My son Spencer Albright is 15 years old and he was promoted from the 14-and-under Greensboro Stars hockey team to the 16-and-under team. Spencer had been starting every other game this season with another goalie, who is 16 years old.
So they had been rotating and they had enjoyed a great season, but had trouble against the Raleigh Junior Hurricanes. It came down to the last two games of the regular season with them on the road and my son’s team had to win both games to advance to the national tournament in Michigan.
They could not tie; they had to win both games.
The Hurricanes beat them twice earlier this year, so the odds of them winning both were slim. They also had to play Raleigh on their ice.
Greensboro won the first game 5-4 to keep their hopes alive but they still had to win the second game to advance. Raleigh knew they could advance with just a tie. Most of the parents had already booked rooms, flights, etc. to go to the tournament in April. They were very confident and had a certain attitude to them.
After the first period, the score was tied. At the end of the second period, it was tied 3-3. With 1:24 to play, the score was tied 3-3. The odds of anybody scoring were slim and it looked like Raleigh had the tie they needed locked up. Greensboro decided to pull its keeper and play with an empty net to try to win the game. Wide open net, all out attack for 1:24. As the second ticked down, a penalty was called with 13 seconds left. There was a faceoff in front of the Hurricanes net. The Stars got a shot off that bounced off the Raleigh goalie and the Stars scored on a rebound to go ahead 4-3 with 10 seconds left.
The crowd went wild, the kids went wild, but there were still 10 seconds remaining. The Hurricanes got the puck down the ice and got a shot off. Greensboro had put its goalie back in and he blocked it. The final seconds ticked off and a pile up of my son’s team ensued. It was incredible and people were going crazy.
The story is that my son, who normally plays every other game, didn’t play the first or second game. We were concerned that he was going to be upset about this. In between the two games, his mom started questioning him about how he would react if he did not play in the second game.
He remarked stoically that he was trying not to think about it. My son is younger than his teammates and he understood why the other kid was playing. However, he had consistently played every other game all season. We wanted him to be prepared in case he didn’t play, but we wanted him to be jacked up, excited and committed if he did play.
My wife asked him what he would do if the coach decided not to play him in that second game.
“I will open the gate for the other players to come off the ice and come on the ice if they don’t play me,” Spencer said.
I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. It was an incredible statement and a prophetic statement for the rest of his life. He will definitely be a door opener for people regardless of his position in life. If he’s on the ice, if he’s in life, he’s going to be playing hard. If he’s on the bench or not in the game, he’s going to be cheering others on and opening the door to help others be successful.
What an incredible moment as we prepare to go to the national championship in Michigan. Check out this video below, it’s already gotten more than 700 views. Don’t forget to share it and post comments.
Check it out, you’ll enjoy it. It’s a great little tribute to my son’s team. Let’s get ‘em in Michigan!