NHL veterans Dustin Byfuglien, who grew up in Roseau, and Matt Hendricks, the former Blaine star who played for St. Cloud State, had the day off after the Winnipeg Jets played in Edmonton on Monday.
They went fishing in British Columbia.Both players, who are sidelined by injuries, took a day trip with a luxury fishing company called Sturgeon Slayers (Two anglers, professional guide, eight hours for $849 Canadian, if you're curious.)
According to a Canadian website: "Byfuglien and Hendricks caught a massive fish, which is fitting considering Byfuglien is one of the biggest players in the NHL. It's illegal to keep sturgeon after they've been caught since they're registered as a threatened, protected species. They're nicknamed dinosaurs as they've survived two ice ages and have been around for over 65 million years, with some being measured at 12 feet and over 1,000 pounds with a life expectancy around 200 years."
The fish, estimated by Sturgeon Slayers to be 9 feet, 9 inches long from its nose to the fork in its tail and about 600 pounds, was caught on the Fraser River, which extends for about 870 miles through the Canadian Rockies and empties into the Pacific Ocean near Vancouver, where the Jets played Thursday night.
Some Winnipeg fans sounded less than thrilled to see Byfuglien on the river, and questioned whether the big forward — who has a tendency to rile up Wild fans, among others — is really injured.
Hockey writer Jason Bell of the Winnipeg Free Press wrote: "Many in the Twitter world are taking issue with the club's most recognizable star — always a catalyst for consternation among Jets fans — wearing hip waders and posing with what appears in photos to be about a more than two-meter-long, prehistoric-looking sturgeon. They say it's evidence Byfuglien was parked in the press box due to his performance in Winnipeg's first two defeats rather than his health."
Jets coach Paul Maurice dismissed such thoughts, telling Bell that Byfuglien has a soft-tissue injure.
"Just a little bit jealous, but no issue at all," the coach said.