My son, Carson, is goalie for his Mites hockey team. He was asked by his coach to be one of the kids that went to a Dallas Stars (that’s NHL pro hockey for those who don’t follow hockey) game against the Anaheim Ducks to play on the ice in the intermission right after 1st period.
It was really exciting. Before the game started, there was a tribute to Mike Modano for his record as the all-time American-born points leader. Really cool tribute to him, even if you are not a fan of him personally you have to give it up for the accomplishment.
Right after the ceremony, we high-tailed it to meet our group (my son was completely frustrated about missing the first period). It took us awhile to get to the room that we used as a locker room. We had 6 minutes to put on his goalie gear. Look at the picture in this post, and do the math… it typically takes us about 15 minutes to get all that stuff strapped, buckled, velcro’d, snapped, and tied. Through a joint effort with another father whose son is a goalie, we actually got him dressed in record time. Tossed on his skate guards and he walked about 1/4 mile on concrete (thank God for those skate guards) to the Zamboni tunnel at American Airlines Center.
While he was standing in line, Carson got to see up-front and personal what NHL hockey is all about. Modano threw down a check into the boards about 5 feet from my son, surprising him into a startled jump. Then, Krys Barch got into a fight (RIGHT IN FRONT OF US) with the Duck’s Brad May. When Barch came off the ice, he was right in front of us (and threw an f-bomb in front of the crowd… nice).
The period was over, we saw all of the players come off the ice into the dressing room. Carson and the kids took to the ice from the Zamboni tunnel, and the parents went to the Stars players’ bench. I got some choppy video of it that I will post soon.
CARSON SHUT THEM OUT.
It was a thing of beauty. Each team of 5 kids lined up on the center red line with each goalie in opposing ends of the ice. The teams took turns shooting on the goalie in a shoot-out that was incredible to watch. Honestly, most of the kids could barely skate, but when one who could came towards him, Carson blocked it… THEN COVERED IT UP. When I saw this kid skate towards Carson, I thought, “oh no.” But man, he threw down and blocked it, then COVERED IT UP to make sure!!! The crowd lit up, seeing a little kid playing goalie jump on the puck and cover it up… and not give it up until the ref BLEW THE WHISTLE. Too damned funny. I could almost hear him saying, “MY PUCK!! MY PUCK!!”
He was great. He stood in the goalie position (pictured above) waiting on the shoot out. When the kid got in front of him, he threw a knee down, stuck his stick straight across the goal, then threw his catcher down on the puck almost picture-perfect. It was really cool sitting on the players’ bench trying to film all of this… the shootout transpired in all of 2 minutes.
Because he got a shutout, they gave him a puck. Not just any puck, it was one of the pucks that the Stars had been using just previously during warmups… it was still wet. While I will forever remember how great my son was in front of 25,000 fans at the Stars / Ducks game, I think my son will remember it as the night that he got a puck that Marty Turco might have touched.
Man, what a great day to be a father. I am so proud of him that he tried his hardest. I can’t wait to post the video.
Oh yeah, the Stars won. Modano got a goal, but it was really cool to see Smith (the goalie) block so many great shots. My son wished that Turco (his favorite player) was on the ice, but Smith brought it tonight. It was really cool to see Niklas Hagman get the go-ahead goal. Hagman was the first player to sign my son’s jersey when we went to open practice, and from what I hear always has time for fans after practice. We cheered loudly for Hagman.
All that, and my kids left cheering for the Stars winning over the Ducks.