American Parise living the Canadian dream

Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:03pm EST
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By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - Zach Parise is an American hockey star living the Canadian dream.

A hockey loving kid, who grew up learning the game on outdoor rinks and ponds, Parise was driving a Zamboni, cleaning the slick and shiny ice at the local arena before he was old enough to drive a car.

The son of a famous hockey-playing father J.P. Parise, who was a member of the fabled Canadian team that faced off against the mighty Soviet Union in the 1972 Summit Series that is celebrated as the most important moment in the nation's sporting history, the young Parise was living every Canadian kid's fairytale.

Except for one thing. He's American.

Parise's hockey pedigree may be Canadian but his passport, citizenship and loyalties all lie south of the 49th parallel that divides Canada and the United States.

Next month the hard-working Minnesota Wild winger will wear the stars and stripes at the Sochi Olympics, just as he did four years earlier at the Vancouver Winter Games where the U.S. lost the gold medal match in overtime to Canada.

"I don't think we knew what we were capable of accomplishing (in Vancouver)," reflected Parise. "We found some good goaltending and the next thing you know we are in the gold medal game and just the experience being in Canada, that game, the excitement.

"We just thought in our minds we had a chance to win a gold.   Continued...

Dec 17, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise (11) celebrates his goal with teammates during the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at Xcel Energy Center. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports