“I enjoy polo because its patterns resemble those of hockey.” – Larry Robinson
On June 2, 1951, Larry Clark Robinson was born in Winchester, Ontario, a man destined for the ice. His sporting career started in a hockey stadium, exhibiting his prowess as a solid defender. He turned professional and played from 1969 to 1992, earning no less than six Stanley Cups playing for the Montreal Canadiens.
Larry Robinson on the left for the Montreal Canadiens.
Big Bird, as he is known, also has two James Norris Memorial Trophies in his showcase, which he won for being the best defensive player in the NHL season, and a Conn Smythe Trophy for being the MVP of the 1978 playoffs.
Once he retired, he couldn’t leave his passion for sport behind, moving on to be a coach. He entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995, when he won his first title on the bench, assisting coach Jacques Lemaire with the New Jersey Devils. Then, as head coach, he won the Stanley Cup in 1999/2000 League. A feat he repeated as assistant coach to Kevin Constantine in the 2002/2003 National Hockey League season. Only two weeks ago, as Consultant of the St. Louis Blues, he won his tenth ring.
Why are we talking about a hockey superstar in a polo magazine, then? Well, because Larry Robinson was a polo player for most of his life, too! As he himself once said to the New York Times: “I enjoy polo because its patterns resemble those of hockey.”
“It’s a fascinating, frustrating game. You know what you want to do, but you can’t always get the horse to get there.”
Even though it is very different from polo, Larry Robinson is passionate about polo. Raised on a farm in Marvelville, Ontario, he grew up between horses. And even when he was playing, he lived on the outskirts of Montreal, where he became the co-founder of the Montreal Polo Club. In the NHL off-season he played polo (between July and October). His passion was so strong that in 1987 he missed the start of the NHL season due to an injury he suffered playing polo.
For a decade now, he has been a regular participant in the tournaments organized by the Sarasota Polo Club, while he is also one of the 40 owners of the venue in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. In an interview with the New York Times, he said: “It’s a fascinating, frustrating game. You know what you want to do, but you can’t always get the horse to get there.” He also talked about Big Shame, a 1,300-pound grey gelding that lived for over two decades and was his favorite pony ever since his time playing for the Montreal Canadiens.
Dennys Santana, who has played with him in Sarasota, said that Robinson is known for his height and power. “He usually plays back because he has a strong hit. We have played against each other a few times. He’s good people, a fun person.”SARASOTA POLO CLUB