By Lee Durocher
From a player’s aspect: wheelchair hockey was a sport with great skill and speed and great honour. Once you made your city’s team it was a honour, and played on the same line with some of the greatness athletes. Another great honour was to play against some of the greatness athletes – and some of the great teams. Another great honour was to get a try-out for the provincial team and playagainst the provinces’ best athletes.
There were some great athletes who played this sport which will forever go unrecognized. Somemade the record books for most points – those chosen are remembered. They can say I did that when …Yes even the goalies had records which are still around somewhere – that record is still the record to be tied or even beat. You may ask why? I personally set the goalie record of 12 consecutive shutouts.
I can’t and won’t take all the credit – I did have two of the greatness defensemen who ever played that sport. Being a goalie was the hardest job in that sport – you did need defensemen and I had the top two. I didn’t have to worry about being rushed and run – I just stopped shots that came my way. I had an easy job considering those shots wasn’t fast or that hard. I never wore much for gear except for a catcher’s mask (which I found in rec store room) which was good until one high shot caught the side of that mask it went flying along with my glasses. After a quick timeout I continued playing though – I also remember being trained to improve my position by NHL hall of famers.
Being trained by NHL hall of famers was the biggest highlight of my young life. They didn’t have to do anything like that but I still thank them. Even today I still talk about I was taught how to stop balls from one of the greatness goalies to ever dawn a Montreal Canadians sweater. He never treated me any different – when I got smart with him. Let’s just say I got a hand up side my head – not hard just hard enough so I know not to do it again.
Another big highlight was the day came when the team finally got its name – It happened by sheer surprise. One day during practice the coach received a box with no name on it – all it said was T-Shirts. They were red with a crown on it – they were nice t-shirts. From that day the teams was known as the Edmonton Kings. I loved being part of that team and the players on that team.
I actually played on a great team with great athletes if I had to pick out one memory of my experience in the sport. It would have to be all the about – for the simple fact that it was fun and very competitive. I have a record which will never be matched or broken – that record will stand forever. I have made many friends while playing too. I would not change it for any money in the world.
There are a lot of myths and facts about wheelchair hockey which I’ll cover in my next article:
Hockey: From Different Eyes: Facts and Myths