I’ll try to start this off with a little about me and why I have this website
At the time of this writing I’m in my mid-40’s…leaning toward the later end of that range. I’m married to a really great woman. I’m a father of 4 great kids. I’m an executive at a company I co-founded 15 years ago, then left, then came back. And I’m a hockey fan.
I have never been an athlete.
I’ve collected hockey “stuff” for years. It started mostly with collectable like bobble heads, pucks, and cards, then evolved into other items like vintage sticks and jerseys. Ultimately I came across goalie gear. That opened up a whole new world to me of collecting. Vintage goalie gear became the focus of my collecting very quickly to the point I’m no longer seeking out my past obsessions.
I’ve amassed a pretty nice collection of gear.
In late 2016 I decided, after a lifetime of never having actually played hockey or even skated more than maybe 1 or 2 times (and that’s not really skating), to put on a variety of gear I had and go out on the ice to “play” goalie with my youngest son taking shots at me (he is actually a hockey player since he was 3 years old). I was terrible. I could barely move. I couldn’t skate. I couldn’t bend my knees. I was basically just standing in the crease letting any puck that was coming at me hit me.
I had a blast.
So then I did it again. This time I rented private ice time for that same sons birthday party and we invited a couple dozen people to come out. Again…I had a blast.
It was at that point I decided I would give this a shot and try to live the dream of being a goaltender.
I spent the entire summer going out on the ice whenever I could whether renting private ice time or going to sticks-and-pucks at the local area rinks. Many times my son and I would bring along some experienced help. College players, Juniors players, whoever we could get that could fire pucks at me. I was often very sore from this regiment.
On February 4th, 2017 I played my first ever hockey game. It couldn’t have been a better scenario. It was in an 18+ rec league drop in game on outdoor ice in my former hometown where I grew up. My son was 13 at the time and he was allowed to play also. I sucked. Bad. My brain and my legs still weren’t on the same page. Most of my energy was spent just trying to not fall down. I managed to make a couple ‘saves’ when pucks hit me.
That experience just fueled my desire to get better. I decided I wasn’t ready for anymore games just yet. Back to practice I went. Sticks-and-pucks are a great way to get a work out and have a lot of shots to work with. Skaters at those events get all starry-eyed when they realize there’s a tender on the ice! They all want to be superstars.
In June of 2017 (just about 7 months since first ever stepping on the ice) I registered to play in a low level beginners league in Ann Arbor, MI. Unfortunately (and fortunately) for me there were no openings on any teams for a goaltender. This put my name on the “sub” list. Since it was summer time, there was a lot of need for substitutes to fill in for goalies on vacations with their families or otherwise just choosing to enjoy the weather rather than fulfill their net-minding obligations.
I volunteered myself as often as possible.
By now I was getting more comfortable being on skates and my legs and brain were starting to get on the same page. It was rough in the beginning…but I was doing this for game experience and it was working.
At the end of that summer while leaving the rink I saw a guy loading his gear into his car…well, first I noticed the spectacular set of vintage leather Miller GLP1000 goal pads he had with him. We struck up some conversation about gear and I shared my story with him. Doug told me he was finishing up the summer season and then hanging up his skates for good. He informed me that he plays in a ‘senior’ league at the rink and suggested I should try out at the upcoming draft. I was a few years away from meeting the age requirement for the league but he assured me that a variance could be made for a willing goaltender.
So early that fall, I skated in my first ever draft skate as a hockey player. It was a unique experience to be on that side of it after all the years of watching my son play. I was a nervous wreck, but I was true to my passion and went out there wearing late 70’s Cooper GP59 pads, a Cooper GM9 blocker and a GM12 catch glove. About 2 weeks later I learned I was drafted and my age exemption was approved. I was drafted by a team in the 60+ division! I had fun with that concept by letting everyone know I was “playing up” with the older kids. A few days later my first official hockey season ever started.
So now, as I’m back to adding more to my story, I’m still playing in that league year round. We have a Fall/Winter and a Spring/Summer season. I’m starting my 3rd Fall/Winter and I was just drafted back to the team that I started with. Along the way I played a couple seasons in the regular ‘adult’ leagues at the rink, but for now I’m just too busy to commit as a full time goalie for that schedule so I’m just back to being on the sub list.