I still remember my first official goal in a real official hockey game. It may be that this memory is a sham and it never really happened this way because it is a fairly long time ago. However, I’ve been hanging on to this one pretty tight for almost 40 years so I’m pretty sure I’ve got the details correct. I was 8, and it was my first year of organized hockey. I was playing for St. Anne’s in the Peterborough Church League. It was December 27th (cannot remember what night of the week) and we were playing at Northcrest Arena. I can’t remember the opposing team but I’m pretty sure it was either George St. United church or Knox Presbyterian. We won the game 3-0 and I got the third goal. I even remember that the other two goal scorers on my team were Jimmy Allen and Greg James.
The goal was one of those Phil Esposito types where I wasn’t working particularly hard but was instead standing out in front of the net waiting for the puck to come to me. This visual makes perfect sense because I could hardly skate in my first year so there was no sense wading into the scrum to try to get the puck. Eventually, like all scrums in a game of 8 years olds (this one probably involved every other player on the ice except me), the puck squirted out front right on to my stick. I gave a wild swing and away it went into the bottom corner. HE SCORES! I neglected to go get the puck as all true hockey buffs do upon scoring their first real goal in the big leagues.
I can remember by Dad and I talking about it after the game. Like all Dad’s, I’m sure he was probably as excited as I was when his kid got his first goal. He was pumping me up big time explaining what it meant to get an “insurance” goal. Being 8, insurance was a bit of a vague concept to me. He explained that we could have won the game with only one goal, or maybe even with two goals, but, the other team could have easily scored a cheapy that would have tied us if we’d only scored one goal or they might have mounted a furious comeback late in the game and scored a couple to tie it at two if that’s all we had. But the third goal in this particular contest, that was the backbreaker. It was the one that broke their spirits and put them away for good that night. There would be no comeback and all because of that third goal that we scored – that I scored. Wow, I thought, who knew a third goal could be so important?