So why “The Ol’ Goaler”?

Give the credit (or the blame, if you will) to “Mr. Goalie”; Hockey Hall of Famer Glenn Hall (pictured above). As a 13-year-old kid who was too little for football or basketball, and who couldn’t hit a baseball to save my soul, I was introduced to the National Hockey League by the expansion St. Louis Blues in 1967. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the most important guy on the team was the goalie — Mr. Hall. Hockey fever gripped St. Louis almost from the get-go. While all the other kids in the neighborhood bought hockey sticks, I bought a goalie’s stick, found an old “trapper” first baseman’s mitt of my Dad’s, and wrapped old pillows around my legs.

To the wonderment of all, I was a good street-hockey goalie! While I couldn’t run a lick, I had quick hands and feet going side-to-side. I had an untapped talent for “getting in the way” — which pretty much is the job description of a goaltender. That gave an un-athletic, nerdy 13-year-old a much-needed dose of self-confidence. (Academic success? Pfui! That wasn’t difficult; success on any playing field/court/rink was!)

I continued to play, off and on, to the tender age of 42… Paraphrasing from Jack Falla’s novel, “Saved” — There’s no such thing as an ex-goalie; just like there’s no such thing as an ex-Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine (and I know this to be true; Dad and Grandad were both Marines), and once a goalie, always a goalie. Hence, I continue to be The Ol’ Goaler…

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