InGoal Magazine Spends Special Day with Carey Price
“Hi, I’m Carey and I’m from Anahim Lake, BC”
A group of 11 goaltenders were taking turns around the breakfast table introducing themselves and the typically-understated Price was acting like just like the other 10 goalies gathered for a one-day camp, not the star attraction and hero to each of the young people sharing breakfast with him on a beautiful summer day in Kelowna, BC.
For an hour they swapped stories and shared experiences as the beginning to a day that will be remembered for a lifetime. Price had joined the goalies at the invitation of Eli Wilson, who along with partner Dan Meyer had imagined the one-day camp as the ultimate experience and opportunity to raise funds in support of young goaltenders who struggle to afford equipment and training.
“When we dreamt of this day, Carey was the first and only person we imagined leading it,” Wilson told InGoal.
Wilson was speaking not only of Carey Price, the goaltender who dominated the NHL awards this season, but also of Price as the person who has dedicated so much of his time and resources in support of others.
Wilson and Meyer lead the Eli Wilson Goaltending-IHG Sponsorship fund. With the generous support of a number of donors they help young goalies who could not otherwise afford to attend training camps or purchase much-needed gear. Simply put, they don’t want financial need to be a barrier to becoming a goaltender.
On this day in Kelowna eight families had donated through an online auction to have their children attend this special day. They were joined by two other goaltenders: one who had won his place that day through an InGoal contest and another randomly chosen from those who applied to the sponsorship fund in the past.
Sitting down for an hour with Carey Price would be enough to make any young goalie’s day but on this day it was only the beginning. After breakfast Price took the group through a typical warm-up in preparation for the first ice-time that morning. Amid a spectacular setting in the hills overlooking Kelowna, Price led them through static and dynamic stretches and exercises to ready the goalies for the work ahead.
Then they hit the rink. Ten goalies, two coaches (Price brought his father, Jerry, who coached him growing up to help as well) and Carey Price, sharing a locker room together. Any hockey player will tell you some of the best experiences happen just shooting the breeze in the room and on this day it was with Carey Price, the Olympic gold-medal winning goaltender who had just brought home every major award the NHL has to offer goalies – the Hart, Lindsay, Vezina and Jennings – hanging out, chatting and getting ready to hit the ice with his dad, his goalie coach and 10 lucky kids.
The young goalies were all donning new gear, custom ordered for each of them, a generous gift of the folks at CCM, and fine-tuned for them by Pro Skate Goal in Calgary. This wasn’t just a day with Price. It was new gear from CCM, Under Armour, BioSteel and Double Blue Sports. As they strapped on their new gear you can bet each of them was watching every move by Price too. Who wouldn’t? Any goalie would love a “what’s in the bag” segment with Price to see his setup – these kids got it up close and personal.
A nearly two-hour ice session followed. WHL shooters and the best demo goalie in the world setting the bar showing how each skill would be executed as Wilson ran the group through a typical camp day. Sharp movements led by the silky-smooth Price, some focused save drills (including one profiled previously in InGoal Magazine) and later in the afternoon ice session some higher-level strategy and skills.
Price again sat down with the group for lunch and the chatter was decidedly more animated as they knew each other a bit better and realized they may be eating with Carey Price, but at heart he’s still just a fellow member of the Goalie Union.
Kelly Hrudey of Hockey Night in Canada joined them as well. Hrudey is a board member with the sponsorship fund because he strongly believes in the work they are doing. He recounted his experience as a youngster and said he would never have played goal if it were not for the financial help of others right through to junior hockey. We expected a remarkable day but the Hrudey chat, delivered at one point eyes red with emotion, brought home the central message of the day powerfully. It was just the beginning of the emotional moments for the campers, instructors and parents.
After a little downtime and a splash in the pool, the group was led by Price through another warm-up and on-ice session. Together with coaches Eli Wilson and Jerry Price, Carey led, taught and joked with each of the kids. And he played constantly with the puck, showing by example what made him such a skilled puck handler. It’s not all about drilling and focused work. Some good old-fashioned play comes into honing your craft, quite clearly.
Photos were taken, autographs signed. Nobody wanted the day to be over, preferring to savor the experience and get every last bit of what this incredible experience had to offer.
The campers had gifts for Price too.
We’ll save more of those powerful stories – and some tips from Price himself – for future editions of InGoal Magazine, where we have the room to share what it takes to bring tears to the eyes of the coolest man on ice. Until then, we offer a few photos to share our experience and as thanks to Price and the Eli Wilson Goaltending-IHG Hotels Sponsorship fund for the work that they are doing. Over $76,000 raised and more than 100 goalies will be supported: