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Former NHLer Darren McCarty carving out career as pro wrestler

Darren McCarty, once a top NHL enforcer and four-time Stanley Cup champion, has taken his skills into the wrestling ring in retirement. (Getty Images)
Darren McCarty, once a top NHL enforcer and four-time Stanley Cup champion, has taken his skills into the wrestling ring in retirement. (Getty Images)

During his golden days in the NHL, Darren McCarty made his opponents bleed buckets on the ice, and he has continued that trend into retirement, but in a different kind of arena.

The former Detroit Red Wings enforcer has stepped into the wrestling ring at the age of 50 years old, marking one of the most unique post-career moves of any pro hockey player. While the majority of grey-haired former NHLers enjoy the extra time to golf or podcast, McCarty still has the urge to engage in some form of battle.

Most recently, he was named to the card of the Detroit show of Los Angeles-based promotion Circle 6.

McCarty will be partnering with a team that calls themselves “Midwest Scum,” as they face The Premier on the other end of the ring. This is not some local backyard wrestling company either. On the very same July 22 card, Josh Alexander of Impact Wrestling, and the Impact World Champion – a belt that has at least some gravitas in the wrestling world – is set to step in the ring as well.

Of course, McCarty wouldn’t be jumping in blind to have a big-time match. Over the last 12 months, he has been warming up his in-ring presence. In May 2021, the Red Wings great made his wrestling debut, and dealt a convincing-enough stunner to his opponent.

And, of course, with the violent streak in him that was evident during his playing days, he has also been featured in some brutal deathmatches – an underground style of wrestling that features household objects being used remorselessly.

Even some of his matches are too uncomfortable to feature, so viewer discretion is advised. Spoiler: A hockey skate is used as a weapon.

McCarty’s endeavours into the professional wrestling world are still completely wholesome. By briefly viewing his Twitter timeline and his likes, he is deeply embedded into the independent wrestling scene and has embraced the underground art of it all.

His name has even popped up on a sign during WWE’s Monday Night Raw.

“Roman fears McCarty” might be right because WWE superstar Roman Reigns has certainly never had to beat someone to a pulp while on skates.

The Burnaby, British Columbia native appeared in 758 career NHL games, scoring 127 goals and registering 161 assists for 287 points. He won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008 before hanging up his skates the following offseason.

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