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Old
01-27-2010, 08:56 AM
  #101
Trumanperro
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Originally Posted by clevelandcrusaders82 View Post
Joel Rechlicz is probably the only pro that 90 percent of us in here are better than hands down.
Yea right... I know this was probably a joke, but, I seen him play, a lot and I know that in the NHL he plays his roll and thats it. But he's a competant AHL'r ie, much better than me or any other run of the mill player.

That said Jim Dowd and Bruce Driver both play in LHL's around NJ and their forced to play goalie because the walk all over everyone. Just amazing.

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01-27-2010, 08:57 AM
  #102
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Played pick up with Ken Baumgartner, and was one of the most skilled players I have ever seen, also one of the nicest guys i have ever met

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01-27-2010, 12:07 PM
  #103
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One time someone who had played in the ECHL showed up to a pick-up game here. I was playing with him and he passed it to me and I guess I wasn't used to having people pass the puck that hard, it knocked the stick out of my hands. Just exagerrating, but the guy was literally passing harder than most of us shoot.

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01-27-2010, 02:20 PM
  #104
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Originally Posted by POW66 View Post
This is a good thread. A lot of people don't realize how much of a jump there is from level to level in hockey. I'll give you guys a quick timeline here;

When I was 14-15 I played AAA in London, ON. Got drafted to the O and went to the teams orientation camp. At this point, you don't know many of the guys names, and most of you are 16-17. The skill level is pretty close for people who were drafted as scorers and then you have people on the same skill level that were drafted to be fighters, or defensive d-men, etc..., but you can tell some guys are just built better at this point and that gives them a clear edge. The competition there was pretty good. I was lucky to be about 6' feet tall and about 165 lbs by that age, so I had the size to not get rocked too hard, but the guys who were a year older and had been drafted the year before, but not made the big club yet stood out a lot.

That year I started the season playing junior B in St Thomas, and that was the first time I sat back in my career and went 'Holy ****, I had better keep my head up'. The jump from AAA to junior where you are playing guys that are anywhere from 16 to 21 is ridiculous. Most of the guys did this as a side job for fun, being 19 or 20 while some of us were placed here because St T. has some affiliation with some junior A teams. I was in the top 3 scorers on my AAA team the year before, on a team that is perrenially a top-3 team along with Elgin and another stand-out, and for the first 10 games, I got either 4th line minutes, or no minutes and was trying very hard just to keep up. Where I really benefited at that time was the practice where you just learn things from the other guys.

I got more decent playing time and got 3rd line minutes by about the 15th game in and levelled out there until the 26th game of the season where I got lucky and was called up to the O due to injuries on the big club. I was there only for insurance issues and finished out the season playing only 3 games, which I managed to survive.

This jump is the one that makes you see how good you have to be to really make it. I'll tell you all right now what it is. Quickness. The quickness of everything; Your skating, decision making, HOW FAST YOU CAN GET A GOOD SHOT OFF (probably THE most important). You want to be able to put it near the cross-bar from the opposing goal line in practice if you don't want to get chirped about having a muffin for a shot.

Anyways, from there I progressed and played out 2 and a half full seasons of junior, spoke to some GMs after not getting a look at all in my first year of draft elligibility, but still didn't get taken after my second year in the draft. Got lucky that season and got a try-out contract with the Minnesota wild and was invited to their prospect camp in Traverse city. These tournaments are basically OHL all-star games with some talent from europe fused in there from the draft and plugs like me on the 4th line trying to make some kind of impact. From there I went to their rookie-camp in late august and saw an even bigger jump in talent. Here we had guys who were 23, who had been playing in the A but couldn't crack the big leagues yet, and I can tell you. Because of the size and skill they brought, they were at that point about 10 times better than anyone but the TOP END talent in the OHL at that time (Gagner, Kosti, etc...), and pretty much ran through us younger guys.

Of course I didn't make the team, and got sent back to my OHL team to play a season as an over-ager. I played there and after the season was done, got invited to a try-out by two ECHL teams, Florida and Victoria. I made one and played 1st and 2nd line minutes for a season, with one AHL call up (where I make an extra $75 a week to get dangled and softened up in practice for a week and a game, woo!) making an ok salary, but decided that I needed stability because making 32000 a year wont cut it when I wasn't able to play at my highest level in 7 or 8 years.

So basically, a re-cap. I played pretty much the highest level possible my entire life growing up. I had good size, a good head for the game, and decent skills. I was dominant in AAA, played well as a rookie in junior-B, levelled out to a pretty good player in Major Junior, but got almost no looks to even be a late draftee. I was an average to below average player in the prospects tournament and rookie camps and when I hit 21, I think I peaked early because I played probably about 3 times better than I ever have that one season in the Coast and all it got me was about 2 months on the first line, a call-up because some of the better players couldn't get called up due to contractual obligations and a bus-ride home at the end of the season with my twigs and hockey bag. And I can tell you, I always worked hard in practice, and in games, but when it comes down to it, some guys are just born with this skill a step above 99% of all the other guys who give 20 years of their lives to hockey. That 1% is the guys you see in the NHL right now.

Awesome post. Thanks for writing all that out, very well written and very very informative.

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Old
01-27-2010, 03:18 PM
  #105
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Trying to play agt. pros always reminds me of that scene in "Rounders" where that naive couple sits down at the poker table to play agt. Mike, Knish and their friends and thinks it is a regular game like they play on the weekend with their friends... they simply have no clue they don't stand a chance...

I have had experiences playing agt. some pros in both ice and roller hockey and it was pretty interesting, yet humbling...

I used to play in a Summer roller league with players from the old RHI (roller hockey int). I was able to keep up with the pros and even turned a few of them inside out.

All of these guys had an ice hockey background: div 1, IHL, ECHL, Jrs. etc etc.

One day one of the guys on my team asked if I played ice and said they needed a few good extra players for a pickup game they were playing...

I got schooled big time. The same guys I was blowing around on roller blades, were half trying and eating me alive on ice.

The funniest thing is, many of them said they were scrubs on their pro teams in the past. And they made me look like a scrub.

And to make it even funnier, alot of time in regular ice leagues and pickup games, other players ask me if I played professionally.

I always feel badly telling them I blow compared to most people out there... because if I am schooling them, they can only imagine what players are like who abuse me.

Their strength, skating and decision making are all above what most people have ever experienced. It is very intimidating and mind boggling... believe me.

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Old
01-27-2010, 03:37 PM
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by POW66 View Post
This is a good thread. A lot of people don't realize how much of a jump there is from level to level in hockey. I'll give you guys a quick timeline here;

When I was 14-15 I played AAA in London, ON. Got drafted to the O and went to the teams orientation camp. At this point, you don't know many of the guys names, and most of you are 16-17. The skill level is pretty close for people who were drafted as scorers and then you have people on the same skill level that were drafted to be fighters, or defensive d-men, etc..., but you can tell some guys are just built better at this point and that gives them a clear edge. The competition there was pretty good. I was lucky to be about 6' feet tall and about 165 lbs by that age, so I had the size to not get rocked too hard, but the guys who were a year older and had been drafted the year before, but not made the big club yet stood out a lot.

That year I started the season playing junior B in St Thomas, and that was the first time I sat back in my career and went 'Holy ****, I had better keep my head up'. The jump from AAA to junior where you are playing guys that are anywhere from 16 to 21 is ridiculous. Most of the guys did this as a side job for fun, being 19 or 20 while some of us were placed here because St T. has some affiliation with some junior A teams. I was in the top 3 scorers on my AAA team the year before, on a team that is perrenially a top-3 team along with Elgin and another stand-out, and for the first 10 games, I got either 4th line minutes, or no minutes and was trying very hard just to keep up. Where I really benefited at that time was the practice where you just learn things from the other guys.

I got more decent playing time and got 3rd line minutes by about the 15th game in and levelled out there until the 26th game of the season where I got lucky and was called up to the O due to injuries on the big club. I was there only for insurance issues and finished out the season playing only 3 games, which I managed to survive.

This jump is the one that makes you see how good you have to be to really make it. I'll tell you all right now what it is. Quickness. The quickness of everything; Your skating, decision making, HOW FAST YOU CAN GET A GOOD SHOT OFF (probably THE most important). You want to be able to put it near the cross-bar from the opposing goal line in practice if you don't want to get chirped about having a muffin for a shot.

Anyways, from there I progressed and played out 2 and a half full seasons of junior, spoke to some GMs after not getting a look at all in my first year of draft elligibility, but still didn't get taken after my second year in the draft. Got lucky that season and got a try-out contract with the Minnesota wild and was invited to their prospect camp in Traverse city. These tournaments are basically OHL all-star games with some talent from europe fused in there from the draft and plugs like me on the 4th line trying to make some kind of impact. From there I went to their rookie-camp in late august and saw an even bigger jump in talent. Here we had guys who were 23, who had been playing in the A but couldn't crack the big leagues yet, and I can tell you. Because of the size and skill they brought, they were at that point about 10 times better than anyone but the TOP END talent in the OHL at that time (Gagner, Kosti, etc...), and pretty much ran through us younger guys.

Of course I didn't make the team, and got sent back to my OHL team to play a season as an over-ager. I played there and after the season was done, got invited to a try-out by two ECHL teams, Florida and Victoria. I made one and played 1st and 2nd line minutes for a season, with one AHL call up (where I make an extra $75 a week to get dangled and softened up in practice for a week and a game, woo!) making an ok salary, but decided that I needed stability because making 32000 a year wont cut it when I wasn't able to play at my highest level in 7 or 8 years.

So basically, a re-cap. I played pretty much the highest level possible my entire life growing up. I had good size, a good head for the game, and decent skills. I was dominant in AAA, played well as a rookie in junior-B, levelled out to a pretty good player in Major Junior, but got almost no looks to even be a late draftee. I was an average to below average player in the prospects tournament and rookie camps and when I hit 21, I think I peaked early because I played probably about 3 times better than I ever have that one season in the Coast and all it got me was about 2 months on the first line, a call-up because some of the better players couldn't get called up due to contractual obligations and a bus-ride home at the end of the season with my twigs and hockey bag. And I can tell you, I always worked hard in practice, and in games, but when it comes down to it, some guys are just born with this skill a step above 99% of all the other guys who give 20 years of their lives to hockey. That 1% is the guys you see in the NHL right now.
Propably the best post i have ever read on the entire forum, thank you for taking the time!

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Old
01-27-2010, 08:34 PM
  #107
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Originally Posted by MJAYK View Post
Propably the best post i have ever read on the entire forum, thank you for taking the time!
I agree!

A great post, depressing for those of us still trying to make it

But great!

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Old
01-27-2010, 09:16 PM
  #108
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To stay sharp in the summer I play in the summer league at the 4 pad here and we have a few NHL'ers that come out to play around, the likes of Cal Clutterbuck, Kevin Bieksa and Dan Girardi... all local boys. It's outrageous when these guys turn on the jets. Usually they float around, scoring a few goals here and there, but sometimes when people try to show them up, they shift it into high gear and it's something to see. 3-4 goals in a shift. Just wild. I play university hockey and they absolutely destroy me. They're professionals for a reason.

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Old
01-28-2010, 01:08 AM
  #109
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One of my team mates on my college team skated with Mike Rupp over the summer in Erie, PA.

He said it was the most unreal set of skill he's ever seen. Huge body, excellent skater, unreal shot. And he was just screwing around.

Mike freaking Rupp. These guys are in the NHL for a reason.

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Old
01-28-2010, 01:27 AM
  #110
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Even bad NHL players are INSANELY good. However, that is not true of far lesser leagues like the ECHL and some of the smaller Euro leagues. Obviously, a good ECHL player is going to be very good, but you get the idea. D-1 players are also NASTY.

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Old
01-28-2010, 02:28 AM
  #111
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I agree!

A great post, depressing for those of us still trying to make it

But great!
Sorry.

But hey, you never know when you'll hit a stride and sky-rocket. Guys that started off worse than me made it much farther. There is a lot of learning to be done from 10 until, well, when you retire.

Seguin didn't score a goal for his first 14 games in the O.

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Old
01-28-2010, 02:37 AM
  #112
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I sometimes play with the "A" league players around here and even though most the players are without a doubt better than me I can usually keep up with the pace of the game and not look totally like I don't belong. Well one day I went to open hockey and a group of kids who were playing juniors in Canada and the US were there. Not sure exactly who they played for but I overheard one guy say one of the players played for Shattucks St. Marys. Anyways these kids blew away even "A" league competition. I got dangled all day. The most amazing and tough part about defending them (I'm a Dman) was how good they were at handling the puck and changing directions on a dime with the puck. Right when I would think I had them covered and would make an aggressive move they would cut in the other direction so quickly I couldn't recover in time. These kids were probably 16-20 years old! Amazing.

Also, I played against one guy in beer league here who played D1 college hockey (Air Force) and also played briefly in the ECHL. He wasn't even trying. All he did the whole game was toe drag people while not even moving fast and set people up. The game was tied 4-4 in the last minute and that is the only time I saw him turn the jets on. He came at me 100 miles per hour and obviously with the intention to score and I got lucky and poke checked him while he tried to toe drag me. It was a risky play as if I would have missed he would have been gone. Then I won it for me team in the Shootout. The guy was cool and didn't shoot in the shootout. It just amazed me that here was this guy who obviously wasn't even trying and he still blew me right out of the water. Humbling experience.

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Old
01-28-2010, 06:18 AM
  #113
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Being from Newfoundland, the NHL guy's from here come home all the time. I've played with/against Ryane Clowe, Michael Ryder, and even enforcers like Darren Langdon and Terry Ryan, and they completely blow by everybody. They way the execute everything is just so much different than any of the amateur guys, from their strides to passing. It's a great experience to play with them though, but like Hrad said, it's kind of depressing.

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01-28-2010, 07:59 AM
  #114
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Another story I was just reminded of...

I had a friend, Ben, who grew up playing roller hockey his entire life (never played ice).

He won a bunch of MVPs in traveling tourneys sponsored by Mission, CCM, etc etc. He even tried out for the Phantoms of the RHI and made the team, but the pay was too low, so he had to get a real job.

He was probably the sickest roller hockey player I ever saw.

In the Summer of 2000 I believe, he was playing in the NHL breakout tournament in Pittsburgh and Orpik was in town for his rookie orientation, and he was asked to play in this tourney by the Pens I believe, as a PR move.

Orpik had never been on rollerblades before and my buddy said he dominated the tournament.

Ben was put back on defense by his team to try and slow Orpik down (he was playing fwd) and he said he thought he did a good job of shutting him down... he only scored 6 goals agt. his team!

I asked him how he considered that a good job, and he said if their regular D-men had been playing agt. Orpik, he would of got at least twice as many goals...

He said he was almost impossible to stop... this coming from a guy who grew up playing roller hockey his entire life, who dominated in national tournaments and Orpik had never been on rollerblades before.

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01-28-2010, 10:36 AM
  #115
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A few years ago my neighbour's son was playing ball hockey across the end of our street with a few of his friends from school. I would guess they were about 10 or 11 at the time. I was doing yard work and not paying much attention and my neighbour's boy asked if I wanted to play to even up the numbers. "Yeah sure", I said, "I'll show you kids a few things". So I go and grab an old stick out of the garage. Well all the boys were pretty good and to be honest I am not much of a player, but thought we could have some fun, they were only little kids afterall. Anyway there was this one scrawny blond kid, "Stevie" who just kept beating me. He was a nice kid, but I'm a competitive kind of guy and the more I tried to beat him the more he humiliated me, much to his buddies amusement. After about 20 minutes, I am about ready to have a heart attack and we are losing by at least a squillion goals, so I call it quits and go inside for a beer and a lie down. Questioning whether I ever had any athletic ability!

Anyway it wasn't until a few years later that I was reading about the upcoming NHL draft prospects and see little blond haired "Stevie" staring back at me. I finally connected the dots. Yes that scrawny kid was Steven Stamkos of the Markham Waxers, Sarnia Sting and soon to be number 1 pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
I like to think my lessons in the fine art of ball hockey that day, made him the great player he went on to become.

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01-28-2010, 11:21 AM
  #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The ORB View Post
A few years ago my neighbour's son was playing ball hockey across the end of our street with a few of his friends from school. I would guess they were about 10 or 11 at the time. I was doing yard work and not paying much attention and my neighbour's boy asked if I wanted to play to even up the numbers. "Yeah sure", I said, "I'll show you kids a few things". So I go and grab an old stick out of the garage. Well all the boys were pretty good and to be honest I am not much of a player, but thought we could have some fun, they were only little kids afterall. Anyway there was this one scrawny blond kid, "Stevie" who just kept beating me. He was a nice kid, but I'm a competitive kind of guy and the more I tried to beat him the more he humiliated me, much to his buddies amusement. After about 20 minutes, I am about ready to have a heart attack and we are losing by at least a squillion goals, so I call it quits and go inside for a beer and a lie down. Questioning whether I ever had any athletic ability!

Anyway it wasn't until a few years later that I was reading about the upcoming NHL draft prospects and see little blond haired "Stevie" staring back at me. I finally connected the dots. Yes that scrawny kid was Steven Stamkos of the Markham Waxers, Sarnia Sting and soon to be number 1 pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
I like to think my lessons in the fine art of ball hockey that day, made him the great player he went on to become.
Isn't it pretty cool to realize that you use to know somebody who's now famous?

My mom's friend's neighbour used to be Jason Spezza's mom. (not sure if he lived with her or not)

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01-28-2010, 01:03 PM
  #117
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Pow66 thanks for sharing, great story. This is the greatest thread ever. Lets keep it going. (funny story also ORB)

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01-28-2010, 01:09 PM
  #118
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Minor league goalies are very, very good. I sometimes wonder how anyone scores on NHL goalies, it just shows how good the players are. Even the tough guys have great hands compared to non-pros.

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01-28-2010, 05:09 PM
  #119
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Minor league goalies are very, very good. I sometimes wonder how anyone scores on NHL goalies, it just shows how good the players are. Even the tough guys have great hands compared to non-pros.
Funny story about that; back in Midget we had former NHL fourth liner Bill Berg (You probably havent heard of him, played for the Leafs/Rangers/Isles/Sens to name a few) out at our practises running the conditioning drills and as a pro playing with other NHL'ers it looked liked he had cement in his gloves. When he would join the scrimmage with us it was out of this world how well he could handle the puck, especially for a guy who was known purely for hitting and fighting. If you play in the NHL on a consistent basis then you're pretty damn good.

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01-31-2010, 02:35 AM
  #120
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This guy my Mom works with was telling me him and his friends who are in their early 20's played against Colin Wilson. They told me they threw 3 to 4 guys on him and were not able to get the puck from him. And of course Colin was just playing around with them.

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01-31-2010, 07:00 AM
  #121
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imagine Alexander Ovechkin in a beer league right now !

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01-31-2010, 12:10 PM
  #122
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Originally Posted by The ORB View Post
A few years ago my neighbour's son was playing ball hockey across the end of our street with a few of his friends from school. I would guess they were about 10 or 11 at the time. I was doing yard work and not paying much attention and my neighbour's boy asked if I wanted to play to even up the numbers. "Yeah sure", I said, "I'll show you kids a few things". So I go and grab an old stick out of the garage. Well all the boys were pretty good and to be honest I am not much of a player, but thought we could have some fun, they were only little kids afterall. Anyway there was this one scrawny blond kid, "Stevie" who just kept beating me. He was a nice kid, but I'm a competitive kind of guy and the more I tried to beat him the more he humiliated me, much to his buddies amusement. After about 20 minutes, I am about ready to have a heart attack and we are losing by at least a squillion goals, so I call it quits and go inside for a beer and a lie down. Questioning whether I ever had any athletic ability!

Anyway it wasn't until a few years later that I was reading about the upcoming NHL draft prospects and see little blond haired "Stevie" staring back at me. I finally connected the dots. Yes that scrawny kid was Steven Stamkos of the Markham Waxers, Sarnia Sting and soon to be number 1 pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
I like to think my lessons in the fine art of ball hockey that day, made him the great player he went on to become.
That's perhaps the most unique story I've heard in a while. Awesome.

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01-31-2010, 07:19 PM
  #123
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Don't have any real hockey stories, more basketball down here. Had a friend in college telling us about this time he played in high school against a guy whose name I forget but he later played at Duke and then the NBA for awhile. At halftime the guy had 20 points. He says, "Coach, I'm getting killed. Take me out." Coach says "no, you're doing pretty good, keep it up." My 6 foot 6 brother-in law also played private high school basketball and has similar stories of guys that'd go on to the ACC.

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02-06-2010, 12:58 PM
  #124
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I played in Div 2 beer league in montreal, pretty good league with the odd washed up draftee from the 70's A couple of our guys were late cuts from a CIS team. Me and a the other guys would have been late cut types if our school had 2 or maybe 3 teams.

Two stories. We had this ringer play with us once and a while, Gold Chains we called him because of his greased back hair and, well, the thick gold chains he wore outside his jersey. He was a good guy and an even better hockey player, said he was projected to go around 4th round by the Central Scouting Bureau in his draft year about 4 years prior, but everyone passed him by after he blew out his knee, apparently. He had recently spent a half season playing in Italy.

Anyway, his speed and shot were like nothing I had seen before. Everything was so effortless and fluent it was really something to watch. He could skate through opposition at will, dangle until us hacks got into position and then pretty much deflect it off our sticks and in, every time. He could step across the blue line and wire it shelf, every time. It was unbelievable and this was against some half decent competition.

Anyway, we had this 60% rule, where subs couldn't score more than 60% of our points. I was captain and once when I was in the box I checked out the score sheet and noticed that he was in on like 4 of our 6 goals, around that 60% mark. Right then he was going down ice shorthanded and whipped right passed the box and so I yelled at him not to score. He hit the brakes looked at me and said "What, why not?" The other team closed in on him and he dangled along the boards right in front of me for like 10 seconds while I explained to him the 60% rule. He rolled his eyes and dumped it in and went for a change.

The next PKers out got a shorthanded goal, putting us further from the 60% rule. He came back out while I was still in the box. It was like the exact same rush as before. He was ripping down the wing shorthanded, skated by me in the box. This time he stopped, looked at me and said "Can I score now?" I said "Yeah, now its cool." The other team closed in on him, he dangled out of it and went right down and scored. It was pretty funny.

Gold Chains also trained with this girl who was pretty impressive. She was 17 and had been recruited by a DIV 1 school in the states, one of the best Jr girls in the province and went on to play in that Telus league for women. She was unreal, at 17! She would get bumped around and her skills weren't totally through the roof but her hockey sense and skating allowed her to pretty much school everyone else. Borderline university players were taking notes form this 17 year old girl, it was crazy. Game after game she had to toe the line on that 60% rule too. This is in one of the best beer leagues in Montreal. She hasn't even made team Canada though and to be honest I'm shocked. It only goes to show how even the best women can make half decent players look like pylons.

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02-08-2010, 10:12 PM
  #125
Patchey*
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Gaylord, Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XxLidstromxX View Post
I played with Colton Gillies of the Minnesota Wild last summer. He was amazing, he may not be Ovechkin but wow he was so good. NHLers are the best out there, it may not look like it when they play each other but when you play them it's much different.
Thats crazy, I played with him too. He showed up to drop in at the ntr.

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