As told to Jess Isner
Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid is keeping a diary for BostonBruins.com during the team’s 11-day road trip through Western Canada and the Midwest. In this edition, as goalie Malcolm Subban joins the team in anticipation of his NHL debut, McQuaid looks back on his own NHL debut and shares some special news about his sister’s participation in Canada’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
When we arrived in Edmonton for practice this morning at Leduc Rec Centre, there was someone waiting to join us: Malcolm Subban.
Malcolm got his first regular-season recall a couple of weeks ago but he didn’t actually get into a game during that stint; this time, though, he should be able to see some ice time. We just don’t know quite when.
Yesterday, I heard a couple of guys talking and saying that Malcolm was going to be here today when we arrived, so it wasn’t a complete shock to see him this morning. It's really exciting to watch him play. You see how athletic he is, and how quick he is; he’s really, really quick at reacting. Sometimes, it looks like there’s going to be a sure goal, and he comes flying out of nowhere to make a save. That’s definitely one of his strengths — his athleticism — but also his competitiveness.
Malcolm being here brings back memories from when I made my own NHL debut back in December 2009. When I found out I was being called up, my first phone call was to my family. It was right around Christmastime, and I had planned to go home for Christmas that year. I remember when my mom answered the phone, I said to her, “I have some bad news. I don’t know if I’m going to get home for Christmas this year.” She said, “Oh no, what happened?” I said, “Well, I just got called up.”
I went up to practice in Boston, and then we flew out to Chicago for a game against the Blackhawks. I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to play in that game or not because there were actually two of us who got called up: me, and another defenseman named Andy Wozniewski. He ended up playing in that game against Chicago. I still got to take warmups, and my parents had flown in because they weren’t sure if I was going to play or not, but if I did, they obviously wanted to be there to see my first game.
A couple of nights later against Toronto, my time finally came, and that actually ended up being an even more exciting situation in some ways: I’m from Prince Edward Island, so the Leafs were a team that I followed really closely growing up. I even cheered for them as a kid.
I don’t remember exactly how I found out I was going to play in that game. I do remember, though, that Zdeno Chara played a part in breaking the news to me. I think the circumstances were that Derek Morris couldn’t play for some reason, and when it became clear that he wasn’t going to be able to go, I kind of put two and two together. But Zee confirmed it for me. I remember we were going up the elevator together after the pregame meal, and he asked me, “Is this going to be your first game tonight?” I said, “Well, if I get to play, it will be.” And he said, “Well, I don’t think Mo can play tonight, so you’re going to be in!”
I played my junior hockey in Ontario, so my billet family was able to come down and go to the game, and my parents were there, and the game was televised on Hockey Night in Canada, so a lot of my friends and family got to watch it, too. It was a really exciting time; you think about all the years of hard work you put in, and trying to meet that ultimate goal, and when you finally get there, it’s a really special time — not only for you, but for all your family and friends who sacrificed along the way as well.
This week is also exciting for me for a more personal reason: My 23-year-old sister Michelle is representing our home province of Prince Edward Island in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the annual Canadian Women’s Curling Championship. There’s a representative from each province, and the winner gets to go on and represent Canada in the World Championships.
Obviously, it’s a big accomplishment to be able to be a part of that, and I’ve been pretty lucky that we’re out West right now because I was actually able to watch her play on TSN the other day. It was a pretty proud moment for me. She’s been curling for over 15 years, and she’s put a lot of hard work and dedication into it. Unfortunately, I’ve been away from home for a good part of the winters when she is actually involved in curling, so I haven’t gotten to see her play all that often. So it’s been pretty neat to be able to follow along here and watch her on TV.
I’ll be following along throughout the rest of the tournament and wishing her the best of luck as we get ready to face Edmonton tomorrow night!