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The Man Behind the Mask

I like to consider myself a sports fan. Nearly every day, I check out what happened the day before on ESPN or in the sports pages to keep myself up-to-date. While I like to stay updated on sports such as baseball, basketball, football, I have never really been interested in the sport of hockey. Even last year, when the ‘Hawks had their magical season and won the Stanley Cup, I tended to stay in the background and not get caught up in the hype.  I think I feel this way because it seems like hockey and its storylines always tend to be repetitive with the same Canadians or Russians grabbing all the headlines. There is no real polarizing figure I can latch on to and be genuinely interested in. I felt this way until I ran across an article about Carey Price.

This is Carey Price: a Canadian from the Ulkatcho First Nation who is also the goaltender for the Montreal Canadians. He stands out not only  because he is one of the few Native Americans in the NHL, but also because of how his unassuming nature fits in with the hockey-crazed city of Montreal. The Canadians are one of the most storied franchises in the NHL and were one of the original teams (along with the Blackhawks) when the NHL began. They have far and away won more Stanley Cups than any other team with 24. Yet, they have not won in almost 20 years. For a fan base that has been treated this well, this drought to them is comprarable to the Chicago Cubs 100+ year drought. So, it is interesting that they entrust their toughest position: goalie to one who is not even Canadian, but Native American even though the history of  this ethnic group in the NHL is so minimal.

While we’ve looked at it from the fan’s perspective, it is interesting also to see how such a figure can maintain such a composure in this hockey nation. Even though he has had tough stretches like in last year’s playoffs, he still maintains a calm and graceful demeanor on and off the ice. This, he chalks up to how his parents were able to raise him. His mother was the chief of the Ulkatcho Nation, and his father is a non-Native, but is very supportive of the culture and beliefs.

The composure Price keeps on the ice is steadily helping him rise to the tops of the goalie ranks in the NHL and he is quietly enjoying a great year, and at his young age of 23 still has many years to keep improving. I will certainly be interested to see his development and what he will be able to do throughout his career. Although he has yet to win a Stanley Cup, his status as one of the few Native Americans in a sport saturated with Canadians and Russians is sure to win over many new fans to the sport of hockey, including myself.


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