MIKE PELUSO - 
TWO SPORT STAR

By

Bill Ballou
Special to ESPN.com

You know, baseball isn't the only game that attracts two-sport stars. It might have featured the likes of Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, but what about Mike Peluso? That's right, he's a two-sport man himself -- an All Star in the AHL and a professional walleye fisherman in the summertime.

"I would have to consider myself a hockey player who fishes," said Peluso, who was born and reared along the Missouri River in Bismarck, N.D. But his fishing career is a busy one, and a serious one. He does tournaments throughout the Midwest and Northern Plains, is involved with several Web sites, writes for magazines and has a fishing TV show back home in Bismarck.

In the fishing world, Peluso's hockey background is widely known, too. "I hope I can play (hockey) until, basically, I'm not able to walk anymore," Peluso said. "But when I'm done, I want to be able to do something I love, and that's fishing." Actually, Peluso could barely walk not that long ago.

He was voted onto the AHL Planet-USA All-Star team as the starting right wing while a member of the Portland Pirates, then got traded to Worcester for Derek Bekar. In his third game with the IceCats, Peluso suffered a badly cut foot when an opponent skated over it. He should be fine for the All-Star Game, although the injury cost him two weeks of playing time.

The transition from the sweaty, violent world of pro hockey to the tranquillity of the water is an easy one, according to Peluso. "A lot of the time when I'm fishing," he said, "I'm reflecting back on the (hockey) season. It may sound strange, but I think it's almost therapeutic at times. When I'm struggling playing hockey, I'll kind of look back and try to bring up memories from the summer. And it'll relax me.

"And during the summer, if I'm in a tournament, I use my hockey background all the time, and I think it gives me an edge on the other people out on the water."

Peluso is 26 and graduated from Minnesota-Duluth with a degree in Health Education. He isn't married, which seems to make sense considering his schedule, and is still formulating plans for building the perfect place to house all of his hockey and fishing memorabilia. "I'm working on that," hesaid. "I'll have a special room for my hockey stuff and a special room for my fishing stuff."

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