I was not a good goalie. I was a middle of the road DIII goalie for a team that had eight skaters my junior year and got scrapped countless times by Cheshire, Guilford, Branford, and many others.
I grew up on skates. Started as a youngin in the Wallingford Hawks Learn to Skate program and worked my way up through my senior year at Sheehan. I went on to play club my freshman year at Castleton State in Vermont and then played two seasons for the Southern Connecticut club team (strictly because I was friends with the president of the team).
I was not a good goalie, but hockey is my life, like it is for a lot of you. When people ask me how much I love hockey I have to tell them that I don’t. I breathe it. I live it. It literally is on the front of my mind for about 90 percent of my day.
But, I have to remind you, I was not a good goalie (there is video evidence of this thanks to Pete Paguaga).
I wanted to write this for the guys who don’t get the t-shirts from Luke and the CTHSHockey gang. The kids who spent years playing and working hard, but never were able to crack the coveted mention in a Kevin Cunningham tweet. Because I, like you, never got mentioned in a Luke tweet. I never made a list. I never made any lists.
That doesn’t mean hockey means anything less to me, and if you ask Luke, or coaches and players I have talked to, it doesn’t limit my knowledge of the game.
I know hockey. And I know a lot about it. I now get paid to write about RPI and the ECAC, Division I hockey. I help produce a hockey podcast that gets a thousand listeners every week.
You as a player and a person are not limited to a list. Sure, the kids who are ranked in the top ten in the state are great players and great kids, but that doesn’t mean they know more about the game than you.
Your hockey career doesn’t need to end after high school. Find a club team. Start a blog. Write about the NHL. Freelance for a local paper and cover high school hockey. Get involved with your colleges athletics programs and be around the game. Get involved with local youth programs. Hell, see if Luke needs help tweeting from your area.
Hockey is more than what you can do with your hands and feet. It’s about what’s in between your ears, how you see the ice, and your awareness of how a play generates from a specific zone. Just because in high school you missed a break out pass or you were dreadful at throwing sauce, it doesn’t mean anything. Recognize the correct break out pass, acknowledge how a team forechecks and backchecks. Use your eyes and your brain.
There’s more to hockey than having silky mitts and being able to clap bombs from the bluey, though it’d be nice if we could all do those things.
I was a bad high school hockey goalie, and I am still involved with hockey today. I just wanted to tell you that.
Joe Boyle is Sheehan High School graduate. Joe currently works for the Troy Record covering RPI Hockey. Joe is a certified beauty and a friend of CTHSHockey.