During the World Junior A Tournament in Canada last week several fans were on hand to have their picture taken with the Stanley Cup and skate with the host team Canada West players for an hour.
I saw your article, and I thought that I would let you know about my son's experience meeting Joe Colborne. Full credit to the Canada West coaches and players who took time from their busy schedule to offer coaching and encouragement to an Atom hockey team from Trail.
The experience started when my sons Atom team (my son is 9 years old) won a draw (lottery), and got to practice with the Canada West team. My son could barely sleep the night before the practice, he was so excited. When the kids hit the ice, the players from Canada West went around and asked the Atom kids to be their partners for some drills.
Joe Colborne asked my son if he could be his partner. He said his name was Joe, and was hoping that my son could show him some skills (what a great sense of humour). Joe (as did all the players) spent 30 minutes showing the kids some tricks and offered help in shooting, passing, and checking. Joe was really encouraging, and complimented my son on the quality of wrist shot he had for his age. He showed him how to take passes off of the skate, how to make proper backhand passes, and even showed my son how to tie up the stick and pin your opponent in the corner.
Joe then asked my son if there was anything special that he would like to learn. My son told Joe that he was not very good at scoring on breakaways, and did he have a tip. Joe asked what he usually did on breakaways, and he answered "the wrist shot." Joe told him that he might want to try deking the goalie once in a while, and went on to show him his favourite deke. Joe showed him how to pull the puck over to the backhand and tuck it upstairs (both players are left hand shots).
The next 20 minutes were given to a scrimmage. The Canada West players made the kids feel great. When a kid made a move for the net, defenceman inexplicably fell over creating all kinds of breakaways. Somehow the goalie opened up and let these tiny shots score. The kids had a riot beating the big guys.
The highlight of the night for my boy came in the shoot out at the end. When it was his turn, he raced for the net. He tried the deke to the backhand that Joe had taught him earlier in the practice. Don't ask me how, but the backhand went in top shelf. It was a moment my son will always remember. Joe Colborne will be his favourite player for all time.