Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Kudos to Steve Ewen on a great article that appeared in the Province newspaper on Tuesday October 30th. We all remember seeing the highlight reel goal that gained national and international attention. After that game I spoke with Kirk Thompson and he then told me that he was okay with it and would do it again instead of watching it happen to somebody else.

I knew then that he was referring to Liam McLeod who had started that game. Thompson came in relief before the end of the first period and turned aside all but that one shot - a perfect shot with no room for error or hesitation. While talking with Kirk, I thought I would let things settle down a little before bringing up that story.

It is a great story of mentorship with Kirk taking as much pride in Liam's successes as he does in his own and the team's. Steve Ewen touches on that relationship in this story that appears on the Province newspaper's website and I have shared here for you.

Kirk Thompson has done nothing but win
after letting in widely viewed goal

by Steve Ewen, The Province

A funny thing happened to Kirk Thompson after being on the wrong end of perhaps the most viewed highlight in BCHL history.

He's kept winning. And winning. And winning.

The Prince George Spruce Kings netminder has been victorious in his five decisions since playing a supporting role on that last-second, 4-3 Langley Rivermen goal on Oct. 7 that starred the fancy hands of Austin Azurdia and the flashy phrasing of Rivermen play-by-play man Brandon Astle.

More than 90,000 people on YouTube have watched Azurdia toe-drag past Prince George defenceman Mitch Eden and beat Thompson glove-side, just under the crossbar, for the winner, and then listened to an obviously elated Astle bellow out things like, "Sports Centre, get it ready ... that's the highlight of the year!"

The clip has also run on Global TV, TSN, Yahoo.com's Puck Daddy blog and SI.com, among other spots.

Since then, all Thompson has done is turn away 138 of 147 shots directed his way (.939 save percentage) and helped steer the Spruce Kings to top spot in the Mainland Division, where they sit at 11-4-1-1.

To paraphrase Astle from that goal, this kid Thompson could run for mayor, if he keeps it up.

"I saw it everywhere," Thompson, 20, said of the Azurdia highlight. "All my buddies were texting me, all my teammates from the past. It was a great goal. You have to hand it to the guy."

It was the only marker Thompson gave up that night. He started the evening on the bench, but came on late in the first period after 16-year-old backup Liam McLeod allowed three goals on 11 shots. Thompson says that he’s glad it was him on the end of that play, instead of McLeod, because he’s well aware how hard, mentally, it can be on a young goalie in junior hockey.

He should know.

Two years ago, Thompson was 7-26-1, with a 3.91 goals against average and a .888 save percentage for the Spruce Kings. Last year, he moved to 15-14-1, with a 2.83 GAA and a .906 save percentage. This recent run has him at 10-3-1, with a 2.27 GAA and a .921 save percentage so far in 2012-13.

"I think I've built up a lot of confidence this year," said Thompson.

Now, he's looking to build up his resumé in order to land an NCAA scholarship. Other goalies near the top of the stats charts in the league have deals already — like Penticton Vees backstop Chad Katunar, who is off to Notre Dame; and Coquitlam Express netminder Cole Huggins, who has committed to Minnesota State.

"I need to keep doing what I'm doing," said Thompson, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Surrey native. "I'd like to think it's a matter of time before someone takes notice and wants to commit to me. I've had contact from a few teams, but I think everyone is waiting to see how I keep doing."


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