The entire team was excited this morning to find they have a Real Goalie! Most kids want to skate out, so finding anyone to play in goal (or even to play defence) is a challenge and finding someone who's waited his entire short life to man the crease is unheard of. Several parents were awake enough to marvel at the miniature pads and to chuckle knowingly, figuring that Ross would get on the ice, find himself stranded like a toddler in a snowsuit, and give up the goalie idea ten minutes later.
Getting on the ice is usually a mob affair with all the kids rushing the single-file door in a clump so that nobody can actually fit through the door, so I was amazed when Ross lumbered up and they magically parted to allow their goalie to lead them onto the ice. Goalie leading the line is a hockey tradition but I wasn't expecting it from new Mites at their first practice!
As Ross hit the ice and glided off confidently toward the crease, jaws dropped as people saw how easily he maneuvers in the gear. The team started off with a few passing drills and a goal coach started working with Ross, who can't yet make a solid stick-save but can surprisingly do fantastic kick-saves and puck-dives (he's been imitating NHL Famous Goalie Saves for five years...). After a while, the drills were combined, with the team skating up to a goal attempt on Ross at the end of each turn. All in all, I'd say Ross took about 200 shots today and stopped an impressive number of them. He came off the ice at least as excited (if not more excited) about goaltending than he was to begin with.
After practice, Ross saw a third-grader from his school who plays goal for a travel team. On spotting Ross toting a goalie stick, the boy came over to investigate. Seconds later, Ross whipped out his new goalie helmet. The other boy got all excited - he has THE SAME GOALIE HELMET! As if there would be more than one choice in a product with a total sale potential of 16 pieces, worldwide... He ran to get his so Ross could see the custom paint job - stitches, done with white-out, in the style of Gerry Cheevers. As Ross was admiring the decoration, the other boy asked, "Were you really excited when you got your helmet?"
Eyes shining, Ross smiled and breathed, "Oh, yes!"
"Me, too," the older boy replied with a grin, "Me, too."