From Idaho Steelhead to US Olympic Hockey
Is it me, or does it seem like the Winter Olympics are a tad more memorable than the Summer Olympics? The Summer Games are filled with big names and more prominent stars.
Pat Nagle's Journey to the Olympics
In contrast, the Winter Games elevate unknowns who cling to their dreams on lonely slopes, remote areas, or minor league hockey arenas. We slowly discover these athletes who've come from the most unthinkable backgrounds to seize that 'one moment in time.'
Pat Nagle, a goalie on the US Olympic Hockey Team, would fit that description of someone from nowhere to compete at the highest levels. If Nagle's name sounds familiar, it should since he played goalie for the Steelheads during his eleven-year minor league hockey career. His career started when he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011.
Nagle is the subject of an extensive piece in the Wall Street Journal.
He details his travels to the Journal; we'll do our best to share those with you. Nagle began his minor league career in Syracuse, Boise, Fort Wayne, Rochester, Grand Rapids, Utica, and Toledo. (That is the abbreviated version of his career.) He did share with the Journal that Boise made an impression on him. "Boise, an incredible spot."
The NHL opted out of the Bejing Olympics due to Covid concerns. Without the pool of NHL talent, US Hockey went looking for players to compete for Team USA. Nagle told the Journal he kept the phone call from the Olympic team to himself for a few days. He was fearful that the opportunity would go away.
The thirty-four olympian is the oldest player on the team. The husband and father of two have taken on the role of mentor to the team's much younger players. He tells the Journal he doesn't mind being compared to the fictional minor league baseball character Crash Davis in the movie Bull Durham.
The road to Bejing has not been a smooth one for Nagle. His dedication should inspire all of us about the magic of perseverance. How can you not root against someone who, as the Journal broke down, has been an 'Everblade, a Crunch, a Steelhead, a Komet, a Comet, an American, a Griffin, a Walleye, a Royal, and a Phantom?'