Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

jb utah smile

Re-post from my original, personal blog. Hope it helps you understand the nature of the pro hockey life for someone who isn’t rich and famous.

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My favourite call-up story:

As you probably know by now, I’m engaged to Clark Gillies Daughter, Brianna.

At the time of this story, I was playing for the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL (that’s me up above, shortly before my coach became the 64th one I’ve had tell me to smile less), and she was finishing her Masters at Stonybrook University (Long Island, NY), interning and taking classes to become an Occupational Therapist.  Finding time to be together was tough. Read the rest of this entry »

Where I had my first junior tryout. World's Biggest Hockey Stick, Cowichan Valley

Where I had my first junior tryout. World’s Biggest Hockey Stick, Cowichan Valley

Note: I realize I’ve been writing a lot about my own experiences in hockey lately. The summer is largely devoid of hockey news, and I have some behind-the-scenes knowledge that some people seem interested in while we wait for the season. I swear I’ll dial back the “me’s” and “I’s” when puck starts to ramp up again.

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During my senior year of high school I was 16/17 years old (December birthday), and still a bit of a mamma’s boy. I lived at home while captaining our Midget AA team, a group that would eventually bring home the first (and possibly still the only) provincial championship to Westside (West Kelowna minor hockey).

That final minor hockey season was followed by a summer of uncertainty. I was given opportunities to try out with a few WHL teams, a half-dozen BCHL teams or so, and pretty much every junior B team in the province. I was going to be playing hockey somewhere the next season, it seemed, it was just a matter of finding a place that both wanted me and would help me advance.

The only goal my family had for me was to get a college scholarship. That was the carrot dangled by junior hockey for us, but when a number of different teams think you might have a little value to them down the road, you start to hear a lot of different things, and the waters get murky. Promises of carrot-delivery aren’t uncommon.

When you have some opportunities like this, nobody tells you what to do if you aren’t an NHL lock. There are no courses, information pamphlets or guidance counselors, so we were more-or-less lost from the get-go. My Dad had experience with junior, but he was essentially fast-tracked to the NHL, sooo…minor hockey, WHL, NHL. Oh, the tough decisions he must have faced.

The main question we had, was who has a freaking clue about what it means to play for Team A versus Team B in some of these leagues? And when you commit to trying out with B, you miss the chance to try out with A, meaning even though you may be good enough to play at a certain level, you just flipped to the wrong page of the Choose Your Own Adventure, got cut and screwed yourself. A huge, HUGE part of advancing in sports is luck. Finding a good person who won’t lie to you helps, but that’s kinda luck too. Read the rest of this entry »

After reading about Seth Jones choosing major junior over NCAA hockey – a fine choice for the talented young buck – I felt the need to weigh in with my thoughts on The Choice, and share the path I took to come to a decision. Hope you enjoy, or at the very least, learn something about the process you didn’t know before.

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I tried out for the Kelowna Rockets, one of the premier programs in the Western Hockey League, in the fall of 2000. I was 17 years old, although in the junior hockey world I was considered an 18 year old because I was born in 1982. I was coming off of a successful year of Midget AA, having been captain of a team that won the BC provincial championship. But being that I was that old and undrafted, I was a definite longshot and I knew it.

Read the rest of this entry »