Mitch Marner is usually bouncing off the walls.
Whether it’s between practice drills, during warmups before a game or in the locker room, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ star winger is more often than not a ball of unbridled, happy-go-lucky energy.
That makes the NHL’s shutdown and this unprecedented era of self-isolation and physical distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic even tougher.
“It definitely sucks,” Marner said on a conference call Tuesday. “You miss going to the rink, you miss seeing the guys, you miss hanging around with them and just joking around.
“But there’s a lot bigger things going on in the world right now than going to the rink and playing hockey.”
With the next important caveat though, Marner decided to do something productive with their spare time.
He recently posted a message on Instagram support Kids Help Phone and announced this week its Marner charity Help Fund will work with organizations dealing with front-line workers for the new coronavirus outbreak.
“It starts first by donating food to families in need,” said Marner. “I tried to donate money to get as much food as we can for the families in need. Now we are trying to get a lot of money to try and give back to all the workers still work [as] police officers, firefighters, service delivery, kind service … just in any possible way we can help them the right tools to remain healthy in the front lines and do their job as best as possible. ”
Marner, who admitted to sleeping later than usual and wear pajamas around the house, also has had a chance to look back up-and-down 2019-20 season began with a six-year, $ 65.358 million US contract he signed in training camp.
The campaign comes down to so-so start well for himself and the team, but he felt good about his game when the NHL to stop the process of widening 12 Mar crisis that killed thousands around the world and bring a screeching halt collective economy.
“A coin flip to see how we’re going to play, I think that there is something in which I take a lot of responsibility,” said Marner. “[I’m] trying to be a leader and strive to be a person that goes on every night and try to get our team ready to play.
“That’s not something we want to know or want to continue, especially if the season is not coming back. That’s something our team knew we had to improve. Through this break, we can get a bit reset and back will be and realize that our team can.”
Marner registered 16 goals and 67 points in 59 games for Toronto, who sit third in the Atlantic Division in the interval, after missing nearly a month with a high ankle sprain suffered 9 Nov
“I feel good,” he said. “The thing about our team is that every time we have our backs against the wall against a very good team, we showed that we are a team that we can. It’s just something we need more of.
“For now, it’s just trying to get my mind back on again and try and get ready to go.”
‘Whatever it takes’
Marner will support the hockey summer if it means finishing the season, but stressed the need to be done right.
“Whatever it takes to get this to happen, I think everyone is willing to do it,” he said. “The main thing is to make sure that nothing happens, that everyone will be healthy and everyone will stay healthy.”
In addition to working out and hitting golf balls into a net in his backyard, Marner and his girlfriend had been preoccupied by their Chocolate Lab 11-month-old named Zeus.
Just like the players, the puppy has a lot of energy.
“He let us sleep in a little this last few days,” said Marner. “But he’s laboratory, so he loves the water, he loves anything to do with the ball or chase retrieving things.”
And like large segments of society, Marner is also doing his best to stay in touch with friends and family with the technology at his disposal.
“I’m probably FaceTiming probably six or seven guys a day, Zoom calling every weekend,” he said. “We just sit around and shoot the crap about what’s been going on and how they’re doing.
“Just acting like we’re with each other, but we’re not.”
Just like the rest of us.
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