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Hockey draws Cubs' attention
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 2/22/2010 9:37 PM

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MESA, Ariz. - Talk around Cubs camp Monday morning was all about - hockey.

Sunday night's Olympic victory by the United States over Canada had a wide audience among Cubs players, and not just the Canadians.

"It's actually been fun because we have guys like Andrew Cashner who never watched a hockey game before," said Canadian Ryan Dempster, referring to a Cubs prospect who hails from Texas.

"I just had to bet one peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. Next thing you know, he's watching a hockey game. He said it was exciting, can't wait until the next one. I think that's pretty cool, too."

Dempster is from British Columbia, not far from the games in Vancouver.

"Being in my hometown, it was real exciting to watch and a lot of energy and I'm looking forward to the next one for sure," he said.

Although Dempster was cheering for the Canadians, he tipped his hat to the U.S. team.

Also from Canada are pitcher Vince Perkins and catcher Chris Robinson, who attended the University of Illinois. Outfielder Jim Adduci, who lives in south suburban Evergreen Park, was born in British Columbia and enjoys dual citizenship.

Robinson has played baseball for Team Canada in international competition, including the 2008 Olympics.

He described himself as a "backward Canadian."

"I played hockey to stay in shape for baseball, not the other way around," Robinson said.

As for Dempster, he guaranteed the Cubs winning the World Series in 2008. That didn't happen. So he said there were no guarantees this year about Team Canada in hockey.

"Me, guarantee something?" he asked. "No, no. I never guarantee anything I have no input in whatsoever. I just bet peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches on the game.

"That's all I do. Lot of peanut butter. Trying to figure out who wants crunchy and who wants smooth is going to be the tough part."