Marc Savard is a Stanley Cup champion, who five times during his NHL career, scored 20 or more goals in a season. But concussions have robbed him of the sport he loves forcing him to find a new passion.
And he hopes to find it in golf.
Savard has not played an NHL game since January 2011, when he suffered his second major concussion.
“After my big one it was a tough first three months. It was a lot of black rooms. I’ve gotten better from that. I still have my days with a headache and being tired, but besides that, I feel pretty good,” said Savard.
Savard manages to play golf at least three times a week, getting good enough to receive sponsors’ exemption into his first PGA Tour Canada event- The Players Cup in Winnipeg.
That has made for a week of new experiences.
“I don’t usually walk when I play. I’ve been walking a lot, so that’s something that’s been a little bit tiring. Probably get into bed right after I play a lot of nights. But I’m really enjoying it. I’ve had a lot of fun so far,” he said.
Though he speaks of the NHL as something from the distant past, Savard is not officially retired from the NHL.
He still collected his reported $5-million salary this past season while on long-term injured reserve. He meets with Bruins team doctors once a month during the season, but continues to hear he’s not ready for the body contact that comes with being an NHL player.
Savard has already won a pair of city/district golf titles in his hometown of Peterborough, Ont. Somehow he has found enough time to practice while juggling family life with two boys in triple-A hockey, a daughter in dance and a newborn.
“It’s pretty busy in the winters, but the summers aren’t bad,” said Savard. “I’ve got a great wife and she lets me play and it’s something that she’s great with.”
After shooting 9-over par on day one, Savard knew his tournament would end after Friday’s round, but is comfortable with the result.
“It’s a learning experience. It’s something that I enjoy. Hopefully if I can take it seriously enough, maybe get a teacher or something I can take another step,” he said.
Savard is hoping having been an elite athlete in the NHL, one day he can do the same in golf.