Sunday, September 16, 2007

Still in the Game: Zarley Zalapski

I've always liked reading "whatever happened to" tales of former NHL players. You remember them frozen in time during whatever seasons they played for or against a team you followed. You may have hurled abuse at them or admired their style of play. And then one day they're gone.

When you hear of a former NHLer still playing in some obscure outpost years after he last laced them up for a team in the world's premier league, there will always be a few comments laced with pity. "He sure has fallen," "doesn't know when to hang 'em up..." etc. I've always taken the opposite view. I find it great that someone who loves the game so much is still playing all these years later. So what if he didn't strike it rich during his NHL days? Who cares if he has nothing else to fall back on?

I was reading this thread over at about Zalapski and noticed that he is playing in a small city in Switzerland called Chur. Years ago I worked for a few seasons at a ski resort near Chur and passed through the place a number of times, headed in when I had a few free days, once bought a guitar from a shop run by some local legend and in my only hockey-related memory, saw the Swiss national team play Slovenia in a medium sized barn rammed full of 3, 000 delirious fans. Can't even remember who won the game but it was a great experience.

Doesn't look like Zalapski plays much with the team. Perhaps he is with them in some other capacity as well. Must have at least some time to hit the ski slopes.

(originally appeared at

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