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October 9, 2004 - Lockout gives Fedoruk chance to ponder his future

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Lockout gives Fedoruk chance to ponder his future

MEDFORD, N.J. - Back in his tiny native town of Redwater, Alberta, Todd Fedoruk was simply the best at whatever sport he tried.

But when his high school class graduated and friends made plans for college, Fedoruk was already busy playing junior hockey with dreams of an NHL career.

Seven years later, he's reached that goal. The 25-year-old left wing has 220 games under his belt with the Flyers.

His swashbuckling style, readiness to drop the gloves and big, toothless grin combine to make him one of the most popular figures in the Philadelphia locker room.

Yet under that rugged exterior beats the heart of a kid who wonders what if ... he had gone to college and pursued a regular career like many of his Canadian classmates?

Hence, Fedoruk's interest in taking some college courses during what could be a very long NHL lockout.

He hasn't picked out a school, or a major, but just the fact that he's pondering such a move shows that he wants to do more than sit around the house and watch the tube during the hockey-less winter months.

"I really haven't thought about post-career, so I'm not sure what courses I would take,'' he said. "But you can take classes in things like contract/construction work and some of them you can take at home.''

Fedoruk has even thought about being a school teacher once his hockey career is over. That would be a classroom with very few discipline problems.

"I might even start my own business someday,'' he said. "You don't think about that much when you're playing. When the season is going and you're playing, that's all you're supposed to concentrate on. The future will take care of itself.''

Keith Primeau actually did take a college course during the '94 work stoppage and says it's a worthwhile endeavor.

"That's a wonderful choice,'' he said. "As a young player, it's important that he try and look at other options.''

Staying busy is the best way to stay upbeat. Especially when prospects for a settlement look so bleak.

"Doubt starts to creep in and you start thinking about long-term effect,'' Fedoruk said. "You want to stay positive and hope it's going to start again. But then negativity starts coming in, and you start thinking it could go a whole season.

"You just don't know and that's the hardest part - you just don't know what's going to happen.''

When anxiety gets high, Fedoruk seeks advice from veterans like Primeau. Fedoruk is too young to have experienced the lockout of '94, so this is new territory for him.

"These guys have been through it before. Just from talking with guys like Keith and Johnny (LeClair), they seem a little calmer about it. They just keep you positive. They say, 'Don't worry, you'll get through this.' ''

Fedoruk is taking part in informal workouts twice a week at a rink in Medford. Turnout has been light so far, but he expects the numbers to increase as the weeks go by.

"The longer it goes, the more we'll come together as a team,'' he said. "Right now, everyone sees the season not starting, they're putting the workouts on the backburner, they're extending vacations.

"There's no pressure. But you have to stay in shape. It could end at any time. The longer it goes, the more guys you will see out here.''

The list of Flyers playing alternative hockey continues to grow. Donald Brashear is playing for a makeshift league in Quebec and Branko Radivojevic is playing for a team in Slovakia.