In our second piece From the Locker Room, net-minder Glen Rodbourne tells us his story of the call-up to Invicta Dynamos last season after years of playing rec hockey.
It was season 16-17…
Was just a normal year, I was 43 and playing semi pro hockey in the Heineken league back in the 90’s seemed so far away.
The days playing against teams like Cardiff Devils and Sheffield Steelers were amazing, stepping onto the ice at Sheffield when you were the away team did feel daunting, that was a huge rink! Playing along side Peter Russell when he was still a teenager and many other names I could drop, but I won’t bore you with that!
I just went out to practice now with the Dynamos during the week to keep the fitness level up and stop middle age spread!
It was a Sunday evening on the 8th October ’16 when I get phone calls from friends saying Kinger and Richie were both injured in the same game!! The jokes came saying “you’ll be playing next” which I just snubbed. Then I walked into the changing room on the following Tuesday and saw Kev (Parrish), “Can you play this weekend?” he said.
It was 20 years ago since I had last played at this level, but there was no way I was going to let this opportunity slip by, I grabbed it with both hands and said yes immediately.
That practise session was very intense for me. “I’ve got this” going over and over in my mind, but the nerves got the better of me and I head off the ice at the end of practise annoyed with myself thinking I should be doing better.
The week flew by and before I knew it Saturday was here and I was on my way to Lea Bridge Rd to face my nerves.
In the room the other guys were very upbeat and ready for it, I was just hoping things work out and I can pull this out the bag for the club, supporters and more importantly, myself. I kept telling myself “watch your angles, don’t be deep in the net and be patient”.
I was ready and stepping onto the ice. This time last week I was just a regular rec goalie, I’m against guys half my age, no pressure then!!! The puck drops, deep breath, lets go.
Once the first few shots come at me I settled in and got composed, it was a close first period, but with 20 seconds left on the clock JJ (Pitchley) puts one past me from high slot. Period ends 1-1.
The second period was just awful for me conceding 7, I could feel my head drop, concentration going. Back to the room before the last period, calmer and thinking it’s a 0-0 game, start again. The worse thing to do is to step out looking at the scoreboard and not looking ahead, be positive don’t over judge it.
The travelling Dynamos fans were all behind me hearing them shouting “Come on Glen, you’ve got this” then I look to see my girlfriend and and my 14 year old son saying “Go Dad!” I shrug off all the crap and get to the job in front of me.
The 3rd period was better with a 2-2 draw but a big loss for the guys. On the way home I feel like I failed, how will I be against Wightlink tomorrow? The worse thing I did was look on THF. Being called a 40-something has been that had been dusted off etc.. I felt awful.
That forum is not for the faint hearted!!
The next morning I saw on social media so much support from family, friends and fans that put me in a more positive mood. It’s true what they say about fans being the sixth man on the ice, it picks you up and gets you focused. I had so many messages saying they’d be watching and just being so positive. Yesterdays game was over and I had to look what was in front of me. This was the last game for Wightlink, they’ll surely go out on a high?
The rink was packed that evening to see Jeremy Cornish and his lads on the ice for the last time.
Stepping out on the ice was deafening, I’ve not heard that much noise from supporters!! Warm up was done and we did a guard of honour for Wightlink as they came out to start the game; looking very humble yet proud to see their last game for what was a team that always entertained, and gave a good game to any team they were up against.
1st period and the first few shots came my way “track the puck” I say to myself as a shot came flying through the crease. Then Cesky was high slot, I pushed out giving him nothing to shoot for and I cover the puck quickly. A deep breath and I was finding my feet.
At the other end Haydn Wooton scores, it was up and down for the first period and it ended 1-0 at the end of 20 minutes.
A goal from Ondrej pushes a 2 goal cushion but it wasn’t long till Cesky tips a shot in front of me over my right shoulder, thoughts of yesterday come back to me. I hear from the crowd “Keep going Glen”. I get myself set and ready for the face off keeping myself focusing on the game.
Then Ashley (Jackson) puts one in, the two goal cushion is back, not long after Ryan Webb sticks a close range shot under my right pad, this game is close, sweat is running into my eyes and I’m trying to get my breath, I’m knackered, I’m putting everything I’ve got into this.
3rd period and the pressure is on, we’re short handed and the shots are coming thick and fast, I manage to push them away and Rehak gets to tally a few goals. The last 5 minutes, Sampford puts a well placed shot past my blocker, I’ve only got to see the last few minutes and the win is in the bag, the tension is immense, the clock counts down, the feeling is amazing, I’ve actually made it!!! Then to pick up the beers was the icing on the cake: it’s up there with winning the league with London Raiders and my first shut out.
These are the reasons we play the sport. It’s a roller coaster of ups and downs but worth every minute!!
Huge thanks to our Glen for telling us his story.
We continue publishing this series around once a week (as long as we have submissions).
Hockey player or coach who would like to submit to the series? Pick a topic and start writing! There are some suggested topics HERE if you want some inspiration. We can publish the article with your name attached or not as you prefer.
You can reach us on facebook, twitter or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss an idea or submit an article.
Posted in From the Locker Room
In the first our our new series, we’ve had a submission from an anonymous player who wants to tell us about how soul destroying it can be to get your first senior call up and then ride the pine. He’s got the 4th Line Blues!
You hear it a lot when players get signed. “They will add great depth to our line-up”. In simple terms they will come in and play about 2-3 shifts a night.
Mostly this happens with young players. You leave Junior hockey and venture into the world that is senior hockey and there’s a good chance you will be stuck almost immediately on the 4th line. You may have been playing 18 minutes a game in the u18’s, played for the conference, England and GB but when it comes down to senior hockey you start from scratch.
So, it’s your 1st season on senior hockey. After you’ve played up a few times whilst as a junior you are now too old. You are 18.
You sign for a decent side as a defensemen. You are certainly not getting paid. Or, maybe they throw you £20 a week. Maybe. But, you might get your sticks, gloves and a helmet. Take what you are given.
You work hard in practice and try to do the right things. You quickly realise that this isn’t junior hockey anymore. People don’t do an off-ice warm-up, team mates have fags and drink some red-bull. But, there you are with your pre-made shake, banana and you are out stretching to get your mind right. You have to get up for the game.
Warm-up comes and you get the legs going. You’re feeling good. You feel comfortable and that’s the best time because it all feels natural. You get back into the room for a team talk with the coach. They will call the lines and there you are…
You are 8th/9th D-Man. Rotating with a 29 year old forward.
In those circumstances it’s difficult. You lose your focus. You lose your confidence. The game hasn’t started and you are already lost. The other team has won.
Now, this can go one of two ways. Either, you say “F*ck you coach I’m going to prove you wrong and play my bag off”. Or, you wallow in your head.
I was on the F*ck you side until you realise there comes a time when this mantra isn’t effective. No, matter what you do, nothing will change.
It’s difficult. If you speak up, you are regarded as a bad-egg in the locker room. You aren’t buying into the coach and questioning their ability. So, you ask the questions. You approach the coach and ask them what do you have to do?
“Keep working hard and bide your time”
At 18,19,20,21 we all what to be living the fast life. We want things to be now and in the present. We want to be rewarded for our efforts. Not some loose promise of ice-time.
Then it gets to around December. It’s either leave or stick with it. You can’t really leave to a better team because they wouldn’t take you because you haven’t been playing.
So, you go to a lesser team. Maybe drop down a league just for ice-time. Then people say you aren’t good enough or the coach says “He couldn’t hack it”. But, you start to enjoy and appreciate the game (when you get older that is) for what the game is.
Now, the fans probably don’t know what it’s like to be part of a winning team but sitting on the bench for that. It’s horrible. You walk into the locker room after a game. Everyone is physically tired and elevated. You can actually see the steam coming off their backs.
You on the other hand can pack your bag and not even have to think about washing your sweats. It’s like you weren’t even there.
It feels like you aren’t part of the team.
You’re an outsider.
You don’t feel happy you’ve won on the way home because you didn’t do anything. You didn’t make that pass, or take that hit. You just took up a line on the EIHA game sheet. Padding out your game ‘played’ on Elite Prospects.
Sitting on the bench is soul destroying. I wouldn’t wish it on my most hated enemy.
Huge thanks to our first contributing author (you know who you are!). We’ll be publishing this series around once a week (as long as we have submissions).
Hockey player or coach who would like to submit to the series? You can reach us on facebook, twitter or email (email@example.com). We can publish the article with your name attached or not as you prefer.
Posted in From the Locker Room
482days would love to start a series of articles from players (or coaches) entitled ‘From the Locker Room’. The idea would be for a player to talk about one aspect of life in UK hockey, giving us fans an insight into life as a hockey player.
For example, you could have a player article which addresses one of the following:
– First day on a new team
– Being sidelined with an injury
– Responsibilities of a captain
– Dealing with team losses
– Dealing with personal loss of form
– Aftermath of a trophy win
– Scoring your first goal
– Life on the 4th line
– Life on the 1st line
– Life of a back-up goalie
– Dealing with discrimination (e.g. non-white/LGBT player)
– Mental toughness
– Physical preparation
– Thoughts on fighting in hockey
– Stepping up a level
– Balancing work, family and hockey
– Playing abroad
– Playing for GB (senior or junior level)
– Retiring from the game
Or a coach’s article on the following:
– Benching/demoting a player
– Dealing with player conflict
– Building a team
– Developing young players
– Coping with player expectations
These are just a few thoughts we’ve had – I’m sure there are plenty of other topics that would make for a fascinating article…
You can either be named as the author of an article or you can submit anonymously as you prefer (secret footballer style). Perfect written English is not a requirement as we can edit for spelling and grammar as needed, it’s the content that only you as players/coaches can provide that is important. You can write as much or as little as you like on the topic of your choice (say at least 300 words and no more than 2500!).
We’ll accept submissions from any level of player/coach (male and female) – this is not just restricted to the NIHL South.
If you would like to submit an article or if you would like more information, please contact:
– Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Twitter DM: @482days
– Facebook private message on the 482days page
Posted in From the Locker Room