PBX Pickleball, the league where former professional athletes play pickleball against each other, has captured four NHL legends in its latest round of recruiting.
Former Stanley Cup Winners
Former Stanley Cup winners Dave Bolland (Chicago Blackhawks; 2010 and 2013), Patrick Sharp (three-time champion with the Blackhawks in 2010, 2013, and 2015), Kris Draper (four-time winner with the Detroit Redwings in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008) and Freddy Modin (Tampa Bay Lightning; 2004) are just some of the big names aligning with PBX.
Also joining the roster is Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, who will play in this year’s PBX Tour, PBX Pro-Ams, PBX Dream Weekends, and PBX Corporate Events.
Picking Up Paddles, Not Sticks
PBX Pickleball, co-founded by former Philadelphia Flyer Paul Holmgren, is leveraging the NHL Alumni Association to entice retired NHL players into the world of pickleball. Holmgren persuades these players to pick up paddles instead of sticks and gets them engaged in a new sporting journey.
As he says, “PBX Pickleball offers an opportunity for amateur pickleball players of all levels to compete right alongside some of the best players and personalities from hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and more.
“Pickleball is a fantastic game, and we’ll have the opportunity to reignite that locker room camaraderie we all loved in hockey or the other sports and bring it to the pickleball court. I know Bolland, Draper, and Sharp also love the sport and will go out there to win and have fun.”
Pickleball Comparing Well With Golf
Dave Bolland, a 10-year veteran with the Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Florida Panthers, says the sport compares well with his other major pastime, golf.
“I’m a golfer, but at all of our golf courses, we have pickleball courts now – they’re putting them in everywhere.
“Pickleball is a fun game and a game you can stay active with and busy as you get old. I’ve played golf, but pickleball is a great rising game that keeps getting bigger.”
An Exciting Line-Up
The PBX Tour is set to showcase an exciting lineup of retired professional athletes from various sports. Among them are former NHL players, three-time MLB all-star Kevin Youkilis, four-time World Series champion Tino Martínez, two-time MLB all-star Brad Penny, and 18-year MLB veteran Kent Mercker.
NFL Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion Golden Tate will also bring his talents to the pickleball court.
These accomplished athletes, alongside experienced pickleball players attending the events, are sure to elevate the contests far beyond any casual match.
An Exceptional Display Of Skill
The PBX Tour promises to be an exceptional display of skill, athleticism, and competition that will captivate sports fans everywhere it goes.
Bolland continues, “Once we get going, given our pedigrees, I think it will get competitive. I don’t think anyone will take it lightly. I’m sure I’ll get beat, that will happen, but it happens with every sport.
“The competitive side will come out, though, and I’ll just keep playing until I can beat them.”
An Illustrious Career
Bolland’s illustrious career has been marked by numerous victories, proudly hoisting the Stanley Cup twice as a key player for the Chicago Blackhawks. Prior to his NHL success, he also secured a Memorial Cup title during his time with the OHL’s London Knights. He earned a World Junior Championship gold medal while representing Team Canada.
Having bid farewell to the NHL during the 2015-16 season, Bolland took some time away from competitive sports. However, the prospect of returning to the sporting world and engaging with fans has ignited a newfound excitement within him.
“You kind of miss that interaction with fans in retirement. Being in Chicago, the fans were awesome, going out doing autograph signings and appearances. I used to have a blast doing them, and getting back to it will be fun.”
PBX Pickleball, established in 2023, aims to unite retired professional athletes and unite them with amateur pickleball players and fans. This unique league offers a platform for former sports icons to showcase their skills on the pickleball court and interact with enthusiastic fans.
If you wish to learn more about the league, you can find additional information at pbxpickleball.com.
Read our other great articles about PBX Pickleball by clicking here.
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