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Magazine > Lifestyle

Mr. Débonnaire
Smooth-skating Ribeiro defines sauve

The Fourth Period Magazine :: Winter 2009-10 Issue
By Tracey Myers

It would be almost unfashionable if Mike Ribeiro didn’t show up fashionably late.

The Stars centre was the subject of an early November photo shoot in front of The W Hotel in downtown Dallas, and he was running a few minutes late. But the 29-year-old had a good reason for his tardiness. Ribeiro had just gotten out of the dentist’s office, where he had undergone a root canal less than two hours before the scheduled shoot.

“My face isn’t out to here, is it?” Ribeiro asked moments after getting out of his black Bentley, pointing to the left side of his face.

No, surprisingly, it wasn’t. Ribeiro was sporting what looked to be a fresh shave but had no visual, puffy side affects of the root canal.

Wearing I-was-running-errands attire upon arrival, Ribeiro hardly appeared the cover-boy type. But after quickly changing from rags to riches garb, Ribeiro looked like he had just jumped off the cover of GQ.

Right before the camera started clicking, Ribeiro made one last reflection check in the tinted windows of his Bentley. From his 2-karat diamond earring down to his Prada shoes, Ribeiro was camera-ready.

Anyone who has watched hockey these past few seasons knows how dazzling a player Ribeiro can be. His magician-like work on the ice once prompted linemate and Stars captain Brenden Morrow to call him “Criss Angel, mindfreak” after a particularly eye-catching game against the New York Rangers. The name has come and gone, but the memorable passes and shootout goals have remained.

His plays often earn Ribeiro the spotlight. And on this day, he was enjoying his personal off-ice one, mugging for the camera and revelling in his model-like stint.

Was this his next career, perhaps?

“I think I’ll be too old,” he said.

Indeed, Ribeiro has a style all his own, and it covers all parts of the spectrum. The guy who drove up in that Bentley also has a truck for driving around his three children. He’s already thinking about getting a new one of those, too. He enjoys the finer threads, certainly. But he’s as comfortable in the Armani suit he donned for the start of the shoot as he is in the T-shirt and jeans he was wearing by the end of it.

For Ribeiro, his lifestyle isn’t so much a certain label or a specific trend. It’s what he can mix and match with other items, what he can wear now and later, what feels good to him.

“Even if I didn’t have money I tried to dress well, match things, get the nicest things I could,” Ribeiro said. “Now I have the chance to do it more often, but I pick whatever I like. It doesn’t have to be a high-end brand or a cheap brand. If I see something I like, I just get it.
Exhibit A on the high-end side is that Bentley. Even someone who isn’t a car aficionado has to appreciate it, and Ribeiro has given his the personal touches right down to the Fleur de Lis emblems etched on the tire rims.

Mike Ribeiro never knew the feeling of a luxury car in Montreal. A native of the city who played his first few seasons in a Canadiens jersey loved the idea of one; but the weather up there, especially in the winter, wasn’t really conducive to a fancy schmancy car. Besides, Ribeiro was on a one-year-contract trip for a while, and wasn’t going to be investing in something like that until he got some security.

On Sept. 30, 2006, the night before the Stars began their 2006-07 season, Ribeiro was acquired in a trade that sent defenseman Janne Niinimaa to the Canadiens. Ribeiro had a new home, and began to flourish on the ice.

His stats steadily rose, and he was soon rewarded for his work. In January of 2008, just more than a season into his Dallas career, Ribeiro signed a five-year, $25-million deal that will take him through the 2012-13 season. The guy who had hoped for a long-term deal since setting foot in Dallas finally got one. Even better, his financial security was set in a fair-weather city.

Hello, Bentley.

“I figure if I’m going to buy my first car, might as well get the right one. I guess it was well-deserved,” Ribeiro said with a smile. “So I decided to go with that.”

Dallas Stars center Mike Ribeiro posing in exclusive photo shoot for The Fourth Period Magazine.The car is fitting to Ribeiro on and off the clock. On the ice, Ribeiro’s known as a slick player with nifty moves and stylish goals. Off the ice, Ribeiro has always had an eye for fitting his personal style, from the snazziest suits to the basic T-shirt and jeans: or as basic as a millionaire’s T-shirt and jeans can be.

And with his contract, Ribeiro can truly have some fun. The Bentley is obviously the big-ticket item. His left ear, which he said has been pierced since he was 8 or 9 years old, now has a real diamond in it. His many suits come from some of his favourite top-dollar shops, including Armani, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.

But it’s never unusual to see Ribeiro sporting the casual look, especially on practice days. So, no, not everything he has comes out of the Louis Vuitton catalogue.

“I think when I was younger it was all about the label, the names. If I had the chance to buy it, I would. Now, not so much,” Ribeiro said. “You have kids, a (tough) economy. And I’m the kind of guy who likes to buy it and wear it a lot. I’ll put it aside, and in two years I’ll see it in the closet and decide to wear it again. I keep my stuff around for a while.”

Ribeiro said he started on the road to his personal style when he was growing up in Montreal. Sure, the city offers plenty for the fashion-minded, and is a shopping-lover’s dream. But Ribeiro’s tutelage began at home under the watchful eyes of his two older sisters.

“They loved to dress up, loved to get ready before they went out,” he said. “I was the youngest, so I saw that and tried to dress up, too, tried to look good. I think I didn’t do a bad job.

“They always made sure I looked all right,” Ribeiro added. “Then that job went to my wife (Tamara).”

Come summer time, Ribeiro and the family head for vacations. Maybe it’s because of all those snowy winters in Montreal or maybe it’s just a personal preference, but Ribeiro is a beach guy. He and his family have two favourite destinations: Jamaica and Mexico, with Jamaica being a regular stop every other summer.

But the Ribeiros take as much in at their vacation spot as possible.

“We’ve just been going since Mikael was 6 months old,” Ribeiro said of his eldest son, who is now 9 years old. “We’ll do all the cities, then go to the Bahamas and go through all the cities there. It’s the same (when we go to) Mexico.”

As for overseas travel, specifically Europe, “we’ll wait until the kids are older until we do that.”

Ribeiro does enjoy his hockey travels, and considers New York to be his favourite in-season destination. His hometown of Montreal, Toronto and Chicago are also near the top of that list. Ribeiro, like many of his teammates, does appreciate a good dinner on the road. Wine? Well, unlike fellow Stars centre Brad Richards, Ribeiro is not really a connoisseur – “I’m not really into wine; but I know what I need to know.”

No, when Ribeiro hits the road he also hits the stores.

“What else is there to do?” he asked. “A lot of times we’re in pretty nice cities for that, so you go for a walk and do a little shopping.”

But even on his shopping excursions, his family comes first. He’s the father of two boys (Mikael, 9, and Noah, 4) and a girl (Viktoria, 3), and picking up something for them is always first priority. Ribeiro said all three have been bitten by the fashion bug, and all try to look their best. That’s especially true of his little girl.

“My little girl is a real girl. She’ll get her nails done every once in a while, do some shopping,” Ribeiro said. “With the two boys, I didn’t know if she was going to be a tomboy or something. But she’s definitely all girl.”

Ribeiro’s numbers on the ice earned him big digits off it, and he’s enjoying the fruits of that labour. It’s afforded him a sweet lifestyle; a dream life, really.

“It is,” Ribeiro admitted. “But when you have children, it’s mostly for them.”

Yes. But at the same time, just a little bit of it may also be for the suave kid in Ribeiro.

Dallas Stars center Mike Ribeiro feature for The Fourth Period Magazine.


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