Canadian Hockey

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canadian hockey

The Ultimate Hockey Question

I was recently asked the ultimate hockey question: who my favorite hockey player of all time was. I was stumped. How could I choose from such a vast group of qualified players? Were there any criteria? Which years? Which team? Forwards? Defensemen? Goalies? The list goes on. Seriously, how could anyone name one player?

I was born and raised in Montreal, the best hockey team and town, ever. Thus, I have been a hockey fan since birth. My family introduced me to the love of the game so early on that I can’t even remember the first game I saw. I did know that I was a Canadians fan from the get go.

I fondly remember watching the Hab’s practice at Loyola arena and standing right up beside the boards (Without the Glass) and watching Gump Worsley play without a mask. I think that’s what developed my love for goalies.

When I moved to Vancouver back in the early 90s, I still kept my loyalty to the Canadians. Why wouldn’t I, the Vancouver Canucks sucked.

Living here, I quickly learned that it was very disappointing to be a Canucks fan. There was no consistency. Everyone put their faith into Pavel Bure at the time. I insisted to all who would listen that no team can win the Cup with only one good player (I wasn’t about to admit to them that I thought Bure sucked). Beyond that, my disappointment mostly had to do with Vancouver’s goaltending. Vancouver had Auld, then Roloston, Cloutier and a few others I can’t say left any impression. I had left the land of plenty when it came to goaltenders. The 80s were a great era for the Hab’s. They won several Stanly cups, and in my opinion, were a great team anchored by a great goalie named Patrick Roy. Having grown up die hard Canadians fan, I took for granted that other teams had the same outlook. Unfortunately here in Vancouver, there was no one who could be counted on in nets. Some goalies were good for a couple of games, then fell into a slump, time and time again. How can anyone be loyal to a team that just never had a chance at winning the Cup. There was so much hope in this town, but with little reason.

That is until Roberto Luongo came to town. Everything changed here in Vancouver, in the fall of 2006. The Canucks acquired Roberto Luongo, a Montreal native (surprise, surprise), who was being compared to a young Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur. I had heard of him previously because he helped Canada win back to back gold medals for the World Championships.

Luongo was and still is, a classic butterfly goalie with great size, speed, and reflexes. In his first year in Vancouver, he was named as a finalist for the Vezina trophy, Hart Memorial trophy, and the Lester B. Pearson award. Then in September 2008, Canuck general manager Mike Gillis named Luongo team Captain. It was the first time a goalie had been named captain since the Canadians named Bill Durnan back in 1947.

Having said all this, today, at this very moment, I’m picking Luongo for the greatest hockey player. The ‘ever’ part is questionable, true. I am still a hockey fan now living in Vancouver, so I am hopeful for their cup standing this year. Many will be upset, even argumentative, about my choice. Let them be, tomorrow’s another day and my attention might be elsewhere, maybe Rocket Richard, Gretzky, Lafleur or even Roy.

About the Author

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Clark, the Canadian Hockey Goalie


  1. Posted September 25, 2011 at 12:22 am | Permalink

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