Summers in California, winters playing hockey in Rouen, France. . . . As French Olympic left wing Eric Lemarque says cheerfully, "Life's a beach."
Lemarque, the son of a French father and an American mother, grew up in Southern California and began playing hockey in the now-defunct Topanga Hockey Assn. and in Culver City.
Lemarque later went to Detroit for two seasons, finished high school a year early and attended Northern Michigan University on a full scholarship. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins after his first year--he earned a degree in marketing and a place among the school's top 10 goal scorers--but wasn't offered a contract and so went to France.
"I have my French passport now because European citizens can play in other leagues in other countries," he said.
Lemarque, 24, returns to Manhattan Beach each summer, except for the six weeks he teaches at hockey schools.
"This is my third season in the French European League and first on the national team," he said. "This has just worked out great."