"No Pressure" for Micheal Haley

No pressure. Growing up, Micheal Haley often heard those two words from his father. Now, the Florida Panthers forward is passing it along to his four-year-old son.

No pressure. Growing up, Micheal Haley often heard those two words from his father. Now, the Florida Panthers forward is passing it along to his four-year-old son.

One day after netting a goal in a 5-4 road win against the New York Rangers, Haley, 31, is back at home in the Sunshine State, getting ready to take his oldest son, Hudson, to the hockey rink.

“I picked him up from school, we went for a swim and now it’s off to hockey,” said the Guelph, Ontario native, who also has a one-year-old son, Taylor. “He’s obsessed with hockey. He just loves it. It’s hockey, hockey, hockey, all the time. He’s a pretty good little skater. He’s been on roller blades and skates since he was two. For him, it’s the same as it was for me playing hockey – no pressure. My dad (Don) is down here visiting right now. I remember him always telling me to just go out and have fun. Whether you are the top goal scorer or whatever it is, as long as you’re working hard at it and having fun, that’s all you need to do.”

Haley has certainly heeded those words over an NHL career that began in 2009-10.

Undrafted, the former Sarnia Sting (OHL) forward signed as a free agent with the New York Islanders in May of 2008. He’s also played with the New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks, before signing a two-year contract with Florida as a free agent this July.

Said head coach Bob Boughner on the day of the Haley signing, "I know what sort of impact he has in the room and on the ice. He's the type of person and player that we need."

Haley was grateful for the praise.

“Any time someone speaks to your character in a positive manner, it’s flattering,” he said. “It’s nice when that doesn’t go unnoticed. I appreciate it.”

What does being a good teammate mean to Haley?

“In a team sport, not everyone can be the superstar,” started the veteran of 154 NHL games. “Sometimes it means doing the so-called dirty work, the less glamorous things. I don’t mind doing them.”

And his teammates don’t mind voicing their appreciation for the blocked shots, big hits and glove drops.

“They’re a young group here, but they’ve been nothing but supportive,” noted Haley. “The guy that’s scoring the goals can’t be looking over his shoulder all the time, so they know I have their back. Their job is to score and that’s what I want them to focus on.”

That enables Haley to do what he’s most effective at. It’s a role he happily embraces.

Yes, he likes to score a goal. But, his biggest contributions come in other forms.

If someone were to say he had a good game, what would Haley have done?

“Making the sure the other team knows I’m playing,” he offered. “Whether it’s their defenceman – if they know I’m on the ice – they’re not going to be making that extra move or anything like that. Every night, if I can spend more time in the opposing end, that’s a good game. We tired them out. If you can chip in on the scoreboard, that’s a plus. But if you spend more time in their end, that’s a good game to me.”

And with that, it’s time to take his oldest son to hockey.

“Are we going now?” asked Hudson.

“Yes, we’re going to hockey,” said Haley with a laugh.

No need to ask if Hudson will have fun. How could he not? There’s no pressure.