Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Hockey Life: The 160-foot shortie

Taken during the Florida International Hockey Invitational tournament over the holidays,
not his most recent Central Florida Hockey League game. (Photo by Sam J. Barranco Jr.)
When we started this hockey adventure five years ago, I knew, in all honesty, that Colin was unlikely to be a goal scorer. Yes, I figured he'd scored a few, but that was never the singular focus of our goal -- raising a complete, well-rounded hockey player who stood a good chance of making teams, no matter the level.

Since then, he has shown that, on occasion, he can put the puck in the net. Most have come off of a rebound, the result of hanging around the net and being in the right place at the right time. He has even posted a couple of hat tricks, all coming in rec league games where goals can come fairly easily. His two  biggest goals -- game-winners -- found the twine in the waning moments of a contest.

Last week, though, he scored the most remarkable goal, to date, of his young travel-team career. Playing defense on the penalty kill, the puck landed on his stick as he skated near the left faceoff circle in his defensive zone. As he has been taught to do, he took a quick look up the ice, saw the middle was open and, as best as he could, gave the puck a ride.

At the moment, my thoughts were to remind him later to kill as much time off of the clock before clearing the puck. Then, I noticed the puck was heading toward the net. Another mental note, I thought, was to have him aim for a corner, as it would erase more time.

I glanced away from the play, to ask The Missus to remind me of the teaching moments, just as the puck neared the goalie. But, rather than play it safe and drop to her knees and form a wall to the slow-moving puck, the goalie took a swipe at it. That act caught my attention.

Sure enough, the goalie missed, allowing the puck to bounce off her right skate blade and trickle, and I do mean t-r-i-c-k-l-e, into the net. Disbelief and a wide range of emotions, swept across the rink.

Colin, in his excitement at scoring an improbable goal, let loose his stick, not as a form of exultation but by accident. The goalie, bless her heart, slammed her stick to the ice, this time making rather solid contact. Her mother, standing outside the rink behind her, went ballistic. It was that much of a moment that a timeout was called. 

Later, on the way home, I made a point of using the goal as a teaching moment. After passing along my earlier notes, as to killing more time, I also told Colin that the goal was a reward for all of his hard work and other missed opportunities. Sure, not every shot he takes will go in, but the Hockey Gods always find a way to balance the ledger.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know Toskala's daughter plays net (just kidding that's a hard shot to swallow)...nice job by Colin,