Larry Fitzgerald grew up surrounded by frozen lakes and ice rinks, yet the Minnesota native went 33 years before strapping on a pair of ice skates.
The Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver skated for the first time this week with the help of the Arizona Coyotes former NHL All-Star Shane Doan.
"I feel like a girl at prom,” Fitzgerald said while being ushered up the ice arm-in-arm with Doan. “This is way harder than I thought, man. … My feet hurt.”
The Coyotes caught the moment on camera Monday as part of the promotion for Larry Fitzgerald bobblehead night at Gila River Arena Saturday. The first 10,000 fans will get a mini version of Fitzgerald in a Coyotes sweater and Cardinals football pants, holding a hockey stick in one arm and a football in the other. The Coyotes are also giving away a signed Fitzgerald hockey jersey.
Fitzgerald said he liked how the bobblehead looked with his “hair, my earrings, and my big teeth.”
The Holy Angels Academy product managed to keep his balance on the ice and even scored a couple goals, including a one-timer, assisted by Doan.
“It’s something I always wanted to do, but I just never tried it,” Fitzgerald said. “I played basketball when I grew up, so I never really had a chance to get on the skates.”
Despite never skating while growing up in the state of hockey, Fitzgerald was a fan of the sport.
“I grew up a big Minnesota North Stars fan. Mike Modano and the guys. So that was a team I followed quite often,” he told reporters. “I’ve gotten to know Jeremy Roenick, Brett Hull … Wayne Gretzky over the years. So I’m a big fan.
“I really enjoy the speed of the game: Just the skill and the art of it. It’s like watching poetry in motion.”
Doan was impressed by Fitzgerald’s first skating and shooting experience.
“People who have never skated before, seldom leave the board,” Doan said. “Larry did I amazing. [I would] love to be able to catch a football from him one time.”
Doan (21 years) and Fitzgerald (13 years) have spent their entire careers in Arizona. This is one of only six markets in professional sports with two such players.