Full Name: Roger Sterling Position: G Age: 25 Height (inches): 6'0" Weight (lbs.): 200 lbs Birthplace: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Relatively unknown before making his debut in the VHLM for the league's 60th season, Roger Sterling has quickly become a household name as he established himself as a promising up-and-coming goaltender more than capable of competing at the VHL level. His story is, quite frankly, boring - for the most part he's just a regular guy with a mostly regular up-bringing that was underpinned by the hard-work and dedication to the sport that is required of any person hoping to one day skate on VHL ice. It may not make for the most riveting of stories, but it could be said that such stories allow one to more easily cut through the noise and see the whole picture more clearly.
Roger Sterling was born at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Mona and Roger (Snr.) Sterling. Roger Snr. was, for the majority of his adult life, a prominent advertising executive with the firm Sterling Cooper, originally founded by his father. Interestingly, Roger Snr. was a close friend and colleague to another parent of a (former) VHL player, Donald Draper. Roger Snr. traveled quite frequently due to the nature of the business, often flying to meet clients or to visit various satellite offices that the company maintained such as the one in Stratford where Don Draper's father was based.
Roger Senior with Donald Draper (Snr.)
This meant that the senior Roger spent a lot of time away from home but, as Roger the junior put it, "we always knew that we'd make the most of it when he got back so it wasn't that difficult for most of my earlier childhood". It was his mother, Mona, who first encouraged him to try on some skates and join the local minor league. Funny enough, when he first start playing at the Novice level, he had no intention of being a goaltender - hell, he probably didn't even know what a goaltender was at that point. But, the novice team was without a goalie and as the parents and coaches were discussing just what to do about it, Mona offered to buy Roger some pads and he would be the goalie. This was a lucky move on her part as, from what we've heard, it was pretty apparent from early on that if Roger belonged anywhere on the ice, it was in the net.
The later years of Roger's childhood were markedly more difficult. The ever increasing extent of Roger Senior's travel and free-spirited lifestyle had been putting a strain on his marriage with Mona for years but finally when Roger Jr. was 16, it all came to a head and they split up. Roger moved to his firm's newly created New York office on Madison Avenue and only tended to visit every few months. Roger Junior stayed with his mother in Halifax, choosing to dedicate himself to the sport that he was now in love with, perhaps in part as an outlet for the familial difficulties he faced.
By the time he was in High School, Roger was fully entrenched as goalie and, according to him, had his mind made up pretty early on that this was the career he wanted to pursue for his life. He played AAA up until High School, when he turned down an offer to join the Major Midget team to instead be the starting goaltender for his High School team. The team went on to win National's that year and the MVP award went to none other than goaltender Roger Sterling.
Entry to the VHLM
Despite his successes and his high potential that was apparent to his local hockey community, by the time he was out of High School, Roger was still relatively unknown to pro-level scouts and watchers. This put him in a bit of a difficult position of not knowing whether or not he should take the risk of trying to make his dream of going pro happen. His mother encouraged him to do it, follow your dreams she said, although it's likely that on some level she encouraged this to spite his father, who by this time was re-married to his 20 year old secretary and who certainly made known his preference that Roger go to business school and join the advertising firm. However, by this time, Roger was living on his own in Halifax and his contact with his father had dwindled to the point where he didn't really put much stock into his opinion.
He decided to take a chance and declare his eligibility for the VHLM and much to his surprise, he was quickly picked up by the prestigious Will agency who rapidly secured him a position with the Las Vegas Aces as their starting goaltender. Although it was a rocky season, the stage that the VHLM gave him was enough for him, with the help of his agency, to finally get the larger community to notice his potential and by the time the S61 VHL Entry Draft rolled around, he was widely recognized as a rising star in professional hockey. In the end, he was selected 4th Overall by the Seattle Bears.
A lot of factors contributed to getting Roger Sterling to where is today. One is luck - for example, luck that his mother decided for him that he would be a goalie and luck that he had a mother who pushed him to do what he wanted to do. Another is just plain old hard work and dedication, something Roger has displayed towards hockey since he first laced up the skates (or, more accurate, had his mother lace up his skates). Perhaps, too, certain challenges faced in his upbringing helped drive him towards the outlet that hockey can be. Whatever the case, what we know now is that he's here in the VHL and he comes as a goaltender with the potential to truly be one of the greats. The rest of the story is, so far, untold.