Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Almost exactly one year after I started this blog, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

On April 14th of 2011, I started this blog in an effort to chronicle the journey from the most humble hockey beginnings to scoring a goal in a rec league game. It took me until the first game of my second rec league season, but I've officially accomplished my goal. Tonight I scored a goal and had two assists. We won 3-2 and I had a hand in every goal for our team. It was an amazing feeling. The goal happened in the 2nd period. We were down 1-0 but we had a ton of pressure all game. It was kind of a blur how it happened. I vaguely remember getting the puck in the corner and ringing it around behind the net. Then heading straight to the front of the goal to screen the goaltender. There was a shot from the slot and the goaltender stopped it, but I saw it sitting there in the crease. The goaltender couldn't grab it, and I tried to take a swipe at it but my stick was tied up. I tried again and my stick got free, so I slid the puck into the wide open net. I turned around to hear everyone on my bench cheering and you could probably see the smile on my face from the moon. Such an amazing feeling. I always figured my first goal would be from standing in the crease and cleaning up someone elses garbage. After that, I had all the confidence in the world and ended up getting tons more chances, no goals, but two assists. I hope this is just the first of many games like this. It's so much fun just playing, and it's another level of fun when you actually contribute on the scoresheet and win. Oh, and the guys gave me the game puck.
At first, a year doesn't seem that long, but when I think back to my first free skates at Pickwick, the kids class at Valley Ice Center, my first few stick-times and pick-up games, my first few Sunday night classes at Culver. It's been a really long road and I've met a lot of amazing people along the way. I'm not sure if its this way everywhere, but LA hockey people are some of the most inclusive friendly people I've met. It's an amazing subculture full of people who just want everyone to be part of the magic they found in hockey. I still have a lot to learn, so I dont think I'm going to end this blog now. I'll keep it updated sporadically with things I deem interesting or milestones along the way. I'd also like to keep this blog going so I can encourage anyone else out there who has the desire to try playing hockey but needs an extra little push or some advice on how to get started. Bye for now and thanks for reading.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My first goal, caught on video

In the fantasy camp, my teammate Pete had a helmet cam. He was just geting on the ice as I scored.

We lost our last game and thought we were done for the season, but it turns out that the team we were battling for a playoff spot also lost. So we squeaked into the playoffs. Tonight is the first round, and we play the only team that hasn't lost this season. Wish us luck.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Got two goals!!!!

But not in my rec league.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I attended Kings Fantasy Camp. It's basically a fund raising charity event where you get to play games with former NHLers, mostly former Kings.

It was hosted by Marty McSorley and the alumni in attendance were Luc Robitaille, Daryl Evans, Ian Turnbull, Bernie Nicholls, Marcel Dionne, Dennis Maruk and Jim Fox.

We played 4 games, one Friday at Toyota Sports Center, where the Kings practice, one Saturday on Staples Center Ice, and two Sunday back at Toyota Sports Center.

Most of the people I skated with had been doing it for years, so I was definitely the least experienced on our team. Fortunately I ended up on a team with some really fun people. Everyone I met was really nice and a couple guys were hysterical. The staff was really great too. Very helpful and made it a really memorable weekend.

Now to the games.

First game, we had three alumni. Maruk, Dionne and Evans. I was on a line with Maruk, all game long he kept setting me up. I had like three or four chances from right in front of the net. The fifth chance was a perfect pass right on my stick in the slot and I swung at it. It hit the goaltender in the shoulder and bounced over him and into the net. MY FIRST GOAL!!!!! We ended up losing 5-2 though. Its a pretty surreal experience trying to cover Luc Robitaille skating toward you with the puck and a huge smile on his face.

Team Royal, Game 1 - I'm on the far left, you can see Evans, Maruk and Dionne in there.

Here is some video of Daryl Evans passing to me and I get stopped by the goaltender. Video courtesy of my Dad. I'm #5.

The next game was at Staples Center. We had Robitaille, Nicholls and Marty. We jumped out to a 6-2 lead. One of those 6 was a slow motion goal from yours truly. I basically just fumbled with the puck until I landed on top of the goaltender and the puck went in the net. It wasn't pretty but it counts, and my name was called at Staples Center. Booyah! Unfortunately we lost again, this time in a shootout.Ian Turnbull cheats.

Playing to an empty room

Third and fourth games were back at Toyota Center. I think we had Dionne, Turnbull and Evans for the third game, we ended up losing in another shootout. So going into the fourth game we hadnt won a game. We had Maruk, Nicholls, Evans and Luc. I think Luc really wanted us to win this one because he was really coaching our team. We ended up winning, but I cant remember the score. Felt nice to win one, but thats not what team royal was there for. We had the most fun of any team.

I could ramble on forever about it, but I'll finish up the Kings Fantasy Camp segment by saying that I'll definitely be back next year.

Played a rec league game last night, to make it a 5th game in 4 days. My legs were tired, but I played pretty well. I think playing so many games in a short period of time has given me the confidence to skate harder and faster. I didnt score a goal, but our line spent a lot of time in the offensive zone around the net. We won 8-2, and if we win next week, we make the top four which puts us in the playoffs.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Games 3 and 4


Lets see.

I have to get better at updating these after every game.

Game three we lost to a team I felt we were better than. They played a bit dirty and got our better players a little rattled. I think the score was 3-1.

It was 0-0 going into the third. I wasn't on the ice for any goals against or the goal for. So my stats for game 3 would be 0 goals, 0 assists, 0+/-. As long as Im not losing the games for us, I'm doing something right, right?

Every game I have more time with the puck in the offensive zone. Im settling down more, looking at my options before passing. Developing chemistry with my linemates.

I play RW and the LW on my line is relatively new to hockey as well, its sounds counterproductive, but I think we actually play well together because I think we're at the same pace.

Last night was game 4.

We won 4-2, I think. Maybe 5-2, I dont remember.

I think I might get credited with an assist, but Im not sure yet. I got the puck in the slot and kind of fought for control, ended up chipping toward the goal, went off a skate and my center picked it up and shot it in the goal. So it wasn't a clean assist, but if I get credit for it I wont complain.

Last night some things really started to click, I just feel better. Not as nervous. Had a lot of pressure in the offensive zone, got set up around the net a few times. Tried to tip a point shot, thats harder than it looks, but I got a few whacks at the rebound to no avail. I feel like it's just a matter of time before I get a lucky bounce and Im sitting there in front of the net and put it in.

Last night I was very conscious of what I did the few hours before the game. I took a hot shower and ran my stairs in the back yard to warm up. I think it made a big difference. My legs felt quicker this week.

Still doing my classes every Sunday night.

I might have some video of last nights game soon.

I'm having a blast, I'm really glad I decided to do this.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Game #2: No Goals, No Assists, 4 Penalty Minutes

This time we won 7-3.

Getting more comfortable out there. The team we played was more my speed (not as good). On one shift, I saw the puck come around the back of the net, skated hard after it, ended up colliding with a guy from the other team along the boards, we were both somewhat out of control.  I got a penalty for that, he got a penalty for cross checking me in retaliation. If I was sturdier on my feet, he probably wouldn't have gotten the penalty, cuz I went down pretty quickly.

Our line consisted of two brand new wingers, and a pretty good defensive center. So our goal was to just be an energy line. Get the puck deep, dont turn it over in the neutral zone, play good defense. Which I think we did okay with, but our D-men kept pinching and I was out there for two goals against because of outnumbered rushes.

I had some time with the puck in the offensive zone. Had two shots on goal, but nothing really close. Skated with the puck a little bit, but thats what need to improve the most. Played some good defense, used my stick to prevent a shot on goal on one odd manned rush against us.

I wasn't as gassed this time, but I was skating harder than last game. I sure am sore this morning.