On my friend’s birthday, I embarrassed him with a Facebook post of a newspaper photo that shows him scoring on an under-the-leg shot in college hockey. Lots of hilarity ensued, most of it interesting only to those of us who know Joe, Alaska hockey, or both.
But one of Joe’s recollections from the comment stream ought to be of interest to every hockey fan, everywhere. I’ll let him tell it:
The Alaska Methodist University goalie, Frenchie, single-handedly re-wrote the NIAA tournament rules one year.
AMU was playing in upstate MN somewhere near Ojibway (it was a two week bus tour so who knows) and we wound up two guys down on a double penalty. Frenchie's in the net, and Brush and Pete Hegg and I are killing the clock. I pass to Pete, Pete to Brush, Brush back to Frenchie where he is supposed to stand around and kill time, but instead picks up the puck in full battle dress and streaks for center ice, full steam ahead!
He's deeking around like people are shooting at him, won't pass because he knows none of us will EVER pass it back to him. Pete falls back to cover the net so now it's just Brush, Frenchie and me going in hard against a full squad of guys who are now thinking they're having an out of body experience because here come two wingers with a goalie skating center.
Meanwhile, defenders are bouncing off Frenchie like flies trying to knock him down... no dice, he be padded. Now he's across the center ice and getting winded because... well he was a goalie, not an athlete, plus he's dragging all the gear with him roughly at light speed.
The coach is yelling, "Take the puck away from him" and I drift over to get it and Frenchie raises that war club like a sword so I'm out.
Now we're at the offensive blue line, Frenchie's slowing down and is drawing defenders like meter-maids at the Sturgis Harley meetup. Only one way this works for us, so Brush and I break for the goal, Frenchie passes to Brush who fakes the goalie into a six-year baccalaureate program, passes to me and I slap it in during a once-in-a-life-time moment that was, of course, not captured on video, print film, polaroid land camera, or primitive stick figure drawing.
It is, however, a part of oral history in Northern Minnesota and goes by the title, "Why a goalie cannot skate across the center line in college hockey."
There were around 15,000 people who saw this fiasco and the closer Frenchie got, you could hear the crowd change sides and everyone's yelling for Frenchie. Frenchie was never the same after that, "I can score zee goals myself if need be", but neither were we, "OK, Pinky, if we go shorthanded you hang back and knock Frenchie down every fifteen seconds or so."
Oh, yeah. Those were the glory years....