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Before He Was Michael Scott, The Office's Steve Carell Was a Pretty Good Hockey Player

Carell, who grew up in hockey-loving Boston, was playing from an early age, and he showed off his skills on The Office

By James Grebey

Michael Scott is not the world’s best boss, despite what his mug on The Office might say. He is, however, surprisingly good at ice skating, as evidenced in a couple of episodes where he gets a chance to glide across a rink. That’s because Steve Carell, who played Michael on the hit NBC sitcom (streaming now on Peacock!), was a pretty darn good hockey player himself before he eventually started acting. 

Was Steve Carell Really a Hockey Player?

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Carell, who grew up in hockey-loving Boston, was playing from an early age. 

“The Bruins' great run in the early 1970s inspired me to get into hockey. I think I was 8 years old, and all my friends started playing,” he told ESPN in 2013. “Our team actually won a national championship. We won for the 'Squirt' level. We went to Detroit to compete against the top teams in the country and ended up winning.”

Stanley Hudson, Jim Halpert, Pam Beesly, Kevin Malone, Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, Angela Martin, Phyllis Lapin and Oscar Martinez appear in a scene from The Office.

Despite his “Squirt” success, Carell, whose position was goalie, knew that he wasn’t destined to be a professional hockey player — or even a player at the Division I college level. 

“At a certain point, you either have to commit to that as a potential career or let it become a fun hobby,” Carell told ESPN. “That happened in high school. I had to think about whether I was going to a Division I college hockey program and fight for a job of a goaltender or do something else. Instead, I went to a Division III school [Denison University in Ohio] and played throughout college. It was for fun and not advancing myself."  

RELATED: All the Major Characters from The Office

Check out Steve Carell's skating skills at various points in the video below:

How Good at Hockey Was Steve Carell?

Carell was pretty good at the Division III level, as a new story about his sporting accomplishments in The Athletic reveals. Though he missed many games in his junior and senior years due to other commitments (including theater, which the future Oscar-nominated actor was pretty good at, it turned out), Carell was a talented goalie and was close with his teammates. He was the main goalie for the team as a freshman, and made it through the season without injury. His sophomore year stats were 305 saves across 29 periods played — a respectable .866 save percentage.

RELATED: The Funniest Quotes from The Office That We Still Use Daily

Since graduating and becoming an A-list actor, Carell hasn’t totally left hockey behind. In 2013 he was still playing in a rec league in Orange County with his brother, and he got to show off his skills on the ice in The Office

Carol Still and Michael Scott appear in a scene from The Office.

Did Steve Carell Ever Play Hockey on The Office?

Michael Scott is a hockey fan, clearly, as his much-maligned script “Threat Level: Midnight” features a hockey sequence and there’s the infamous “You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.' — Wayne Gretzky — Michael Scott” whiteboard quote. The biggest hockey episode of the show, though, came in the Season 2 episode “Michael’s Birthday,” where the Dunder Mifflin gang goes to a local ice rink to celebrate the boss’ big day. Michael, of course, takes things a little bit too far, as he checks Toby in the glass.

It’s a clear show-off of Carell’s real-life skating skills from his past on the ice. 

“Yeah, I've been pretty much skating my whole life,” Michael tells the camera in the episode. “I thought about playing in the NHL but you're on the road so much, you have no time to spend with your wife and kids … and I really want a wife and kids." 

Relive all nine seasons of The Office — now streaming on Peacock. Die-hard audience members who have made it through the entire series more than once can discover never-before-seen bonus footage in the extended "Superfan Episodes" currently spanning Seasons 1-6.

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