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Where are they now? Karl Dykhuis
MONTREAL | August 19th, 2014
Where are they now? Karl Dykhuis
The Canadiens didn’t pile up 100 years of history without the blood,sweat and tears of the over 750 players to have ever worn the uniform. From the likes of Donald Audette to Zarley Zalapski, there are former Habs scattered all over the world. Although many hardcore Canadiens fans can rattle off the career accomplishments of hundreds of their old heroes, the question remains: what are these guys up to today? On the hot seat today: Karl Dykhuis.

Where are you living these days?
For the last several years, I’ve been living on Montreal’s North Shore in Blainville.

What kind of work are you involved in?
For the past year and a half, I’ve been working for Réserve & Sélection, a wine agency. We were recently purchased by Trialto Wine Group Limited. When my playing career was over, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I worked in the media for a bit, doing some radio and television, but it didn’t really get me engaged. Looking to do something I could be passionate about, I decided to take a sommelier training course, and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. My real passion for wine started when I got my NHL career going with the Phildelphia Flyers. One night when we were on the road, Craig MacTavish invited me to dinner with him and some other teammates. I was used to ordering the house wine at restaurants. I thought they were good. But, during that meal, the waiter poured me a glass from one of the better bottles of wine ordered by the other players. Right from the first sip, I never thought any liquid on Earth could taste as good as that. That’s where my interest in wine began.

During your playing days, did you give your teammates advice on wines?
When I arrived in Montreal in 1999, more than a few players on the team already knew even more than I did about wine. Guys like Brian Savage, Craig Rivet, Saku Koivu, Patrice Brisebois and equipment manager Pierre Gervais were really interested in the bigger wines from around the world. Often, when we were on the road and there wasn’t much to do, we went into big wine stores to find a few gems. It was like a treasure hunt between us in each city!

How many times a year do you lace up your skates?
I didn’t hit the ice for the first two years after my retirement. But, for the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to play many games with the Canadiens alumni. Last year, I played in about 40 games and this year I’ll play in at least 30 games. I feel privileged to still have the chance to head back out on the road with those guys. It’s a lot of fun to travel to many different cities and help people because the majority of the time, we’re playing for charitable causes.

Do you still follow what’s going on with the Canadiens?
When I retired, I didn’t miss a single Canadiens game on television. I was working in radio at the time. But, since I’ve been working in my current position full-time, I’m not as consistent when it comes to watching games as I was before. Still, every morning I take some time to check out the sports headlines to see if they won and get up-to-date on the latest news about the team.

Is there one game in particular that stands out from your stint with the Canadiens?

The games that we played against Toronto or Boston stand out for me, but especially the games  against the Maple Leafs. The atmosphere in the Bell Centre was electric. It’s really difficult to name just one. I’m emotional just thinking about it. 

What is your favorite Canadiens collectible among those that you own?

I’d say the bottles of wine that I bought on the road at the time! Back then, I was able to buy some really good wines. I’ve still got a lot of them in my wine cellar, but I’m not looking to open them up anytime soon. I won’t have a choice in the next few years though!

You played for a few teams over the course of your career. Where would you rank your stay in Montreal?
I lived many great moments in Montreal and at the Bell Centre. The team has so much history. My brain gets going at 100 mph just when I think about all the different emotions I experienced when I played for the Canadiens. I really enjoyed living in Old Montreal and on Nun’s Island, talking to the people and being surrounded by the incredible Montreal fans at each game. There were some games that were easier than others, but those were unforgettable moments.