At 10, I convinced my parents to allow me to try playing goal with 5 games left in the season.
The following year I got my first pair of gloves
My first full season as the only goalie, age 11.
My first year making "A" in Bolton, Ontario
This was my first set of "cool gear" in my second year playing "A" in Bolton.
Practicing my stance in the hotel during a hockey tournament.
Making the "AAA" in Richmond Hill was a huge step. I made it on my third try as a 14 year old going into high school.
Two years later I made a Tier II Junior team. Burlington Cougars. I got lucky. The starting goalie was 20 years old and had a season ending injury in the first week of the season. I ended up playing all the games and was even named to the all star game. This was an important step because I started getting attention from OHL scouts. I was 16 years old.
"The Happiest Day of My Life". I was drafted 44th overall to the Sudbury Wolves OHL. I started feeling like I had a chance to make it in hockey. Photographed with my grandfather Murray "Moose" Valiquette who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs farm team in St. Michaels Majors and my dad - nice shirt bro!
My first year as lead goalie coach at Jim Park.
Checking out my new gear from the Sudbury Wolves. Big day for my dad as he no longer had to pay for equipment!
My second year in the OHL. I am 18 in this photo. GREAT MULLET!!
My point of ignition! I was drafted by the L.A. Kings with the 1st pick of the 8th round. I put a smile on for the picture, but I was angry I was drafted so late. My work was cut out for me.
Play fighting with my dad. He would always say: "I have to make you tough." I usually won and after I broke his leg one year that ritual ended.
Getting traded in my final year of OHL hockey was a blessing. I had a fantastic coach in Dale Dunbar and we had an outstanding run at the end of the season 16-0-2. The L.A. Kings took a pass on me and I eventually signed my first NHL contract with the New York Islanders for 3 years. I was 20 years old.
Here we are making up!
Mom always took me to the rink. Always positive and never interfered with my development. Hockey was always fun and that is why I never gave in when I was cut.
A year later, March 16th 2000, I played my very first game in Atlanta and won. I was also named first star of the game. All I could hear repeating in my head was " it was all worth it."
My mom is also a fantastic photographer - she made me a poster one year and encouraged me to dream big!
Here is Roberto Luongo in his first year of pro hockey. Although I was two years his senior he taught me a lot about the game.
Without a doubt all my training with "Sudsie" got me there. Sudsie helped me with my skating above all else. Skating is the most important skill a goalie has to perfect to give themselves a chance to play.
Trying to break my dad's concentration in pool. To this day he has never beat me!
To be continued...
My love for the game started so young, and the Commodore 64 (computer) was our team sponsor. Chicken wire instead of glass, and carpet wrapped divider posts… WOW! That’s me on the far right.
I got my start playing minor hockey as a defenseman in Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan (population 500). It’s not big, but it’s got a lot of heart. We skated at the rink almost every day, our second home, and when we couldn’t ….STREET HOCKEY!
Moving on up to the traveling teams in the great metropolis of Weyburn (population 10,000).
Still a D-man for every game, I was learning new techniques to score on the goalie from the
Finally a goalie!!! As you can see the one-legged knee drop was still in effect. I remember
wearing a circle Jofa helmet in order to keep those glasses in order. But don’t laugh too hard.
Winning my first tournament I played as a goalie set me up with motivation for the future.
Michael Jordan Hat… check, mismatched gear… check, high neck guard … check, awesome
I always knew it would take hard work. My parents put in several years of early morning camps. Christmas lists filled with goalie gear and a kid who wouldn’t sleep without his mask on.
Midget AAA Yorktown Mallers. At 16 years old I was cut from this AAA team in Yorkton, Sask., two and a half hours from home. Then the other goalie in Yorktown made major junior, and I
was back. They gave me a shot.
Again, cut! At the age of 17, I was cut from this Junior A Tier 1 team. The second goalie’s father had an affiliation with the team, and I was to returned to Yorkton. After one month the second goalie quit and they needed me. I stepped in and played great for 10-12 games,
attracting College offers.
Four years at Providence College. Some of the best times of my life. I received a degree in
Fine Art, found my wife, and was lucky enough to be drafted to the San Jose Sharks. Go
It’s all in the family!!
My younger sister, Falin, went on to play professional volleyball for Canada’s National Team,
and also for several teams in Europe.
My older brother, Peter, was a Gold Medalist for Canada’s World Junior Team, WHL MVP,
and an eight year veteran of the NHL (Vancouver, Ottawa, Boston). He played left wing and
is now retired.
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