every night. But Turgeon insists he never pushed his kids to become elite athletes, no more than his own parents did. They supported me, Turgeon said. Coming out of a game my dad always asked me one question, did you have fun. So its no surprise that Turgeon, today, doesnt think it wise for kids and parents be so driven for success that they focus all their efforts into one sport. Turgeon himself was a hockey player in the winter, but played baseball as a youth, even going so far as to represent Canada at the 1982 Little League World Series. If your mom and dad are telling you youve got to go out there and play, play, play and you dont feel like, theres a problem. Youve got to have a break somewhere. Having a month of doing some different sport, it could be baseball, soccer or just going up to the lake. TURGEON TIDBITS
Turgeon was drafted 1st overall in the 1987 NHL Entry draft. Some Hall of Fame bound NHLers to be drafted after him include Joe Sackic (15th, Quebec Nordiques) and Brendan Shanahan (2nd, New Jersey)
Became the 34th player to score 500-career goals on Nov. 8, 2005
Participated in four NHL All-star games (1990, 93, 94, 96) and won the Lady Byng trophy in 1993.
Older brother Sylvain Turgeon had a 12-year NHL career. Though despite playing in the league at the same time for eight seasons, they were never teammates. However, both were Montreal Canadiens during their careers.
Turgeon was the last Montreal Canadiens captain at the old Montreal Forum.