Watching the Leafs game last night – or at least the small portion of it I actually watched – brought back some interesting memories.
Those memories were not of the “brush-with-greatness” players on the Leafs roster whose careers intersected tangentially with my older son. One Leaf d-man was Pad’s defence partner in junior varsity high school tournament hockey for a couple games (Pad’s high school coach offered him “$100 and all the Quiznos sandwiches he could eat” to forgo junior and play high school hockey full-time); another forward was a player he played against for a couple of seasons in the OJHL.
No, my memories were triggered by watching all those AHL callups on the Leafs getting a shot at the Big Time and how exciting it must be not just for them, but their families too. And that made me recall when Pad got called up from midget AAA to play a few games of junior A. I was excited, too.
The OJHL is a long, long way from the NHL. And the Mississauga Chargers, in a universe of junior A hockey teams, would be the planetary equal of Pluto. Is it really a planet? Is it really a junior A team? Hard to tell from here.
But they called and asked him to suit up for his first junior A hockey game in November 2009. It was a home game for the Chargers at Port Credit Arena against the Aurora Tigers, which had in its lineup the tallest, beefiest free-standing hockey player I had ever seen in person. Continue reading