News, Sports

University of Toronto Goalie’s Hockey Dreams Come True

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The home of the Toronto Maple Leafs: The Air Canada Center. Image: Sumanch
The home of the Toronto Maple Leafs: The Air Canada Centre. Image: Sumanch

Many young Canadians play hockey. They dream of one day playing in the NHL (National Hockey League) on a professional team.

Last week, that dream came true for University of Toronto goalie Brett Willows.

One minute he was about to eat dinner with his friends at a restaurant called Noodle Bowl on Spadina Ave. in Toronto. The next, he was suited up as a Toronto Maple Leaf goalie, waiting to go in and play in a professional game.

Willows never got to play in the game, but for a little while, he was a Leaf.

When the Leafs’ goalie, James Reimer, got injured, they put in their other goalie, Jonathan Bernier.

But Bernier would need a backup, and that backup, the Leafs decided, would be Brett Willows.

So they called him. Willows ditched the Montreal Canadiens cap he was wearing, threw a $20 bill on the table to pay for the few bites of soup he’d eaten, and ran to gather his goalie gear.

Then he raced to the Air Canada Centre.

In the Leafs dressing room, the team doctors were assessing whether Reimer could play.

He couldn’t, so they handed Willows a Leafs jersey–which even had his name, WILLOWS, on the back of it and the number 82.

While he was waiting in the dressing room to see if he’d be put in the game, Willows sent out a tweet:

What I dreamed about playing mini sticks in the basement just came true. Thanks Maple Leafs for the hospitality.

The next day, Willows was interviewed by sportscasters on TSN 1050 Radio. He told them, he was very impressed by the friendly and hospitable way he was treated. “If that’s the way they treat the younger players on the Leafs then the Leafs are in good hands. I was really impressed (by) the hospitality showed… making a nobody like me feel important, it went a long way.”

The Leafs are going to send Willows another jersey as a memento of the day he became an instant professional hockey player.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
When Willows got the call for the Toronto Maple Leafs and got dressed to play in the game, he described the experience as a dream coming true.

What do you dream about doing? What job, experience or opportunity do you dream about having in your own life?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
When Brett Willows went to eat dinner with his friends, he certainly didn’t imagine he would get a phone call from the Toronto Maple Leafs asking him to play.

Imagine you were Brett Willows that night and describe how you felt throughout the evening, starting when you first arrived at the Noodle Bowl and ending after the game.

Junior
Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Intermediate
Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Acronyms
An acronym is a word formed by the first letter of several words. For example the acronym, NHL, stands for National Hockey League.

Write acronyms for the following nouns:
1. United States of America
2. National Basketball Association
3. Frequently Asked Questions
4. Prince Edward Island
5. British Columbia