A few weeks ago my dad sent me an email titled "The Dream." At first I was not sure what it was but as soon as I opened the attached picture it was clear. I had not seen these drawing in so long and had basically forgotten about it....
In my father's office at the University of Windsor, hangs a framed drawing I did back in around 1993, the same year the Canadiens won the cup! Back then, I was very much into drawing hockey players, especially goalies. I would always start with either their mask or their blocker and go from there. But one day in front of Hockey Night in Canada I drew something different.
What I drew was actually a description of what I did every night; I would dream I was a Pro hockey player, scoring goals, winning championships etc...
I think every young kid who has a passion for hockey dreams of being a professional hockey player at some point in their life and for me it was no different. Growing up with an older brother playing travel hockey and a father who worshiped Maurice Rocket Richard, it was from about the age of 3 that I wanted to be a hockey player for a living. It just seemed like the perfect job, so from that point on I dreamt of just playing hockey. It wasn't that I wanted to avoid working in the real world from 9-5, it was just that I loved hockey and that is all I wanted to do.
Over the years that followed, nobody would have predicted that I would be earning my living as a professional hockey player, not even my brothers, especially my brothers hahaha. The fact is, I was not very good. Though the year I drew that picture I was actually voted "Most Exciting Player" for my league. What league you ask? Tier II house league in Windsor.
I was cut from AAA (obviously), then cut from A, then assigned to a team in Teir I house league. I played 1 game and was then cut from that and dropped down to the lowest possible level for my age, anything lower I would have been playing in a road hockey league. But I did win "most exciting." :)
So to fast track, I finally made a travel team, then got a bit better, I made a junior hockey team, was drafted to the OHL in the14th round, 293rd overall (at least I was drafted right?) Then I played up and down with Jr. B and the OHL, until settling in at the University of British Columbia for 4 years. Faced with many different challenges, my dream was still clear.
Seeing this drawing now is pretty cool. It is like I could see the future back then around the age of 11. Wearing the number 88 in the drawing was most likely for Eric Lindros, my favourite player at the time. Though some may contest that I wore number 88 because unconsciously I knew that I would be playing Pro Hockey in Epinal, France where the city postal code is 88 000 or perhaps it is because my French girlfriend who is from Epinal was born in '88???
This is my 4th season in France and my 3rd in Epinal. The French league is nowhere close to the NHL but it is a good league in Europe and just perfect for me. The feeling really sets in when I am asked what I do for a living....Occupation: Pro Hockey Player!
That is just how I envisioned things as a young boy in Windsor, Ontario watching Hockey Night in Canada.
The dream lives on....