Quantcast Vegetarian StarMike Zygomanis Sets Vegan Example For Marlies Teammates

Mike Zygomanis Toronto Maple Leafs headshots 2011-2012

Mike Zygomanis has just been called the “unofficial nutritionist to his fast-food-eating teammates” by the National Post.

The Toronto Marlies’ ice hockey centre started phasing animal products out of his diet five years ago, beginning with red meat, then moving on with other meats and dairy products.

He might be a rarity in the world of ice hockey, but Zygomanis has plenty of rebuttals when faced with a snicker from a sports enthusiasts on why he packs tofu and not turkey sandwiches.

“It’s a stigma, I guess, when you’re a vegan and guys kind of label you,” Zigomanis said. “Hockey’s a big, macho sport. And when people think of vegans … what do you think of when you think of vegans? You tell me.”

“Long hair. Tie-dyed T-shirt. There’s one representation. But there’s bodybuilders, there’s MMA fighters, football players, basketball players. Triathletes, a lot of them are vegan. All the ultra-marathon runners are vegan.”

Coach Dallas Eakins and the Marlies crew have been very supportive, altering the team’s menu on the road to accommodate his diet.

“We’re going to respect everybody’s healthy diet, and it’s something he believes in,” Eakins said.

“He seems to have had a handle on it. He hasn’t been any different than he has been in the past. He’s an extremely fit guy, someone that we rely on heavily every night, and it seems like he hasn’t missed a beat.”

And as long as he continues to set a great example on the ice–like scoring the winning goal during a recent overtime game–maybe his teammates will follow lead and start packing seeds and nuts to the rink.

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