BY BOB DUFF
As part of our Minor Hockey Memories series, we asked a number of former NHL players to reminisce about their favorite youth hockey memories, and to discuss what they would change about today’s youth hockey culture.
Today, Stu Grimson shares his memories. An NHL forward and tough guy for 729 games from 1988-2002, Grimsonbroke into the league with the Calgary Flames in 1988-89, the year the team won the Stanley Cup. He skated with Chicago Blackhawks (1991-92) and Detroit Red Wings (1994-95) teams that played in the Stanley Cup final, and was also an original with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 1993-94, or as he liked to call them, the Muscular Waterfowl.
After hockey, Grimson earned his law degree from the University of Memphis in 2005. He served as counsel for the NHLPA and as an analyst for the NHL Network.
What organization did you play minor hockey for as a kid?
Stu Grimson: There were many. My dad was a Mountie and we moved around a lot. I played in Oliver, BC, the Kelowna Minor Hockey Association, Dawson Creek Minor Hockey and Kamloops Minor Hockey.
Did you play AAA the whole time?
Grimson: Nope. Some years I was in travel hockey and others I was not. You know what they say, “The big ones take longer to develop…”
What is your favorite memory of minor hockey?
Grimson: Nothing was more fun than playing knee hockey in the hotel hallways at out of town tournaments.
What was your favourite drill as a kid?
Grimson: The timeless and classic Horseshoe Drill. That’s when you have two lines of players along the boards. You skate from the corner of the zone, swing around at the blue line, accept a pass from the opposite corner and go in and take a shot at the goalie.
How much of a role did your parents play in your hockey as a kid?
Grimson: They were very involved but in a low-key way. My father coached me just one year that I recall. But for the most part they signed me up, bought me gear and got me there until I could drive myself.
How much other hockey development did you do outside of your regular team?
Grimson: Not a lot as a youth. There was not much hockey-specific training available outside of the local rink when I was growing up through minor hockey.
Did you play spring hockey?
Grimson: Never. It was never an option when I was a boy.
Did you play other sports?
Grimson: I played them all — football, baseball and even basketball but never developed the interest that I did for hockey. I won high school athlete of the year for my grade (8th) playing volleyball at Dawson Creek Junior High. I liked volleyball. I probably played soccer in more years than any of the other sports.
What is the one thing you would change about minor hockey?
Grimson: Mandate that only orphans can play. Youth Hockey is a wonderful concept when staged without parents.