Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Young goalie gets a chance to practice with Brooklin Redmen

Nolan Garrard at practice with Zach Higgins (left) and Steve
The Brooklin Redmen tonight become the last team to kick off their Major Series Lacrosse season when they play host to the Brampton Excelsiors. They'll be going with the same goaltending tandem that performed well for them last year in Zach Higgins and Steve Fryer. But if either of those two are unavailable, they have a young man who would be more than happy to step in and fill a spot. Nolan Garrard practiced with the Redmen recently and hopes for nothing more than to one day be a Redman.

When we say a young man, we really mean it. Nolan is a 7-year-old tyke 2 player in his first year of lacrosse. He plays on the same team as Brooklin assistant coach Paul Stewart's youngest son. The team had a game at Iroquois Park recently that wrapped up just before the Redmen took the floor to practice. “His father mentioned to me that he wanted to stick around and watch the goalies, which I thought was great,” Stewart said. “Our practices are open and Higgy and Fryer are great guys to learn from. I thought, he's got his gear on so why not come out and take a few shots in the warmup and he was having fun so it just sort of progressed.”

That's right, Nolan not only got to stay on the floor and learn from the Redmen goalies, he got to take some shots in warmup and stick around to play net in a few drills. Talk about a dream come true for a young fan and player, especially given that Higgins is his favourite player. And Nolan did a good job in his stint in goal. “I got to work with the goalies. And the Redmen got to shoot on me. Some of them got some goals but most of them didn't,” he said.

Once he got in, Nolan wasn't too keen to come out of the net, according to Stewart. “I'd say he went in the first three or four drills. With the group of guys we have with the Redmen they had fun with it and there was never a danger of him taking a hard shot or getting hurt or anything. He was right in there, I actually had a hard time getting him to let the other two guys rotate in. It was pretty funny.”

While Nolan and the players were having fun with the situation, Stewarts says the young goalie was actually pretty intense while he was in the net. “He really wants that third spot. We don't have a third goalie right now so he was intense.”

Stewart has since talked to Nolan's dad and learned that Nolan really did have fun with the whole thing, and Stewart says it was no big deal for him and the team to do but is something that Nolan will remember for the rest of his life. “It's really a testament to the players of the Redmen who made it so fun for him,” Stewart says.

For now the Redmen will stick with Higgins and Fryer in net as they get the 2014 season under way and start to chase their goal of winning the Mann Cup.