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Raymond Bernard's Journal #1

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Monday, July 1st, 2019:


I remember the first time I saved a shot. Well, saved might not exactly be the right word. It’s more like I fell flat on my face, and just happened to catch the puck on my way down. You see, I didn’t start off playing hockey as a kid like most of these guys; I was a soccer goalkeeper until I was 10. The only time I remember skating before I moved to Vancouver was at one of those pop-up rinks in the winter time that stays for two months and then disappears until next year, almost like the ice just melted into the gutter. But when I moved up to Canada from my hometown in California, the only sport that kids I met seemed to talk about was hockey. So I figured I’d give it a shot, and I started to go to some open-skate practice for a local rec-league.


Not going to lie, it was pretty rough at the beginning. Skating did not come second nature to me; I was never going to be a flashy playmaker, moving up and down the ice with ease. I wasn’t going to be that guy weaving in and out of the defense with ease, or even a brutish defenseman; hell, if I got in a fight on ice as a kid the ice would have won more than the other guy. But in my first couple weeks, when I got put in the crease for that first time, and made that first save (albeit with my teeth rather than my blocker), I knew that I had found my calling. The way I saw it, as long as I could stop the puck, it didn’t matter how slow I might be sprinting down the ice.


Of course, I’ve worked on it, and since 10 years ago I’ve improved my skating skills a lot, but the core of my game has and will always be getting myself between the puck and the net. And that’s really all that matters right? Zero goals against, shutouts, clean sheets, however you want to call it. But I’m going to be honest; I’ve always had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. Growing up, I heard the chatter, the funny little “nicknames” kids seem to come up with for those who were different; but all that has only served to make me hungrier to succeed, and to work, and work, and work on it. And if all goes right tomorrow in the VHLM entry draft, all that work will soon pay off. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a long road ahead, but I think I can make it. I’m just excited to be given the opportunity to succeed, and to make my mark. I love the sport, and just because I wasn’t born with skates on my feet doesn’t mean I won’t be able to lace up just like any other player, go out there, and make some stops. But first, I need to get some sleep. Tomorrow is a big day.




Tuesday, July 2, 2019:


9:32 a.m. PDT

I woke up this morning feeling nauseous. I know that at this point, there is nothing I can really do to change my draft stock. I looked at the mock draft, and I wasn’t even mentioned until the blanket list they put out for probable late-rounder’s. Next to my name, the analysts wrote: Late-bloomer, only expect to see him because of the utter lack of goalies in this draft class. Talk about encouragement.

So I barely ate, just some toast and a glass of milk, and got ready for the day. I got some texts of encouragement from family and friends. Even my first coach sent me a long email saying how proud he was of the work I put in (and taking all the credit for my success, of course). It was nice to see the support, but if anything it made me more anxious not to disappoint them. Not like there is anything I could do otherwise, but it leaves a knot in my stomach all the same. Anyway, I think it’s time for me to head out!


3:58 p.m. PDT

This is stressful man, but I have some good news! A couple GM’s have reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in playing for their team. It’s not like anyone has given me a distinct offer or said they’d pick me at any given slot, but it’s really promising! I think I might at least be able to sneak in the draft, somewhere in the last couple rounds, but that’s good enough for me. As long as I’m given a chance, even as an undrafted free-agent, I’ll be happy. I’m sure if I just get some playing time then I can convince some teams to give me a chance. I can do this!


8:14 p.m. PDT

I can’t believe it, but it actually happened! I was drafted by Ottawa, 40th overall! I’m absolutely floored, but it turns out they needed a goalie, and liked my attitude enough to take a chance on me in the 4th round. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in myself and I think that I have the skills to perform well, and the potential to go far, but I am just stunned that I went in the 4th round. Now it’s not like I was some lottery pick or anything, but still, it feels pretty unbelievable. Getting that phone call was like a breath of fresh air. I’m just so excited to be a part of the team that came just shy of winning it all last season. I really think we can be a contender this year, and I hope I can put up the performances night in and night out to justify my GM’s decision to pick me when they did. It’s going to be a long road, but I know I can do it, and I know it’s the right road for me. For now I can’t wait to meet the rest of my team! And for tonight, it’s time to celebrate!



1023 words, using for weeks 6/30-7/6 and 7/7-7/13. First time posting so please let me know if there are any issues :)

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