These next 23 seconds will show what perseverance is all about in junior hockey.
Charlie Millen, a goaltender like his father Hockey Night in Canada commentator Greg Millen was, is what players refer to as a "suitcase." That's not meant in a mean way, it's just of way of noting the 20-year-old has been through more leagues than Jules Verne during his time in junior hockey, playing for an even dozen teams in his five seasons spread from Saint John, N.B., to Sault Ste Marie, Ont. The younger Millen has finally found a home with the Ottawa Jr. Senators of the Central Canada Hockey League, where his team is in first place and he's one-thousandth of a point off the lead in goals-against average.
He must be standing on his head on a nightly basis there, judging from the excitement of the FastHockey crew — wowww! — after Millen made a Sportscentre-worthy stop on the Cornwall Colts' Alexandre Gendron. Gendron stole the puck from a Jr. Senators defenceman inside the blueline and had all the time in the world to plan a move on Millen. He went backhand to get Millen into a lunge that left goal gaping, but the goalie got the glove out for a superlative stop. Count how many wows the colour commentator lets out.
This save came in the midst of 5-1 Colts win where Millen made 42 saves to keep the game from becoming a total blowout. The little vignette is a great reminder of how someone with a hockey dream keeps going until all avenues are exhausted, no matter how often an opportunity does not pan out.
No word of a lie, Millen, whose dad played 14 seasons in the NHL, has appeared in games with a dozen teams in the OHL, QMJHL, CCHL and Ontario Junior Hockey League since he was 16. Charlie Millen played his first game with his hometown Peterborough Stars (and it was just for one game), then moved on to the Pickering Panthers (two games), Huntsville Otters (13), Gatineau Olympiques (three), Carleton Place Canadians (seven), Pembroke Lumber Kings (six), Smiths Falls Bears (three), Saint John Sea Dogs (three), Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (one), Drummondville Voltigeurs (two), Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (two) and finally the Jr. Senators (46). Having a father who is well-connected in the hockey industry probably helped Charlie Millen find a lead on a new team a few times, but still, this is someone who has kept bashing away when someone else might have packed it in.
He sure didn't give up on that play, much to Alexandre Gendron's regret.
(Stick tap: Whit Prophet.)
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org (video: FASThockey).