Photo: David Trevallion
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.
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