Friday, 16 June 2017

Save Made By Brick Tamland

It's hard to image that Brick Tamland could have been a goaltender of record in the NHL, but anything is possible. Steve Carell, a highly successful comedian and Hollywood actor, was a very talented hockey goaltender at one point in his life. Honestly, I would never have guessed at his past sporting abilities, but the comedian has used his hockey talents in comedy in the past. While his hockey past may firmly be in his past, we're going to pull back the curtain on Steve Carell a little today and expose his hockey-playing days on HBIC. And no, that's not a joke as the former goaltender was a solid player in his days between the pipes at the NCAA level.

If you're a fan of the TV show The Office, you know that Steve Carell's character both referenced and played a little hockey on show. The episodes of The Office that showed him skating made it very apparent that Carell had either taken lessons or played at one time as he skates very well. In saying this, there had to be a story down the rabbit hole that is Steve Carell's life, and this is where we land today as we explore Steve's hockey past.

I'll start by posting this video of the short-lived Dana Carvey Show where Steve Carell takes to the ice in full goaltending gear to show off what it takes in practice for goaltenders to reach that next level.
That's clearly not Robert Esche in the nets as the clip features, as mentioned, Steve Carell doing all he can to show off his goaltending skills. It's not a funny as it could have been, but it gives a good sense as to his abilities. SO what do we know about Carell's career?

Born in Concord, Massachusetts as the youngest of four Carell brothers, Steve grew up watching the "Big Bad Bruins" with all the old greats. He told ESPN's Lynn Hoppes in 2013,
"I was definitely a Bruins fan. Celtics too. Havlicek. Cowens. Bird. You could count on those teams always being in the mix. The Bruins' great run in the early 1970s inspired me to get into hockey. I think I was 8 years old, and all my friends started playing. Those teams inspired generations to play youth hockey. Bobby Orr. Teddy Green. Esposito. Sanderson. Monumental times."
Knowing that Carell was a Bruins fan doesn't make me like him any less despite me questioning his choice of team, but that era of the Bruins was pretty special. He noted that he won a national championship at the "Squirt" level, and he decided to continue playing through his childhood into high school.

He was a goaltender for Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts from 1979 to 1981. Stats are hard to come by for this era on the internet, but it appears he wore #1 and #22 as a goaltender with the Zebras. On another note, how does a team call itself the zebras without wearing a striped uniform? In any case, there are no stats that I can find but it appears that Carell's choice of number in other sports was #22 as well, and he might be the first goalie to wear that number! He also tended nets for Division-III Denison University Big Red in the ACHA from 1981 to 1984, and it was at Denison where Carell made a decision that would change his life. He told Hoppes,
"I was a goalie. At a certain point, you either have to commit to that as a potential career or let it become a fun hobby. That happened in high school. I had to think about whether I was going to a Division I college hockey program and fight for a job of a goaltender or do something else. Instead, I went to a Division III school and played throughout college. It was for fun and not advancing myself."
For a guy who played hockey in college for fun while earning a history degree in 1984, that's a fun way to go through school. It was at Denison, though, where Carell joined Burpee's Seedy Theatrical Company, a student-run improvisational comedy troupe, as he began to find his comedic and acting chops. From there, he saw success with Second City in Chicago, was cast on The Dana Carvey Show, and worked with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on The Daily Show from 1999 until 2005.

What makes Steve Carell's short career in hockey is that his hockey days have affected his life some 30 years later! He told David Letterman about his recent 2014 hip surgery that was actually from an old hockey injury!
As you heard, the 54 year-old still plays hockey today when he's not on set for a film. According to this Reddit exchange, Carell plays "at Anaheim Ice on the Bronze". He's stated in interviews that the level of play isn't very high, but he enjoys playing hockey with his brother who lives in California as well! The only difference from his old playing days is that he now plays as a defenceman!

It's always interesting to think "what could have been", but I'm quite certain Steve Carell made the right life decisions in becoming a comedic actor. He has been in a number of hit movies and The Office was a resounding success on the small screen. His voice work as Gru in Despicable Me has spawned an entire run of movies and merchandise that should keep Steve Carell in good financial standing forever, so I'm not going to cast any judgment on his life choices. He still attends NHL games when he can, and it's clear that he's a fan of the game.

Hockey has the coolest fans!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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