Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Mike Commodore, the Fort Saskatchewan, AB, native, was drafted 42nd overall to the New Jersey Devils in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. By then, he had two seasons in at North Dakota, tallying up 5 goals, 8 assists and 228 penalty minutes for the Sioux. He turned pro after helping the Sioux win the 2000 NCAA Frozen Four, defeating Boston College 4-2.
“We won a national title my last year, that was probably real similar to winning the Stanley Cup; not as big but real similar. I just had a great time at the University. The three years I spent there was the time of my life. I had a really good time in Grand Forks and had a good time with the people I met there.”
Commodore won the Stanley Cup in 2006 while setting a fashion statement of sorts at the same time. The crowd in red afro wigs and white bathrobes seemed to be more of a sight for a spa rather than a hockey rink in Raleigh, North Carolina, but that is exactly what you would’ve seen if you were in attendance for the Stanley Cup finals at RBC Center. Commodore, the 6’4” defenseman now with Columbus was just as notorious on the ice while suited with the Sioux.
“I thought it may be popular because of my time at UND, it was pretty popular with the students there. I figured the opportunity may be there, but I didn’t think it would take off like that.”
Asked if he would consider bringing back the post-season garb; “I don’t know about the robe, I don’t know what I will do with that. The hair for sure and the crocs for sure; I still have the same pair. I’ll think of something. I try to think of something new each year.”
As all young players grow up, they have the idols they look up to. It’s the point in time in their career when they begin to play with those idols that things sink in. “My first games were with the New Jersey Devils and I was playing with Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer; there some Hall of Famers in that group. For the first little while you are a little star-stuck your first trip around the league. But once the game starts, you have to get over it because they’re not going to take it easy on you because you’re new. It’s a dream to be able to compete and stand among them, but you can’t be star-stricken for too long.”
Commodore is likely to be the one recognized now by the younger players and fans for his creative antics. A stand-up guy now with his 5th professional team, Commodore takes pride in his time at UND as well as his time in the league. Like in college, he sticks to the same routine before a game, and takes the mentality of a top-defenseman to the ice. In his first year of a three-year deal with Columbus, we can hope to see more of the Commodore play-off garb in the future.
Photo courtesy NHL.com