Backchecking: Anson Carter

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By Neil Acharya

Anson Carter has always thrived on generating new opportunities, both on and off the ice. A veteran of 10 NHL seasons, Carter defied the odds as a 10th-round pick of the Quebec Nordiques in 1992 to play for eight teams between 1996 and 2007. But it’s his off-season projects outside the game that have led him to a successful post-hockey career.

During his playing career, Carter spent his summers in Los Angeles, exploring the entertainment and business industries. Meeting Priority Records founder Bryan Turner influenced Carter to start his own record label, Big Up Entertainment.

Carter, 39, has moved on to film and TV, where he has produced two features – Bald (2008) and Knock Knock Killers (2011). He is also the co-founder of a clothing line called Shirt Off My Back, which he developed with some friends he cultivated during his time in Los Angeles.

The Kings were one of the many teams Carter played for. He also wore the uniforms of the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes. Carter scored 20 or more goals five times in a career that included seven trades.

“After you get traded for the first time, you’re numb to it,” he says. “It’s no big deal, it doesn’t define my career.”

Carter scored 202 goals and 421 points in 674 games while playing the bulk of his career during the Dead Puck Era. After scoring 33 goals for the Canucks in 2005-06, the highest single season total of his career, Carter’s tenures with the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes were short lived.

“The psychological toll, the politics in the game, it’s how much you want to put up with it,” Carter says. “Everyone deals with it, but I had enough. I wasn’t getting the straight shooter answers I was looking for to help keep me as motivated as I needed to be.”

Today, Carter lives in Atlanta with his wife Erika and their two daughters. He’s still involved in the game, having worked as an analyst for Fox Sports West, NHL Network and NHL on NBC, NBCSN and MSG. Carter also provided written commentary for The Huffington Post during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. This past fall, he was one of several former NHLers to try his hand at figure skating, teaming up with Shae-Lynn Bourne in CBC’s Battle of the Blades. They were the third of seven couples eliminated in a competition won by Scott Thornton and Amanda Evora.

In terms of the future, Carter is on the lookout for what may be on the horizon and he’s not afraid to try something new. When looking back, he holds what he attained as an NHL player in high regard.

“I’ve got a lot of interests in different spheres” he says. “My interests could change tomorrow. But a fact that will never change is that I played as long as I did and accomplished what I did being a 10th-round pick. A lot of players are given every chance to play and every chance to fail.  I am most proud of the fact that I worked my butt off to earn everything.”

This feature originally appeared in the May 5 edition of The Hockey News magazine. Get in-depth features like this one, and much more, by subscribing now.