If you follow professional hockey, and particularly the NHL, then you almost certainly know who Darren McCarty is. While he’s retired now, during his prime, he was a fearsome enforcer for the Detroit Red Wings; he’s played for other teams, of course, but his stint with the Red Wings is far and away his best-known period of professional play. Today, we want to celebrate the life and career of Darren McCarty, so without further ado, let’s take a look at 9 fun facts you might not have known about this much-celebrated player.

1. He’s won the Stanley Cup four times

As an enforcer for the Red Wings, McCarty has taken his team to Stanley Cup victory four times over the course of his career: once in 1997, once in 1998, again in 2002, and then finally in 2008, one year before he retired from the sport (on a playing basis, of course). Speaking to Betway, McCarty attributes his 1997 success to “the appreciation” he felt from his teammates, and his 2002 win to a routine he implemented, which he says isn’t superstition but was useful nonetheless. Take note, hopefuls!

2. He grew up in Leamington, Ontario

Like many celebrated professional hockey players, McCarty is Canadian. He spent most of his childhood in Leamington in the province of Ontario. Leamington is not a very big town; at the time of writing, its population stood at just 28,000, so for McCarty to manage to make it big out of a town with such a small population is pretty impressive. He spent time playing for Southpoint Capitals minor teams before graduating to professional play in 1989, and the rest is history.

3. His 1997 Stanley Cup-winning goal is iconic

Even if you only follow hockey on a semi-regular basis, you’ve almost certainly heard of the Stanley Cup-winning goal that pushed McCarty and the Red Wings to victory in 1997. It was a remarkable achievement for McCarty; he managed to reach the standards of Yzerman, Fedorov, and any other legendary goalscorer with his performance that night. Unfortunately, it does mean that newbie defender Janne Niinimaa has gone down in history as the person who failed to stop McCarty’s victory.

4. He hosts a hockey podcast

Grind Time with Darren McCarty is the name of McCarty’s hockey-themed podcast. There hasn’t been a new episode in quite a while, which is a shame, because McCarty’s full and frank discussion of all things hockey was satisfying and refreshing to listen to. He also touched on other subjects, including his sobriety, current affairs, the music he listens to, and much more. You can still access the back episodes of this podcast, so if you like McCarty, you’ve got a lot to look forward to!

5. He has a cancer research foundation

Unfortunately, just two years before his iconic Stanley Cup-winning goal of 1997, McCarty’s father was diagnosed with myeloma, which is a cancer of the bone marrow that sadly can’t be cured. In response to this tragic diagnosis, McCarty set up the McCarty Cancer Foundation, which aims to fund research into multiple myeloma to help sufferers of the disease. Here’s hoping that McCarty and his foundation manage to fund some serious research into a cure.

6. He was part of a massage scam

Okay, so technically, McCarty himself wasn’t actually part of this scam. However, his name was being used, so we’re counting it as a fact in his favour (or, rather, that pertains to him, at least). McCarty was once the subject of a piece of investigative journalism on the part of Fox’s Rob Wolchek in order to investigate a Detroit massage parlour that was claiming a connection to McCarty. Of course, the connection was bogus, but the parlour managed to dine out on it for quite some time!

7. He fronts a rock band

There’s seemingly no end to Darren McCarty’s talents. He’s actually the frontman of a rock band called “Grinder” (which now seems like a slightly inappropriate name for his band to have), and he used to play with said band during the off-season when no hockey games were being played. Naturally, Grinder has been inactive for some time; unfortunately, one of its members fell ill with cardiomyopathy and passed away, so there’s no telling where the band will go after this.

8. His first and current wives have essentially the same name

This is a rather unusual fact, but it’s true nonetheless. Darren McCarty’s first wife’s name is Cheryl, and he has four children with her. His current wife, who he married around the same time he managed to get himself sober, is also named Sheryl, but as you can see, the spelling is slightly different. We wonder how many other people there are out there who have married two individuals with the same name (albeit with a slightly altered spelling)!

9. He’s an advocate for medical marijuana

After departing the professional hockey world (although he’s still very much connected to it, of course), McCarty chose a different and rather unusual career path for himself: he became a marijuana entrepreneur. In many places in the USA, marijuana is legal, and McCarty is positioning himself as a businessman in this sphere. Since he got sober, he’s advocated for medical marijuana as a successful way to treat certain conditions and alleviate pain, so this move makes sense.

These are just some of our favourite facts about hockey legend Darren McCarty! We’re sure there are more out there, and that he’ll make more history so we can add to this list in future, too.