Ex-NHL star Alex Auld on swapping ice hockey for hurling

Former goaltender is swapping with Lee Chin in The Toughest Trade

Alex Auld, ice hockey

Montreal Canadiens goalie Alex Auld (35) looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Fla., Friday, Dec. 31, 2010. The Canadiens won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Steve Mitchell)

Over the next wee while, former NHL player Alex Auld will be swapping his ice hockey stick for a hurley.

That's because the ex-goal tender is taking part in The Toughest Trade where he will swap sports with Wexford dual star Lee Chin.

Auld had zero experience of playing prior to taking part in the prorgamme but was keen to make an impression.

"It was a pretty quick learning curve into the sport. I picked one up right away in a training session and had to go at it," he said.

"It kind of came out of nowhere for sure and I was sort of like 'What's hurling?' I did a little bit of research because I'd never heard of it before.

"I looked into it a bit and checked out some of the episodes online and I just loved the concept of exploring the contrast of the amateur athlete here in Ireland compared to the professional in North America or anywhere in the world. I just thought it was fascinating and I've kind of been missing competition a bit so I thought it would be a good opportunity for me." 

He joked that first impressions of hurling were "these guys are running around after each other and they have got a big wooden axe" but that once the rules are understood it all begins to make sense. 

Auld felt that both hurling and ice hockey are stick based made it slightly easier to adapt from one to the other and that there were some similarities in terms of hand work.

"The hardest thing for me was holding it and the way you hold your hands is backwards [compared to ice hockey] in terms of what hand's on top. It took a couple of days to adjust to that," he said.