USA Hockey Magazine

FULL_USAHM_Aug13

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By Harry Thompson S I M P LY AMAZING Hockey Brothers Use Their Brains And Brawn To Win A Million Dollars In A Race Around The World D uring the course of his NHL career, Bates Battaglia made his living going into places that are not for the faint of heart. Whether battling angry Sharks for loose pucks in the corner or jostling giant Panthers in front of the net, every night was a test of courage and a battle of wills. But this was beyond the pale. Here he sat, bobbing in the currents of a crocodile-infested river, praying that at any moment the speedboat driver would gun the throttle and catapult him up onto his skis and relative safety on top of the water. To his left sat his younger brother Anthony, equally frightened but comforted by the experience of a lifetime's worth of water skiing. It was one of those moments when reality television was about to get a little too real. It was time to sink or swim, or in Bates' case, learn to ski or become 200 pounds of croc bait. Adding to the apprehension was the thought that another team could come flying by at any moment and snag the coveted fast forward pass to the finish line and another fabulous prize that comes with finishing first. "I was more afraid of not doing it and Anthony being mad at me than I was about the crocodiles," Bates admitted. But fear is a powerful motivator, or at least as powerful as the boat motor that pulled the broth- Photos By Gregg Forwerck ers out of the water and a mile down Botswana's Okavango River, past the warning signs that read, "Crocodiles, do not swim," until they reached the designated drop-off point. Then they sank back in the water waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the boat to swing back around and pick them up. As scary as that was, it didn't fully sink in until they were safely back onboard the boat, speeding to their final destination that they saw a six-foot croc sunning itself on the banks. In a trip full of memories this one stood out. "Who can say that they've skied with crocodiles?" Bates asked. "Not many." What a man won't do for a million dollars. For these two hockey playing brothers from Chicago, the race around the world as part of the hit CBS reality show, "The Amazing Race," was more than just a dash for cash. It was an opportunity to put themselves and their sport in the primetime spotlight. Starting on Nov. 8 and running for a solid month, they battled 11 other teams as they hopscotched around the globe with stops in French Polynesia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Botswana, Switzerland, Germany, Scotland, Northern Ireland and finally back to the United States. "It's a lot like hockey," said Bates, who was a member of the U.S. National Team that won bronze at the 2004 IIHF World Championship. "It's very competitive and you're going nonstop. It definitely gets your competitive spirit going." USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM August. 2013 21

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