My father was a linesman in the old Eastern Hockey League in the USA in the late 70's, and since we lived in Vienna, Virginia, I got to come to some of his games. And so it is that I was a 7 year old boy in a hockey arena in Baltimore, Maryland when I met Jim Weaver.
He was a young 24 year old goalie playing for the Baltimore Clippers in the old EHL hockey league. Looking at Jim, he seemed to be much older in my mind than the young man he really was. (I was only 7 then, and everyone seemed to be "big people" no matter how old they were) After all, he had a 5 o'clock shadow, and it made him look like a real bad-ass...
I must've been a pain in the ass to Jim. I was always asking him questions about being a goalie because I was fascinated that he was a hockey player; something that I wanted to be. And it probably wasn't very enjoyable for him seeing that I couldn't really hold a coherent conversation, and most likely asked him a lot of dumb questions as 7 year olds do...
But I seem to remember him putting up with my dumb questions, and being really, really nice to me even when he didn't have to be. And in turn, I was his biggest fan. Jim Weaver never played a game in the NHL, but to me, he was the greatest goalie in the world.
He let me put on his goalie gloves, and see his goalie pads. But the real moment of truth was when he let me put on his face mask. -It was like the holy grail of hockey equipment to me. Little did he know, that he was making me an addict with this crack-like equipment draped all over me, and I was hooked.
From that moment on, I was obsessed with goalie equipment and hockey, and Jim Weaver had a big hand in this. Even to this day, I can smell that arena smell in my nose, and I can think of a lifetime ago when I first played my first game as a goalie, and I wonder if that would've happened had I not met this man.
The funny thing is, I have absolutely no idea whatever happened to him. All I have is the story of a young Canadian hockey player and his stats, which ended shortly after I met him in 1979. I am wondering if I will ever get a chance to meet him, and thank him for the kindnesses he extended to me all those years ago and that he probably won't remember.
Well, I remember you, Jim. If by chance you find this blog and you are reading this, I would like to know what happened after your hockey career came to an end, and where you are now. If the internet has put this into your hands, please reach out to me and drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
And thanks again for making those moments great ones to me Jim...wherever you are.