Friday, 1 February 2019

BETWEEN THE PIPES

The Mississauga Loblaws warehouse team photo taken in the early 1980s during a Loblaws tournament in Kingston, Ontario. I'm the goalie on the right, without the cigar. Check the hockey hair on some of my teammates.

Goaltending is a vital position in hockey, position that I played a lot growing up. Iall began when I was maybe four or five in Regina, Saskatchewan during the late-1950s. My dad flooded the back yard a couple of winters and made small rink for us kids in the neighborhood. I wanted to play goal, so my dad carved out a goalie stick made of plywood for me.  

Throughout grad
e school, I also played road hockey on vacant lots, almost always in net. I didn’t mind goal because it gave me the opportunity to play with guys older and bigger than me. In my later grade school years, I played outdoor ice hockey in what was called the Regina City Parks LeagueAgain in goaland again against players older than me. It always made me feel special playing with the older guys, especially my teammates who protected me and encouraged me. 

U
p until 13, I played without a mask. At that time, most NHL goalies didn’t wear face gear, so why should I? That was until a puck smacked me square on the left cheek bone just below my eye.  I shocked my parents as soon as I got home because my eye had swollen so bad that I could not see out of it at all. Next day, my dad, fearing a broken bone, took me to our family doctor. By then the left side of my face had turned a dark red and had swelled even more. The doctor took one look at me, and said with a grin, “That looks one of the shiners I used to get.” I wonder to this day what he had done to deserve such beatings. After x-rays, I had no breaks, thankfully. 

For the next few weeks, the left side of my fac
e up to my eye had turned every color of the rainbow--pretty red, blue, and yellow huesIt took about four days before I could see out of it again. I went back to school after a week and returned to playing a week after that--with a clear plastic mask that my parents purchased at a downtown sporting goods store. 

Moving along
I didn’t play competitive hockey in an indoor venue until I was 17 (tell that to a kid today), when I suited up for a tryout with the Regina Silver Foxes of the four-team Saskatchewan South-Central Junior B League in late-fall 1969It was my last year of high school and I had heard the Foxes needed a second goalie. By then I had a custom-made mask that I had designed myself off a local dentist’s impression of my face: This came about when I bought one of those kits that contained a piece of fibred cloth and a two-part epoxy glue. Within minutes, I had cut out a fiberglass mask for myself
remember my first game for the Silver Foxes. It was against the Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, a forty minute drive south of Regina. More familiar with smaller venuesI could not believe the size of the Wilcox rink. I heard later that it was the third largest ice surface in the world. I couldn’t believe the size of the Notre Dame players, too. They were huge. And the Hounds used the rink to their advantage by firing the puck off the boards or straight up center, thus sending their speedy wingers streaking down on me in seconds 

In the first period, t
he Hounds scored five goals to one of ours. The fans chanting, “Sieve, sieve, sieve,” didn’t help, either, but the coach didn’t yank me. By the end of the second period, I was getting the hang of it and we were down only 6-5. We ended up losing 7-6, but the coach and GM thought I did a pretty good jobSo, I made the team. 

Photos of me during a warmup before a pickup game in Waterdown, Ontario, 1986.

In the same league were the Weyburn Beavers. Their best player was Tiger Williams, by far the dirtiest person I had ever played against and the most-hated in the entire league. In one of the games, he speared one of our players, Glenn Styles, into the boards. Glenn got even the very next game. He and Tiger both dropped the gloves to the right of me near the face-off circle. Glenn hit Tiger so hard and so fast that I can’t remember Tiger even getting a punch in. After the linesman broke it up, Tiger didn’t know what province he was in. Following the game, while leaving the dressing room, there was Tiger--bloody and both eyes shut--being helped onto his own bus by two teammates. Did we feel bad for him? Well… 

Tiger 
went on to play with the Junior A Swift Current Broncos of the WCJHL where he scored lots of goals and spent a lot of time in the penalty box. Three years later, in 1974, he was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round, 31st overall. That same day, following the draft, during a TV interview that I saw on CBC, he was asked how he felt about his new team. Tiger replied that he was ready to work hard and jump right to the Leafs. No minor leagues for him, by golly 

Then the reporter 
reminded him that he was a tough guy (yeah, as if he didn’t know that already) and asked would he continue in that same mode as a Leaf? To which Tiger replied, “Sure, I’m a tough guy. But back in Saskatchewan a player beat me up so badly that he shut both my eyes.”  That was awfully big of Tiger admitting such a thing. 

We met the 
Notre Dame Hounds in the first round of the playoffs that 1969-70 season and upset them in back-to-back games of a best-of-three series. The second game was the most memorable, a contest held at Al Ritchie Arena in Regina. There, I had another bad start, letting in five goals in the first 20 minutes, but by the end of the second period we were tied 7-7.  

Dur
ing the second period, I was the victim of what must be the longest goal ever scored on a goalie inside this continent. It all started when one of the Hounds’ defenseman circled his own net and from somewhere near his left faceoff circle took a slapshot just to get rid of puckThe puck must have soared 12 feet high as it approached center ice. There I was in the other end trying to pick up the flight of this missile against the darkened corner of the brick wall in the far end. I lost the puck for a second then picked it too late as it came out of the shadows 

Meanwhile, 
I moved out a few feet in front of the creasehoping for it to drop, then watched in horror as the puck sailed over my right shoulder and into the net behind me. You could hear a pin drop in the place for a few seconds before the visiting Hounds fans belted out a roar while our fans groaned.  had just let in a 200-foot goal! 

After sixty mi
nutes, we were tied 9-9. No defense anywhere that night. By league rules, we were set for 10 minutes of overtime. If still tied, then we’d be facing sudden death. We ended up scoring twice and winning 11-9. We outshot the Hounds something like 82-56, from what I can remember. The weirdest game I had ever played in. 

The next season, the Silver Foxes moved up to 
Tier II Junior A, where I played four or five games before heading back to a Junior B team called the Regina Kings, by my own accord. I couldn’t take the bus travel all over the province in Junior A because I was working full-time by then. With the Kings, I recall a game in Moose Jaw against the Canucks. Future NHLers, power forward Clark Gillies and goalie Ed Staniowski were on the club then. I actually stopped Gillies on a breakaway when he tried to deke me. 

A few years later, I married and moved to Ontario where I played some pic
kup hockey before quitting the game for good in my late-30s. And I’m glad I did before any serious injuries resultedToday, I’m still working at 67, a house painterI need my knees, along with back, arms, and hands. Thinking back on it now, and after seeing so many high-speed body checks and so forth when I played, I had always found that playing goal was much safer than the other positions. 

And, oh, the goalie equipment today…
so much better, more protective and lighter than when I played. And the size of those catching gloves! 

2 comments:

  1. شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض
    تعد شركة الصفا كلين افضل شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض فهى تتصدر في المرتبة الاولى لكونها افضل شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالمملكة بأكملها لسنا الوحيدون ولكننا المتميزون.

    شركة تركيب باركية بالرياض
    افضل شركة تركيب باركية بالرياض تقدم شركة الصفا كلين للخدمات المنزلية بالرياض لعملائها الكرام خدمة تركيب الباركية على يد اكبر المهندسين والفنين ذو الخبرة والكفائة العالية فشركتنا تعمل دائما على تقديم افضل الخدمات لارضاء عملائها الكرام.

    شركة تنظيف المنازل بالرياض
    جميعنا نعلم ان تنظيف المنازل امر شاق ومتعب خاصة على السيدات وبصفة خاصة السيدات الذين يعملن فهن ليس لديهم الوقت الكافى للتنظيف والعمل وايضا من لديهم اطفال لذا نقدم لكم افضل شركة تنظيف المنازل بالرياض تعمل شركتنا جاهدة على راحة وارضاء عملائها عن طريق استخدام افضل اساليب التنظيف واحدث الادوات والمعدات المتواجدة فى الاسواق فنحن وبفضل الله ثم فريق العمل الموجود لدينا افضل شركة تنظيف المنازل بالرياض .

    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
    الحشرات من اسوء الاشياء التى يمكن ان تزعج ربات المنازل وايضا تشكل خطرا كبيرة على صحتنا وصحة اطفالنا لذا فنحن في شركة الصفا كلين نعمل جاهدين لنخلصكم من الحشرات المزعجة والضارة بصحتك عميلانا العزيز وصحة اسرتك الكريمة.

    شركة نقل عفش بالرياض
    نقدم لكم عملائنا الكرام افضل شركة نقل عفش بالرياض تعد شركتنا من افضل شركات المملكة فشركتنا تمتلك افضل فريق عمل جاهز ومدرب على اعلى مستوى وايضا تمتلك احدث الشاحنات والكنترات العملاقة التى تستخدم فى نقل الاثاث وايضا مجهزة من الداخل حتى تحمى الاثاث من اي ضرر او خدوش او كسور لان الاثاث يحتاج الى عناية خاصة وبشكل خاص الزجاج فهو من اكثر الاشياء التى تحتاج الى الاهتمام عند نقل الاثاث داخل او خارج الرياض.

    شركه تنظيف موكيت بالرياض
    الموكيت من اهم الاشياء التى تعطى منظر جماليا لمنزلك سيدتى فالموكيت يحتاج الى عناية واهتمام بمظهرة وشكلة حتى يكون واجهة مشرفة لكى امام ضيوفك فالموكيت من اكثر الاشياء التى تحتاج الى التنظيف ولكن ليس بشكل مستمر حتى لا يتلف ويتأكل فنحن افضل شركه تنظيف موكيت بالرياض .

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  2. شركة تسليك مجاري بالرياض
    شركة الصفا كلين تقدم لكم خدمة تسليك المجاري بافضل ادوات التسليك فشركتنا تحتل المرتبة الاولى بين جميع شركات المملكة فهى افضل شركة تسليك مجاري بالرياض على الاطلاق حيث يوجد لدينا افضل فريق عمل بالرياض وليس بالرياض فقط بل بجميع انحاء المملكة العربية السعودية .

    شركه عزل خزانات بالرياض
    تعد شركتنا افضل شركه عزل خزانات بالرياض لاننا منذ زمن طويل نعمل بهذة المهنة ولدينا الخبرة الكافية لاداء اي عمل مهما كانت صعوبتة او مهما كان مدى خطورتة فنحن نثق بشكتنا وبفريق عملنا لاننا من افضل شركات عزل الخزانات بالرياض.

    شركه عزل مسابح بالرياض
    شركة عزل مسابح بالرياض من افضل شركات عزل المسابح بجميع انحاء المملكة فشركتنا لديها افضل ادوات العوازل فشركتنا تعد افضل شركه عزل مسابح بالرياض

    شركه مكافحه النمل الابيض بالرياض
    النمل الابيض من اخطر الحشرات التى يمكنها تدمير المنزل بأكملة وايضا تدمير الاثاث ويشكل ايضا خطورة على صحة الاطفال لذالك شركه مكافحه النمل الابيض بالرياض تقدم اليكم افضل الحلول للتخلص من النمل الابيض بشكل نهائي فشركتنا تستعمل افضل انواع المبيدات الحشرية التى تقضي تماما على النمل الابيض وكثير من الحشرات الاخري.

    شركه تنظيف خزانات بالرياض
    افضل شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض شركة الصفا كلين لتنظيف الخزانات بالرياض بل بالمملكة العربية السعودية بأكملها.

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