Prince Albert at IHWC
Posted by simon c on 2008 May 5日 Monday
This was unexpected, but then again I didn’t know that he went to the 2007 tournament in Moscow too. I met him and talked to him briefly at Nagano ’98, wishing him luck on his upcoming bobsleigh competition. He was really easy to talk to, not stuck up at all. I guess those born into royalty can be easygoing like that, instead of nouveau aristocrats. Didn’t know he spent time in Philly though, that was unexpected.
The son of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and Grace, Princess of Monaco (née Grace Kelly, a legendary Philadelphia-born film actress), gained his rulership in 2005, and is known as an avid sportsman. His Serene Highness graciously granted IIHF.com an interview during the second intermission of Sunday’s Czech Republic vs Russia game.
“You know, René Fasel had talked to me about the World Championship here, and I knew I had to be in Quebec and Montreal around these dates,” said the Prince. “So I said: ‘Well, can I come over and watch a game?’ And here I am. I was at the World Championship in Moscow last year as well, and it’s great to be at these big events, these international competitions. This is a very special one here in Quebec, because it’s the 100th anniversary of the IIHF and the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City. Both Quebec and Canada have a very strong tradition in hockey, as powerhouses in this sport. I’m happy to pay my respects.”
The Prince participates in everything from tennis and swimming to handball and fencing. He has a particular passion for winter sports. In fact, he represented Monaco in bobsleighing at five straight Winter Olympics between 1988 and 2002. It’s no wonder he’s developed a taste for hockey as well.
“Over the years, I’ve been watching different games in France, Europe, and at the Olympics,” he said. “I was also a student in the United States, and I saw the Rangers play a few times, as well as the Flyers, because part of my family is from Philadelphia. Perhaps I shouldn’t talk about the Flyers too much today, because they beat the Canadiens last night! I also watched the Flames play in Calgary many times. Because of bobsleighing, I was in Calgary a couple of times a year.”
The Prince’s personal favourites in hockey are based on his family background and appreciation for pure skill.
“Because my family is from Philadelphia, I’ve always followed the Flyers a little more intensely than other clubs. As for players, I had the chance to see Wayne Gretzky play a few times in his day. He was an incredible player, with incredible talent and charisma. I would also say I remember watching Slava Fetisov play. He’s now the Russian Minister of Sport, but he was an incredibly talented player too.”