How 705 NHL games prepared Tom Laidlaw for ‘Survivor’


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Tom Laidlaw is in better shape than you.

No, really.

After his NHL career — 705 games played with the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings from 1980 to 1990 — the 61-year-old has found success on social media. Gone are the days when the defenseman delivered crushing body checks while creating space for teammates like Wayne Gretzky; today he delivers inspirational quotes and workout videos. Laidlaw is routinely up at 3:30 in the morning, posting workout videos for his “young grasshoppers,” all in an effort to cultivate a positive atmosphere for others to be inspired.

Secretly, Laidlaw was also training for his next life goal: to be a contestant on “Survivor.”

Now, the founder of True Grit Life has joined the cast of the 39th season of the CBS reality show. “Island of Idols” premieres Sept. 25 with a 90-minute first episode beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

ESPN caught up with Laidlaw in advance of the premiere.


ESPN: How long have you been a fan of the show? Who are some of your favorite competitors from past seasons?

Tom Laidlaw: I watched from the start, but I’ve watched all the series [more intensely] since Season 25 when Jeff Kent was on. I liked how Ben the Marine [winner of Season 35] would never quit when it looked like he was done. Tony [Vlachos, winner of Season 28] played a hard game, although I wouldn’t play like him.

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