Nearly ten months ago, on Sunday, May 8th, 2003, I stepped out on the ice for the very last time as a Great Lakes Blues hockey player. It was our championship game. The game that had a major impact in my life.

The morning of May 8th, I was awakened by my Father yelling from down in the kitchen “ Wake up, you have a big game this afternoon.” I got up with in minutes and started my daily routine. My routine on game days included: eating a bowl of cereal, a lot of chocolate to give me energy followed by a nutritious lunch. I then began to think about my big game. Playing hockey for eight years and only making it to the championship twice made this game even more serious. The Berkley devils, our opponent, beat us both times they played us earlier in the season, so I knew we had to step it up a notch. Butterflies began to erupt in my stomach, and nerves were shooting up and down my spine from the nervousness I was encountering.

Arriving to Dearborn Ice Arena (The Disc) close to an hour early, I opened the door and witnessed a moment of silence. Our coach began his pointless pre-game speech about how much this game means to us. Before I knew it, it was time to go out for our pre-game skate. As I skated around our side of the net I began to feel a bit nauseous when I glanced over and saw our opponents, the Berkley Devils. I then skated over to the bench along with my teammates. The puck dropped and the first period began. From the bench we looked very nervous and unorganized. Our passes were off and the puck remained in our zone for the majority of the period. I managed to play five shifts but wasn’t able to light the lamp.

The first period was scoreless with only thirty more minutes of playing time left. The second period started off well, we were skating a lot faster, our passing improved, and we managed to score a goal seven minutes into the period. The goal was scored by my teammate, Grant Collins, who ripped a shot from the blue line that whistled above the goalies glove side shoulder. The sound of the crowd cheering echoed the arena as the game went on. Before I knew it there was only four minutes left in the second period and I was next to go out. I took the face off in Berkley’s zone and lost it sending the puck down into our zone. So far this wasn’t the best game of my career, I got three penalties, lost the majority of my face offs, and had only two shots on goal. The second period finally game to an end and we managed to keep the score 1-0.

With a full period left to go, I thought to myself “Do I want my last game to end up on a bad note?” So I gave the third period my all. However Berkley scored with not even a minute into the period making the score 1-1. This was no time to fool around. With the fourteen minutes we had left, we had to give it everything we had. My teammates and I held the score 1-1 with just over three minutes to go. My line was out next with the face off in Berkley’s zone. The butterflies in my stomach got worse from the anxiety I was experiencing at the moment. The crowd remained on their feet as the puck dropped. I won the face off back to my right defensemen at the blue line. He wound up and took a shot but was just a foot wide of the net. I gained control of the puck in back of the net and quickly passed it to my right winger who took a shot from the face off dot. I crashed the net with my stick on the ice tipping the puck off the blade of my stick, and redirected the puck over the goalies right leg. I SCORED!!!!!! I just encountered the best feeling of my life as my arms raised up jumping with excitement.