I have loved hockey since I could tie my own skates, maybe before. I can still remember skating on the frozen ice my Dad had spent hours preparing in our back field in Ottawa.
I was ten years old when my favorite team the Toronto Maple Leafs last won the Stanley cup, I was fifteen years old when my country and my favorite Leaf Paul Henderson scored the winning goal in the eighth game of the 72 Summit series of what I think was the most memorable goal and the most memorable game of all Canadian hockey history. When Paul Henderson scored that goal my love for the game grew tenfold. I would never have guessed that goal and that game would help shape my life years later.
I lived in Victoria B.C. when the ’72 Summit Series was unfolding and had faithfully watched all seven games. The night before the final game and as a fifteen year old boy full of oats myself and a couple of buddies decided to borrow a car without the owners consent. This was a bad idea, the long arm of the law reached us quickly and the next thing I knew I was in a youth detention center. Back then they didn’t fool around. Not only was I worried about the ramifications of my misdeed but I was equally worried that I would miss the eighth game of a hockey experience that I could not miss. I promised myself then and there that if I could see that game I would change my life and get involved somehow with hockey. The hockey Gods must have been listening to me as the next morning I was set free . My Mother was livid and told me I was staying inside all day. Again my prayers were answered and I got to watch the game. Funny how fate works .
Canada battled the Soviets and I sat glued to that fuzzy screen. Paul Henderson scored the winning goal as I screamed and danced around by myself and I knew then Canadian hockey history and my history was written.
Fast-foward to the very early 80s’ when I moved to Edmonton at a time when the Oilers and a young phenom named Wayne Gretzky were on a tear that engulfed the hockey world. The game surrounded me and my brother and myself coached my nephew who as a teen would become a product of the WHLs Swift Current Broncos.
Back to Victoria where I was lucky enough to share my love of the game for 12 years coaching in the Victoria Minor Hockey League. I loved that page in my life and didn’t think things could get much better.
I was hit again by some more fate, this time during my coaching tenure being invited to attend a dinner with the NHL Oldtimers team that had on their roster my hero Paul Henderson. I met Paul and he was awesome and spent his time speaking with me . He was a true gentlemen and a truly real person. I have to this day never forgotten this time I spent with him.
I am now 55 years young and have two beautiful daughters who have gifted me with two beautiful grandchildren. I am now waiting for my Grandson to become a little older and if fate and the hockey Gods bless me one more time it may start all over again. My fingers are crossed.
Thank you Paul Henderson and Canadian hockey for helping me shape my life for myself and my family and hopefully shape the lives of many young hockey players and their families.
I love this game we call our own.