Let’s face it, i never stood a chance at going pro because I started when I was 14 and I come from a decent hockey town but not the elite. Very few Cleveland players end up in NHL. However, I will tell you this, there is no doubt in my mind, if I started at 4 or 5, I would still be playing.
What ended up being a pretty good run for a kid from Cleveland who first stepped on the ice at his first hockey practice in 1982 at the brand new Mentor Civic Arena, quickly blossomed into a passion unlike any other in sports. I loved it. I played 50-80 hours a week. Whether it was ICE, Street, Video Games, Pond, it didn’t matter, if it was hockey I was doing it. I also knew more about the game than arguable anyone on earth at that time. This is a true story. Thanks to age, alcohol and drugs, I forgot most of it. Plus ESPN not renewing the contract. I met players like Messier, Kurri, Dr. Randy Gregg, Rick Chartraw and many others. Not bad for a hack from Cleveland.
In less than one year, I was playing in Detroit’s “Little Caesars League” with Cleveland’s elite players. I sucked. But I got soooooo much better that year playing with these guys. Anyhow, life moved on and so did I. I resigned myself to the Men’s leagues. Like the beer leagues of softball. However, I took it seriously. I loved the kill shots. I was always a good hitter. No matter the size. It was also good exercise and there’s nothing like the bond of a team, especially a hockey team.
One day it all changed. It wasn’t 2 minutes into a street hockey tournament when I had a breakaway and some 15 year old punk took out both of my skates as I was skating as fast as I could. Unlike Ice, you don’t slide on cement. I went right down and shattered my collar bone.
I knew immediately. I would never be the same. I broke it 2 more times in the next 16 months. It was over. I sucked. I had kids, Got married, everything changed. For the better I suppose. The end.