Rangers rookie reveals martial arts training

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As if Matt Rempe wasn’t intimidating enough on the ice, the New York Rangers rookie revealed that he takes part in martial arts training in the offseason.

The 6-foot-8 forward and Madison Square Garden favorite told The Bronx Zoo that he took it up after his first season of professional hockey.

“I do Muay Thai,” Rempe said. “Me and my buddy started last summer with a guy out in Calgary and we do it. I love it.”

Muay Thai has its origins in Thailand and is often referred to as Thai Boxing. It incorporates fists, elbows, knees and shins for striking techniques.

Needless to say, much of Muay Thai can’t be used in a hockey fight. But the skills learned in martial arts are valuable, as is the conditioning involved.

Related: Former Rangers enforcer understands why fans ’embrace’ Matt Rempe

Matt Rempe continuing to find opportunities to learn for Rangers

NHL: Stadium Series-New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Rempe is not looking to fight as much as he did when called up from Hartford of the American Hockey League. The 21-year-old engaged in a rousing bout on his first NHL shift with New York Islanders enforcer Matt Martin outdoors at the Stadium Series on Feb. 18. He followed that up with fights in three of his next six games but hasn’t dropped the gloves since tangling with veteran Ryan Reaves of the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 2.

However, he remains more than equipped to fight if needed. Rempe told The Bronx Zoo that in addition to Muay Thai, he practices traditional boxing, as well.

“I do boxing as well,” Rempe said. “I think it’s really cool. Obviously, I want to learn, I’m 21, I’ve got a lot work on. I think it’s sweet. There’s more I want to learn for sure.”

Despite cutting back on fighting on the ice, Rempe was suspended four games earlier in the month for elbowing New Jersey Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler in the head.

Since returning from the suspension, Rempe has seen limited ice time and is expected to be a healthy scratch Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche. That would mean he’s scratched twice in the past five games, though that’s doing little to stem the “Rem-Pe! Rem-Pe!” chants each time he hits the ice at The Garden.

In 13 games, Rempe leads the Rangers with 54 penalty minutes, to go along with one goal and one assist.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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