My next story - and this is more of a combination of 3 stories...but wahtever...haha..
Anyways, it was my first year of Midget...for some cracked out reason, I decided I was going to try out for the Midget AAA team, having never played AAA before, just the odd house league allstar team...
Anyways, we go to the first meeting, and my dad and I are sitting there, and the coach is talking about how they annually take the team on a trip...blah blah blah...the previous year was to Quebec, and the year before that they had been to Germany and Switzerland. So I'm thinking that'd be cool....a trip would be awesome...then he announces that they've lined up a trip for a week and half to Sweden and Finland....and WOW...was I ever pumped. I hadn't even made the team, and I don't think I lost my smile all night...haha.
Anyways, the tryouts start, and everything is going well...I'd go home everynight and my dad would ask me, so did you get cut? and every time my answer was no...haha..I don't think he really believed me, but oh well. It didn't really hit him until he had to show up to pay for the carding etc...haha...that'll teach him! So I made the team. Coach had NO idea who I was before, but sure did afterwards.
Anyways....I've gotta go shower and get ready for school, so I'll be back with the rest of the story later...haha....
It was during the semis of my hometown Atom tournament. We were playing the top team in the league that year. They had only lost something like 1 or 2 games (on a 24 games schedule) and destroyed us everytime we played them. They had two guys that went on to play in the QMJHL (the goalie and an underaged forward), one still plays there. I played defense back then (switched to right wing the following year). So the game got underway and to our surprise, we were able to play on par with them. We scored early and we maintained that lead until 5 seconds before the end of the first, when they got a lucky goal. That fired them and they came back scoring 2 quick goals to start the second. They added another one midway through the period. With two minutes to go, we got a lucky break ; their goalie went to play the puck behind the net, fell down, we picked up the puck and burried it. We then proceded into the third feeling like it was our game even though we were trailing by 2. The first 10 minutes of the third were pretty slow, most of the play was taking place in the neutral zone. They then got a penalty and the face-off was in their own zone. We won it and I was able to get a pretty good shot that was deflected by a teamate to make it 4-3. 30 seconds later, we go in on a 2 on 1 and we score again. The score was 4-4 with 5 minutes to play. For the next three minutes, they pounded us, but our goalie saved the day a few times. With 1:30 to go, our coach called a change-up and I was left alone on the ice with 5 opponents while the changes were being made. I took the puck behind my own net, proceded to my blue line, deked their first two guys, out-sprinted two others and got a bit tangled up with the last man, but still managed to get by him and had a nice look on the net. I went top blocker side and to my surprised, the goalie did not stop it. For a second, I did not understood what had happenned, until my teamates jumped on me. So it was 5-4 with 1:15 to go. We went on to win that game and even though we lost in the finals, it still is a great memory. If you want to picture how my goal looked, the coach told me it reminded him of one of Larry Robinson's from an end to the other goals. Not that I'm even near this kind of talent, but sometimes you can that jump in your feet that you don't have a clue where it comes from.
I work for an organization that provides support to people with disabilities. We play a charity game annually against another organization.
The 3rd game of our charity games the other agency brought a young guy out with multiple disabilities to play. At the start of the second period they wheeled his chair into the front of the net. He had all the goalie equipment and probably the biggest smile I've ever seen. He was only going to play one whistle and out, but ended up playing about 5 minutes. I took the faceoff to the the period and we got the puck down into his end. His teammates seem to be a little over protective, but as usual, we had our way with them. We held nothing back. I got right in his face screening him (pretty much sitting on his knee) One of the guys on our team just rifled a slapshot right into his pads. I poked at the rebound and got it jammed into his spokes and the whistle blows. 2 shots, two saves and this guy is on top of the World. They decided to leave him in goal, the play goes on and a little later we get the puck back and are heading into their end. A guy from our agency crosses the blueline and just lets go a big slapshot that whistles right over this guys shoulder into the top corner. He is nearly booed out of the building, getting razzed from both benches about being a "superstar" . The guy felt bad but the young guy in goal was in absolute glory because he knew we weren't taking it easy on him and he was just another of the boys playing the game. He proably played half the period before getting pulled and receiving a standing ovation from the few hundred that attended. At the end of the game we all gathered around him for a big group photo.
After the game his brother came into our dressing room and thanked us for making his brother's dream come true. He was a 38 year old lifetime hockey fan who just experienced his dream. It turned out to be one of my favourite hockey moments as well.
I had a number if great experiences gorwing up playing the game from age 5 until I finished playing for Penn St.
Most fun/memorable would be winning the mid-atlantic regional as a bantam, and going to nationals as one of the 10 best teams in the country.
Most interesting to readers however would probably be the trip/hockey camp trip that I won in a raffle.
I was 15 years old, and it was 1990. Coca-cola was sponsoring the first ever Wayne Gretzky hockey camp.
They held a raffle in each of the NHL cities and 2 kids, aged 8-15 were chosen from each NHL city. I was one of the lucky ones to win from Philadelphia.
As the winner I was able to bring a guest (my Dad) and we got
Round Trip airfair to Toronto
Accomodations at one of the nicest Hotels in downtown toronto, i think it was the Westin
Autographed copy of Wayne's autobiography, which was coming out in a month
Professional black & white photo with Wayne
Video of the trip
The camp was 2 days, with 2 ice sessions each day, instruction in the Am and scrimmages at night. It wasn't the best instruction I've ever had, but at night during the scimmages we were broken into 4 teams, on 2 sheets of ice. During the night Wayne rotated playing in all 4 teams ... as did his special guest instructors: Kirk Muller, Ed Olczyk and Luc Robitaille. Playing a few shifts each night with Gretzy is something I'll never forget, especially him setting me up for a goal. Walter Gretzky was also there and very active helping out and playing, this was before his stroke.
One highlight that stands out, was Wayne after instructing on slapshots had a few pucks with him standing at the blueline. The net at the far end had a shooter tutor, and he asked on of the kids to pick a hole. The kid picker the right hand top corner ... and Gretzky nailed it first shot from 120 feet.
One other different moment that I was lucky enough to be apart of:
The NHL all-star game was being held in Philadelphia in 1992. They wanted to do a dry run of the festivities, especially the skills compeition. They chose what they considered to be the 40 best high schoo hockey players from the area and invited them to the Spectrum the night before the skills competition.
When you got to the building you were assigned an NHL all-star. You were given a jersey and you did whatever that player was scheduled to do in the upcoming skills competiton.
They did all the lights and spotlights etc. and did all the intro's for each player and you skated onto the ice with the lights doen and spotlights on, fireworks going.
After that we did the full skills comp.
I was Jeremy Roenick, and got to do the puck control relay, fastest skater and the breakaway relay.
I didn't get to play hockey because my mom didn't want me playing with the boys. There was no girl teams where I was from back then. I did play ringette for the whole 2 years it lasted back then also. I was one of the best players on the team (so they tell me) I played centre and was the captain. We weren't very good so there really isn't any favorite moments I can think of. My lest favorite moment was when a 200+ lb chick skated over top of my pinky finger then she lost her footing and fell on top of me. Talk about painful. I also didn't have to wear hockey gloves, we only "had" to where winter gloves so that's all I was wearing when she skated over my finger.
That triple A tournament in Ridge Meadows that you mentioned...Did you mean spring? Because we played in one in the spring there, and there was a Czeck Republic team and the Calgary team which we held to a 4-1 score in the A final. We also won the semifinal in the shootout which was intense.
That was it...which team do you play for?
By the way...I forgot to mention, we entered that tournament with 8 players left on our roster and ended up with 5 (and a goaltender).
When I was playing for the Whitby Atom Major Selects (I was Minor age but they picked me up as their starting goaltender that year) we had a tournament scheduled for North York... Unfortunately, as the date of the tournament rolled closer it became evident that the tourny was in trouble because North York was in the middle of some kind of civic workers strike or something and seeing as the rink was owned by the city, the rink was shut down...
About a week before the tournament was set to start, Harold Ballard donated Maple Leaf Gardens for the weekend to allow us to have our tournament there... One of the only nice things the guy ever did during his life... We were thrilled... There I was at the age of 10 skating onto the ice at Maple Leaf Gardens! What a thrill... After the first day of games the Leafs had a practice that we all attended... We got autographs from Clark, Vaive, Bester, Wregget, Brophy, etc... We thought we were in heaven... A news crew came in to cover the story and took footage of us playing and interviewed us in the dressing room after the game... It was all shown on the nightly news... I can't remember the score of the championship game but I remember that I got a shutout and we won the tournament... It was a great experience...
Location: Halfway between Nothing and Not Much Else
I remember being in the Dairy Queen Shootout between periods of an Oilers-Jets game in 1984. It is a seriously spooky feeling getting out there to face breakaways in front of 9 or 10 thousand people when you're 10 years old. I stopped both of mine (one shot and one deke to the glove side) and my forward scored on one of his so we won.
The seats we got for the game were pretty bad, but we got stick carriers (which weren't big enough for a gaolie stick) and we got to watch the '84 Oilers come out of the dressing room long before that was a tradition at Oilers games. Pretty cool even for a Habs fan like me.