Was that Brooks Laich casting lines at the GoPro Mountain Games? | VailDaily.com

Was that Brooks Laich casting lines at the GoPro Mountain Games?

Former NHL player competes at GoPro Mountain Games

Brooks Laich, left, casting a line at the GoPro Mountain Games on Saturday.
Sean Naylor, Vail Daily

Yeah, it sure was.

The NHL star center who played for the Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators made an appearance on Saturday afternoon at the GoPro Mountain Games to cast some lines before the 2 Fly X-Stream Casting Competition.

How did he match up against a pro?

You can probably imagine how this goes.

After a few commendable casts, at the targets, with some merit but mostly to the crowd’s amusement, Laich challenged Audrey Wilson, who was competing in the women’s semifinals to follow.

“I just want to see you hit that target,” Laich said as he pointed toward a hoop target hanging from under the International Bridge in Vail, the farthest away of all the targets.

Wilson hit the target, and a few others.

Morale booster

One can argue there’s an extra bump of morale to be won from ousting an NHL star in any side competition.

Regardless, Wilson was on fire Saturday. She proceeded to take first in the semifinals, with a commanding 7 target hits that overshadowed the 3 hits by her runner-up, Eagle resident and last year’s second place winner Amanda Hertzfeld.

Fish first, talk hockey later

Saturday was all about fishing for Laich.

The hockey talk between him and the announcer was brief. Though within that time, he did squeeze in a few nice words about the home team.

“You guys have a great hockey team,” Laich said of the Colorado Avalanche. “They’re doing it right in Denver.”

Now an unrestricted free agent, Laich’s future with the NHL is unknown. He chuckled when the announcer entertained the idea of coming to play for the Avs. But Laich didn’t seem concerned; he seemed to be in fishing mode.

“They can call me if they want,” he said.

On Sunday, Laich participated in Pepi’s Face-Off, a race up a steep ski run on Vail Mountain and back down — as many times possible in 30 minutes. He was competing with his dog, who got tired and required a few stops.

Laich was in Vail for the first time, he said, enjoying his time, and freedom, away from professional sports.