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Friday, August 19, 2005
McKees play mixed doubles tennis

Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Having spent his life playing hockey with the guys, Jay McKee thought he knew most everything there was to teamwork.

But that was before the Buffalo Sabres' defenseman took up tennis as a hobby and formed a mixed doubles team with his wife, Nicole.

"At first, we were kind of fighting like husband and wife," Nicole McKee said, recalling their first time on the court last year. "He'd take my ball and make an error, and I was like, 'Why did you do that?' and vice versa. We had a lot of disagreements."

Her husband also remembers that.

"Needless to say, there wasn't much talking in the car on the way home," he said.

Understanding their shortfalls and realizing each were going to make mistakes, the McKees put aside their bickering to develop into a strong beginners' level tandem. They won a U.S. Tennis Association sectional tournament in June to advance to the North Atlantic Regional Championships at Princeton University, Aug. 26 to 27.

"It's something I never expected," Nicole said of their success. "We had to work out some kinks, but we finally got to a point where it's fun now."