Every kid dreams of playing in the National Hockey League and of scoring their first career goal.
Both have now come true for Aldergrove’s Shea Theodore.
With the score tied at one in the third period against the Ottawa Senators last week (Jan. 13) at the Honda Center in Anaheim, the Anaheim Ducks rookie defenceman took a pass from captain Ryan Getzlaf, broke in along the wing and put the puck past goaltender Craig Anderson for a 2-1 Ducks lead.
Anaheim would win the game 4-1.
“It was a bit of a relief,” Theodore said earlier this week (Jan. 18) when he spoke to the Times from Anaheim on an off-day for the Ducks.
“I saw an opening on the short-side and just shot it.”
“I was pretty excited; I think I fist-pumped with arms. I kind of blacked out.”
When Theodore checked his phone after the game, it was flooded with messages.
“It blew up a little bit from all my friends and family,” he said.
“Social media is pretty big, so you’ve got a lot on Instagram and Twitter. It was pretty cool.”
While Theodore’s teammates congratulated him on the goal, Getzlaf retrieved the puck for the rookie defenceman.
The goal came in Theodore’s eighth game and he figures the puck — which the team is having mounted on a plaque to commemorate the achievement — will go on display at the family’s house back in Aldergrove.
It will join the collection Theodore’s collection of trophies and plaques he has won over the years.
Theodore was on Canada’s gold-medal winning team at the 2015 IIHF world junior hockey championships.
“This will be a nice one to add to the wall,” he said.
It has been a whirlwind month for Theodore as he was recalled from Anaheim’s American Hockey League affiliate, the San Diego Gulls on Dec. 27.
The first round draft pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft (26th overall) is in his first season of professional hockey after a stellar major junior career in the Western Hockey League with the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Theodore made his NHL debut a few nights later and has been in the line-up ever since.
“He’s played great,” said Getzlaf on the Anaheim website. “He’s a really smart kid that finds those holes very well.
“He’s helped our power play tremendously.”
“Those are just his offensive instincts,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said on the team’s website.
“Getzy did a great job of waiting for him and Shea was ready.”
Theodore’s parents were able to watch his NHL debut in Calgary and they had tickets for a few nights later when Anaheim was in town to play the Vancouver Canucks.
They had planned a trip to visit him in San Diego for early February, but Theodore has no idea if he will be back in the AHL — the Ducks have three defenceman currently out — by then or still with the big team in Anaheim.
“I am just taking it game by game,” he said.
“I have gotten lots of great feedback (but) obviously there are ways to improve.”
In 10 games, Theodore has one goal, three points and a +2 rating while averaging just over 19 minutes a game.
The Ducks are back in action tonight (Wednesday) when they host the Minnesota Wild.
— with files from Anaheim Ducks website