By Scott Linesburgh
The Stockton Record
STOCKTON, Calif. – Fans have watched Mark Adamek (pictured) at Stockton Arena in his familiar role with the Thunder.
But they might not know the second-year defenseman makes a pretty mean margarita.
Like many minor-league players, Adamek has another job when he’s not on the ice. He worked as a bartender during the offseason.
Hey, a guy has to make a living, and this season’s Thunder players have found many different ways to make ends meet.
Adamek served drinks and talked sports and local news with patrons at the Vault Bar and Grill in his hometown of Hollister. Others worked in construction and landscaping. Another drove a truck, and one worked for a law firm.
“You have to work when you aren’t playing, and I’m not afraid to work,” said forward Jesse Bennefield, who is recently married and worked as a dump truck driver in Calgary, Alberta. “You have to pay the bills.”
Adamek smiled when asked the old fifth-grade question, “What did you do on your summer vacation?”
“I worked at this same establishment last summer but took on a different role this time around. Instead of being in the front of the house, I viewed things from behind the bar,” Adamek said. “It was my first ever bartending gig, and I enjoyed the experience very much.”
Some of his teammates found hockey-related jobs. But Brandon Schwartz worked toward becoming an attorney. The 26-year-old forward from St. Cloud, Minn., clerked in his father’s law firm. He received permission to defer a year at the William Mitchell School of Law in St. Paul, Minn., so he could play for the Thunder.
“My parents never pushed me in that direction, but when I warmed to the idea, my father (Michael) suggested I clerk at his firm,” Schwartz said. “It was a great experience for me.”
Rookie defenseman Ryan Geris has his own landscaping business. He and several friends and employees rebuilt a cabin in the woods near a lake in Minnesota.
“It was tough work, but very rewarding,” Geris said. “There was this little cabin that badly needed to be repaired. And we rebuilt the whole thing. Sometimes I’d be on the roof all day, far above the ground in the woods, and it was awesome.”
Geris said he’ll always remember his summer in the woods, but like the rest of his teammates, hockey is his first love.
Adamek used his summer job to drum up some business for his hockey team.
“A lot of the customers at the bar know I play hockey in Stockton, and they said wanted to come up and see it,” Adamek said. “I gave them my e-mail and told them to come on out. I hope they show up.”