Why We Love This Game!

A truly inspirational story to not only the No5Hole community, but any person, of any age, in any sport!

STEVEN RADCLIFFE – TORONTO BASED GOALIE OF 50 YEARS

Always a sports enthusiast but never a great participant while growing up, I converted my passion for sports into full participation following graduation from University. I took up being an ice hockey goaltender, initially with borrowed equipment, to the point where I played as many as 4 times a week, and year-round. I slowed down a bit following a heart attack in December 2007, but I was back between the pipes by Fall 2008! I now play up to 3 times per week and am in the best physical condition of my life at age 57!

Playing in my first ever tournament game….in Barrie, ON in April 1986 at the ripe old age of 29. I had only played hockey on ice at any level of seriousness for a year or two, and my co-workers invited me to first join their weekly after-work game and then to join their tournament team for the annual province-wide workplace tournament. I was nervous as all get out. My teammates, including our team’s incumbent goalie, and our coach were all very supportive. I haven’t looked back since.

As a heart attack survivor, I am inspired to live each day to the fullest. Playing hockey, and especially playing goal, keeps me going. I enjoy the challenge of denying someone from achieving their goal – scoring against me. It’s a rush stopping a breakaway or diving across the crease to make a mid-air paddle save.

I have had the opportunity on occasion in the past few years to play hockey with my son (now 27 and a fellow goalie) and my daughter (now 21 and primarily a forward but plays goal too); it’s a thrill! I am now a grandfather. I hope to be able to pass along my love of the game to my grandchildren and to keep playing long enough to lace ‘em up with them too.

What first caught my eye was the playful, tongue-in-cheek messaging/graphic on the initial T-shirt. It represented Kevin’s sense of humour and his sense of style. I was curious and wanted to learn more thus I attended a product launch event at Just Hockey Source for Sports in August 2012. There I had a chance to meet Kevin, chat with him at length and to see the products first hand. I was sold! “Somebody’s Getting Shutout Tonight” is the perfect mantra for a goalie.

I served as an executive member of the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association (TLGHA) Board of Directors from 2003 until 2013. I served as TLGHA President from 2004 to 2007. During my time on the board, I was also active as team manager and associate coach of my daughter’s Wildcats rep teams. She played with the TLGHA throughout her entire minor hockey career. During my 3 year term as TLGHA President I did my utmost to recruit a dedicated slate of volunteer executive members who shared my vision of ‘growing the game’. That is, to do what it took to allow as many girls as possible to play hockey, at all levels. The association continues to grow each year with this same vision. The TLGHA is now one of the largest female hockey associations in the province with over 1,000 players participating as Toronto Leaside “Wildcats”; ranging from five and six year-olds in Learn to Play, to over 140 women playing in the senior house league.

Following my 3 years as President, I served as a dedicated member of a board sub-committee that worked tirelessly throughout 2009 and 2010, holding our municipal government accountable for the manner in which ice time at city arenas was being allocated. TLGHA, like many associations, was not receiving an allocation commensurate with its membership size. The result of this was the need to buy large blocks of very expensive private ice. The TLGHA’s persistent messaging resulted in a victory for youth hockey throughout the city of Toronto – with all associations, boys and girls, now receiving ice time at city rinks consistent with their number of registered players.

 

Recently I read on-line about the oldest active pro goaltender according to Guinness World Records. He is 78 years old and plays in a league in the Netherlands. A truly inspirational story. I hope to break his record!