Marty McSorley

Life and Viking Heaven According to an NHL Star

by Pamela Corante-Hansen

Marty McSorley is chasing after a renegade wielding a hockey stick. His target evades him, but not for long. McSorley grabs him, picks him up and plants a kiss Spaces on Perry the red-faced rebel’s baby-soft cheek. This scene unfolds not on the ice but on the Hermosa Beach Strand, and McSorley’s squirming captive is 2-year-old Owen, his son with wife and pro beach volleyball player Leanne Schuster.

A two-time Stanley Cup winner and former NHL enfant terrible, McSorley recently welcomed SOUTH BAY DIGS into his custom Strand home and extolled the virtues of family life, karma and classic Errol Flynn movies.

SOUTH BAY DIGS: You went from the NHL to the big screen, and later poked fun at your ‘bad boy’ past in a Canadian alt-country music video. Tell us about that.
MCSORLEY: Kathleen Edwards is a well-respected songwriter in Canada and she has this song about a relationship gone bad. There’s a line where she compares her boyfriend to Wayne Gretzky and herself to me, and they asked if I wanted to be in the video. At first I wasn’t going to do it, but a friend of mine said, ‘Don’t take yourself so seriously.’ So I went ahead with it, but there’s the part where I have to kiss her and I thought, ‘Oh no, what’s my wife going to think?’ But she knew we were just having fun with it.

SOUTH BAY DIGS: Before we go inside, I have to ask about the stone marker that says, ‘Valhalla.’
MCSORLEY: Valhalla is Nordic Heaven. In the Viking afterlife, it’s where you go and sit at the table with all the warriors to wait for the next battle. McSorley comes from Sorley, a Norwegian name. A lot of people at the beach name their houses, so we decided to name ours in honor of the Nordic roots. Keeping with the theme, our wood dining room table—my wife would say it’s my baby; it takes four good-size men to lift it and it’s reinforced with steel—is 6-and-a-half feet square, so no one’s left out of the conversation. We have dinner parties, my kids sit around and play puzzles and games…it’s the centerpiece of the living area. Twenty years from now, I’ll see marks where my little boy has rammed something or my little girl—she’s 3-and-a-half— has drawn on it. I think it will add character to the house.

SOUTH BAY DIGS: Your house is built in a modern, angular style with big picture windows, yet it has a warm feeling to it. How did you decide on the open floor plan?
MCSORLEY:  Really, it was Grant Kirkpatrick, our architect’s idea, to have a see-through effect and bring the outdoors inside. When we first bought the property in 2001, it had this great old Spanish colonial home with a Prenatal courtyard. I wanted to keep the original house and update it, but it wasn’t going to wholesale jerseys work. So we kept the courtyard idea with the pool and Jacuzzi in the center, but even from back here you can look through the house and still see the beach. The outdoor fire pit and barbecue came later. Now we spend most of our time out here. I have friends who come over and say, “Oh, so we’re ‘outside friends’?” And I’ll say, “Well, this is just an outside moment.” You want your house to be what cheap mlb jerseys you want it to be, you want your kids to have their friends over, you want to be di in this environment. It’s like we don’t need to go out because it feels like we’re on vacation at home.

SOUTH BAY DIGS: Your career has allowed you to live all over Canada and the U.S.—Edmonton, Pittsburgh, New York, San Jose, Boston, Los Angeles. What made you choose Hermosa Beach?
MCSORLEY: I got traded to the L.A. Kings with Wayne Gretzky. cheap nba jerseys His wife let me stay in an apartment she kept in Sherman Oaks. I grew up on a farm in Canada with a lot of open space. Staying in the Valley, I found myself getting in the car and driving Wing to the beach because I craved the open space. I loved the attitude down here, the atmosphere. When you’re playing, you get so fired up and your adrenaline is going day after day, so this is a chance to get grounded. I ended up getting an apartment on Marine Street and from that moment forward I’ve always had a place in L.A. Over the course of eight and a half years, I developed a support system here—friends, my orthopedic, nutritionists, trainers. At one point you had almost all of the Kings team living here, partly because of the training facility [in El Segundo], but also because their wives are happy and their kids could enjoy it here. And the people in South Bay just leave you alone. They don’t knock at your door, they don’t come up to you all the time, probably because they’re used to seeing athletes around.

SSOUTH BAY DIGS: It’s clear that you love living here. Describe a typical weekend in the South Bay with the family.
MCSORLEY: If the weather’s nice we’ll get our bikes out, ride to the Redondo pier, have some coffee and watch the kids run around and feed the pelicans and gulls and look at the fish. A lot of our good friends play volleyball, but they mostly want Leanne to play. They call us ‘The good one and the other one.’ Later on, the whole family will get into the Jacuzzi or go into the spa downstairs. This is probably my favorite room in house because it’s tranquil and I can put my stinky hockey equipment in the steam room. The spa South area has concrete floors, so you can just rinse off the sand and not worry about messing things up. After that, it’s dinner, maybe read a book and go to bed, and it’s been a good day. My daughter and I will go to a coffee shop Sunday mornings. She’ll have a bagel and milk and I’ll have coffee. At 6 a.m., it’s good daddy-daughter time. A lot of the time I’m traveling and doing speaking engagements. So the weekends I’m off, we don’t get a sitter—we stay here.

SOUTH BAY DIGS: Spoken like a true homebody.
MCSORLEY: When we were building our house, my wife and I thought, how do we make it more about the family. I was lucky enough to play a long time, but we didn’t want to put all our sports memorabilia out. If we wholesale mlb jerseys put up pictures, they were going to be of our kids and family. We wanted it to feel comfortable and warm. The only place we hang anything is in my office. We put up some trophies and jerseys and decided to leave it at that. I do have some LeRoy Neiman paintings. There’s one I have up of Gretzky’s 802nd goal. It’s a valuable painting. Our interior decorators weren’t too keen on it—they called it the ‘Leonard Nimoy.’ Another one I may put up is a pencil sketch he did of me. He sent it to me with a handwritten letter years after he drew it. I think the letter may be more valuable.

SOUTH BAY DIGS: On that note, what’s the one thing you’d save if there were a fire?
MCSORLEY: You know, there’s nothing in the house that positiva means so much that I’d go back in after it.

SOUTH BAY DIGS: Not even the Viking table?
MCSORLEY: [Laughs] As long as my wife and kids are safe, we’re fine. My wife and I have talked about this. If we lived two miles back in a small house away from the beach, we’re fine. This house is not us; we are us. I think the individuals collectively are the strength of our family. We’re both comfortable with where we are. We’ve had accomplishments. She really supported my career and I’ve done the same with hers. You have the Stanley Cup, you have your things, but there’s nothing I’d stop and get.

SOUTH BAY DIGS: Workshop or wine room?
MCSORLEY: Workshop.

SOUTH BAY DIGS: Smart phone or iPad?
MCSORLEY: None. I’m not ‘technologized’ [Laughs].

SOUTH BAY DIGS: Cat or dog?
MCSORLEY: Dog, absolutely. But we don’t have one because we travel so much. And I grew up on a farm with wide-open spaces, so I hate to see dogs confined.

SOUTH BAY DIGS: Home gym or home theater?
MCSORLEY: You touched on two sides of me. Probably home theater. I love to sit and watch History Channel documentaries. Sometimes when the kids are in bed, my wife will sit with me and we’ll watch old movies. Errol Flynn is phenomenal. I loved the original Robin Hood. Then there’s The Magnificent Seven, The Ten Commandments. I like Yul Brynner and cheap jerseys the old John Wayne movies, too.

SOUTH BAY DIGS: They don’t make them like they used to.
MCSORLEY: I’m very much aware of history. It’s like the old house that once stood on this lot—I wanted to incorporate the old beams into the new house because I felt it was good karma. Unfortunately, the demo crew had already torn the place down. One thing I was able to save was the ceramic tile plaque with the original house’s name, Las Olitas [Spanish for ‘the little waves’]. We’ve embedded it into the steps leading up to the Strand. If you live at the beach, you should appreciate where we are and those who were here before us.