Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid is already a veteran of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including winning a Stanley Cup title with the Bruins in 2011 and approaching 50 postseason games for his career before his 27th birthday.
This postseason, McQuaid, 26, has been a staple of Boston's third defensive pairing, providing a shut-down presence for Claude Julien. In the Eastern Conference Final, McQuaid scored the series-winning goal in a stunning four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
McQuaid has been gracious enough to agree to keep a player blog that will appear on NHL.com throughout the Stanley Cup Final.
In his second installment, he talks about his hometown of Cornwall, Prince Edward Island and his start in hockey.
I grew up in Cornwall, a little town just outside Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island. I played my minor hockey with North River minor hockey. I can remember just being excited to go to the rink as a kid. We had an older rink at the time; we have a newer rink that has been built since. But, my minor hockey was played in an older rink. I can remember the smells. You could smell the French fries; you could smell the canteen, the Zamboni. It was cold, but I just always felt good to walk in the rink and into those familiar smells. Growing up I would go and watch the older guys play and looked up to them a lot. If I was playing peewee, I looked up to the bantams, at the bantams, looked up to the midgets.
There are times now, obviously, when you think about those things. There are times looking back if I would have ever imagined if things would have turned out as they have. I think every kid has the dream of playing in the NHL and you watch Hockey Night in Canada and all that stuff. I just enjoyed playing; I enjoyed hanging out with my friends, playing street hockey and all that. It was something that everybody did, it seemed. Winters can be pretty cold back home and there is not much to do. You are either watching hockey, playing it or out on the pond. It's a common hobby that everyone shares.
I wasn't always the best player growing up. I was lucky they let me play on the Triple-A teams and stuff. I don't know if I would say I was a star. I just took each level as it came. I was 15 and I started getting a little bit of attention from scouts at the major-junior level. For me, at that age, that was my whole focus, wanting to get drafted to move on and play major-junior. There were a few guys from the island that went on to play major-junior that I really looked up to. I got drafted to Sudbury of the Ontario Hockey League and, at 16, moved away from home. That wasn't easy coming from a close-knit family and a small town. That was a tough decision but something I needed to do to give me the chance to play major-junior. Fortunately, I was able to make the team and my NHL Draft year was my second year and I got a little bit of attention from scouts again and then I was drafted to Columbus. It was probably at that point, when I got drafted to Columbus that your focus shifts and you start thinking that maybe you can make a go of it and start working toward that.
If I couldn't have been a hockey player, school was important to me, important to my family growing up, so I just I figured I would go back to school. I kind of initially thought I would like to be a gym teacher. I loved playing all kinds of sports growing up and, unlike most people, I didn't mind school and I thought maybe it would be a good fit and I could try to be a good role model for kids and stuff.
When I go home now, it is just home for me. It's a small place. If you don't know somebody, you know somebody who knows them, so there are always connections. I go home and I try to do all the normal stuff that everyone else does.
Now, it's time to try to recover from the game on Wednesday and prepare for Game 2 on Saturday. Thanks for reading and talk to you then.
READ MCQUAID'S PREVIOUS ENTRY
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