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Former Wild winger Parrish can’t stay away from the arena

  1. LOUIS — There was a time not too long ago when former Wild winger Mark Parrish thought he’d be able to sail off into the sunset and enjoy retirement without a care in the world.

As it turns out, he isn’t wired that way.

“I thought I was going to be able to be one of those guys that just sits around and does nothing all day,” said Parrish, 41. “That got old extremely fast. I just didn’t realize it at first.”

Since retiring as a player in 2012, Parrish has struggled to sit still. He has dabbled in different realms, from serving as the color analyst for his alma mater St. Cloud State to helping coach the boys hockey team at Orono High School to a Class A state championship. He also did work with the New York Islanders’ broadcasts last season, which helped set him up for his newest endeavor as a studio analyst on the NHL Network.

Although it’s not a full-time gig, Parrish will join the NHL Network on Monday and Tuesday, making his debut on “NHL Tonight” alongside Tony Luftman and Kevin Weekes and “On the Fly” with Jamie Hersch.

“I’m giddy about it,” Parrish said. “I watch the show pretty much every day. I’ve always been a big fan of it. I never actually thought I’d have an opportunity to work with the NHL Network. It’s still kind of a shock to me a little bit. I figured I’d be that local guy, so getting this big of an opportunity I’m kind of flabbergasted, to be honest.”

With the NHL Network headquarters located in Secaucus, N.J., the plan as of now is for Parrish to fly in on Monday morning and fly out on Wednesday morning.

“It’ll be a really quick trip,” Parrish said. “’I’ll probably get there and try to take a little nap. I don’t want to look too exhausted when I get on TV.”

Looking back, Parrish says it was silly to think he could be satisfied without the sport he holds near and dear.

He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the third round of the 1996 NHL draft and played for the Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Wild (2006-2008), Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning  and Buffalo Sabres. He was also a member of the U.S. team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

“It’s been a part of my life forever, so I don’t really know any other way,” Parrish said. “To completely take myself away from the game, I really started to miss it. You almost go through a mourning process. Luckily enough, I had some people talk me into getting back into it, and I was able to get involved. Just being away from the game for a little bit, I learned very quickly that I don’t ever want to be away from it again.”

As for what’s next, Parrish hopes his NHL Network opportunity serves as a launching pad.

“Hopefully I can continue opportunities with the NHL Network and kind of go from there,” Parrish said. “I mean, I don’t know how much bigger I can get than NHL Network. That’s pretty awesome. I’m just ready to see where the wave takes me next.”