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Salmon Kings love Goldie, feeling is mutual

Friday, 12.25.2009 / 9:00 AM / ECHL Report

By Lindsay Kramer - NHL.com Correspondent

Victoria Salmon Kings forward Wes Goldie was warned.

Head out to play hockey in that beautiful part of British Columbia, he was told, and you won't need a round-trip ticket.
 
"When I first came out here I had friends who said, 'you guys won't come back,'" Goldie said. "You start wondering, what's so special about here? Then you get out here and realize it's a beautiful place."
 
The area's bountiful wonders, from mountain ranges to lakes, have captivated Goldie, his wife and three children to the extent that the family makes it their year-round home. But attraction works best when it goes both ways. And Goldie, 30, has done more than enough to make local hockey fans glad he's become a landmark there.
 
Now in his fourth straight season with the team, Goldie remains as steady as flowing currents. He's third on the team in scoring with 17 points (13-4) and his 218 career points with the Salmon Kings are a franchise record. He has played in all of Victoria's 244 regular-season games during his tenure plus each and every one of its 26 playoff games (producing a team-record 28 points).
 
"It's definitely something I take pride in, being able to be there and compete every night," said Goldie, a native of London, Ont. "As you get older as a player, you realize you have to play more consistent. You try and be more positive, build on the positive, let it wash away the negative. When I was younger, I would definitely focus on more negatives, dwell on things."
 
One of those sticking points might have been that for all his overwhelming production in the ECHL, he's hit the AHL level for only two games in his career. Those came with Bridgeport in 2003-04.
 
Now, Goldie said he understands he has a greater obligation to his teammates and supporters.
 
"I think it's about trying to help the younger players move on, trying to get them to the next level," he said. "The stats aren't as important to me any more. You can still have a good game without getting any points. I think as a player, you always have that little glimmer of hope (for a callup). But I've had a good career."
 
The span of it splashed Goldie in the face last spring, when he was reminded both of the benefits of deep roots and the shock of flipping calendar pages. His wife, Marsha, threw him a surprise 30th birthday party. The two of them walked into a restaurant and - what do you know? - there was the whole team waiting for him.
 
Just like a family gathering.
 
"You definitely start thinking about the future. You always think you can play forever," Goldie said of the big 3-0. "Hopefully, it will be another two, three, four years I'll be playing. I can't really see myself playing anywhere else."
 
Homeward bound -- When forward Jarrett Konkle was traded from Johnstown last week, he was so stunned that it took him a few minutes to wonder where he was headed. Chiefs coach Paul Flanagan broke the news to him, but sort of buried the lead.
 
"He was talking about this or that," Konkle recalled. "It (the destination) was one of the last thoughts in my mind. It should have been one of the first things."
 
Especially since Konkle was headed back to his comfort zone: Elmira. It was there that Konkle starred in college from 2001-05, and where he had his best pro season for the Jackals of the UHL in 2005-06 (37-25). Since then, Konkle had jumped around to South Carolina, Fresno and Johnstown of the ECHL and Binghamton of the AHL.
 
He was off to a bit of a meandering start with the Chiefs, producing 3 goals and 11 assists in 17 games. But he tallied in his second game with Elmira on Dec. 20 against, of course, Johnstown.
 
"Coming to a place like Elmira, I've been here five years of my life," said Konkle, 27. "I'm pretty comfortable. Being comfortable and confident go hand-in-hand. I had good years in college, (and) that first year in pro. That could be part of it. It's kind of an overall effect."
 
Monster man -- Ontario rookie forward Peter Lenes looked around his home crowd earlier this season and caught a glimpse of a sign that read "Unleash the beast."
 
Lenes wondered what sort of monster was lurking around. Then he saw his jersey No. 3 on the sign and figured there was a misprint.
 
After all, Lenes is 5-foot-5, 160 pounds.
 
"I didn't think that was me at all," Lenes said.
 
Maybe not in stature, but certainly in spirit and production. In 29 games for Ontario, Lenes, 23, has 11 goals and 7 assists. So "beast" he has become.
 
"I don't know where it came from. It's caught on pretty well," Lenes said.
 
Huge efforts are nothing new for Lenes, who obviously has had to battle for every roster spot he's earned. He played four years at Vermont, going 15-16 as a senior last year.
"You are always going to be looked at, why is this kid out there? I've been asked that a lot. You just have to come through with your abilities." -- Peter Lenes, on dealing with skepticism throughout his career 
"You are always going to be looked at, why is this kid out there?" he said of skepticism through his career. "I've been asked that a lot. You just have to come through with your abilities. I'm not going to be able to water myself and grow now."
 
Lenes, a native of Vermont, is willing to expand, however. He chased a free-agent deal all the way across the continent to Ontario and doesn't plan on stopping now.
 
"I didn't know what to expect. Are people going to not think you can play? There's always a little bit of that," he said. "As long as you keep doing good things on the ice and make things happen, people are going to stop thinking about your size. There is no ceiling (on his career). It's whatever you want to make of yourself."
 
Around the ECHL -- Bakersfield goalie Timo Pielmeier scored an empty-net goal vs. Utah on Dec. 19. He is the 10th goalie in ECHL history to pull that off, and also the youngest at 20 years, 165 days old. … Former Western Michigan Bronco Pat Galivan livened up his homecoming by scoring two goals for Gwinnett in a 4-3 win at Kalamazoo on Dec. 19. … South Carolina set a team record and tied Las Vegas for the fifth-longest wining streak in ECHL history with 13 consecutive victories from Nov. 24-Dec. 19. … Reading's 2-1 win over Elmira on Dec. 19 was the 11th one-goal decision in favor of the Royals this year (11-1-1-2). The contest also marked the first time this year that the Royals have held the opposition to fewer than two goals. … Toledo has won six straight, out-scoring the opposition 28-10 in that span. The Walleye won three in a row last week by identical 5-2 scores. … Kalamazoo has yet to lose back-to-back games at home this season. … Three of Elmira's five one-goal wins have come against Johnstown. … Victoria has scored four shorthand goals in its last five games. … Elmira had its league-leading seventh sellout on Dec. 19 and Toledo became the first team to reach 100,000 fans as the ECHL headed into the Christmas break averaging 4,162 per game, up 8.2 percent from the first 10 weeks a year ago. Five returning teams are ahead of their average attendance from 2008-09, led by Cincinnati with 22.03 percent and Elmira with 13.49 percent.

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