Cochrane goalie enjoys suiting up for the Xtreme
By: Lucas Punkari
| Posted: Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 11:13 am
When he played minor hockey in Cochrane, goalie Ben Laidlaw never envisioned suiting up for a team in Airdrie.
But the 14 year old is doing just that this season, as he is one of the two goalies for the Airdrie Xtreme in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League (AMBHL).
“I had always seen the Airdrie teams as a rival, so it’s funny to be playing for them now,” Laidlaw said.
“Over the last couple of years though, my goal was to play for the Xtreme, and now I’m actually playing for them in goal.”
“I never thought that I would be getting along with the guys from Airdrie like I have, but it’s a lot different when you don’t have that rivalry between one another on the ice, and we have a really great bond here,” he added.
Following a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Royals on home ice on Nov. 23, Laidlaw has a 3-4-1 record and a 3.82 goals against average for the Xtreme, as he tries to help his team move up in the league standings.
“I got off to a bit of a slow start when the year began, but I feel that I have been getting better now, just like our team has,” Laidlaw said. “I find that my mental game has been getting a lot better, which is something that I am happy about.”
“I remember going out onto the ice for our home opener (on Sept. 14 against the Calgary Northwest Flames) and my knees were buckling and my legs were shaking because I was so nervous, but now I am staying calm and I’m always mentally ready for anything,” he added.
Laidlaw has been splitting time between the pipes with Airdrie native Justin Fedoruk throughout the season, which has led to a strong friendship between the 14-year-old players.
“We actually hit it off right away once we met each other, and we have become close friends,” Laidlaw said. “He is a pretty good goalie and I am able to learn a lot from him.”
The play of both goalies has been something Xtreme Head Coach Josh Zimmer has been pleased by, especially since the pair are getting along and have a friendly rivalry.
“Both Ben and Justin have come a long way in a short amount of time,” Zimmer said. “Over the last few weeks, they have been turning in strong performances and it’s a great thing to be able to go back-and-forth between the two guys and have confidence in both guys.”
Laidlaw and the rest of the Xtreme will be back in action this weekend with a pair of home games at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.
The team will entertain the SEAC Tigers from Medicine Hat on Nov. 30 at 7:15 p.m., and then play host to the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers on Dec. 1 at 1 p.m.