Having my family around, people I grew up playing with, people who coached me, people who taught me in school. Everyone is paying attention and I’m getting nice feedback from everybody. It’s going to be exciting and it’s going to be a great day. - Garnet Hathaway
BOSTON, MA -- A few went out on Monday.
One came in. As in … IN.
For forward Garnet Hathaway’s first career National Hockey League game.
But it wasn’t an easy path. Literally and figuratively.
“It was hard,” said Hathaway of the route taken to his debut, a 5-3 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers hours following the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline. “I took a flight, got in pretty late into Philly. After that I was trying o get some sleep, but with trade deadline, you never know what’s going on. It was hectic, I’ve never had a day like that but I’m glad it happened and it’s out of the way and now I’ve got to prepare the way that I usually do.”
The Calgary Flames said goodbye to veterans Kris Russell and David Jones at the deadline.
They welcomed in Hathaway, who had three hits, one shot, and a dandy screen on Micheal Ferland’s third period goal.
His second game wasn’t nearly as hectic to get to.
But it’ll likely be just as emotional.
Hathaway, from Kennebunkport, ME, will suit up for Game No. 2 on Tuesday against the Boston Bruins.
“This is about as close as you can get (to a home game),” said Hathaway, who was raised a Ray Bourque and Bruins fan. “It’s probably about an hour and a half depending on how fast you drive on the I-95.
“It’s pretty close. I went to high school out half an hour north of here in Andover Mass and I went to college about 45 minutes south in Providence. It’s pretty close and there’s a lot of people around here that I know.
“It means a lot. Having my family around, people I grew up playing with, people who coached me, people who taught me in school. Everyone is paying attention and I’m getting nice feedback from everybody. It’s going to be exciting and it’s going to be a great day.”
The game will serve as great reward for Hathaway, 24.
Undrafted, and finishing four years at Brown University, he signed with Calgary’s AHL-affiliate Abbotsford Heat in 2013-14. He played 72 games on an AHL-only deal with the Adirondack Flames in 2014-15, and, finally, earned himself an NHL contract with the Flames last spring -- a two-way entry-level contract.
He earned his way to the NHL on Monday.
“A lot of guys have different paths on how they get there,” Hathaway said. “Mine was a little unique. Yes, it goes through your head, but that’s what makes you work harder and I’m really happy that it happened. I’m going to keep trying to stay here.”
He may well be on his way.
He received a glowing review from his first taste of the NHL.
“On the bench after the game, I was very proud of his effort,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. “We’ve seen it at camp and lots of times we were talking to the coaches in Stockton and they were raving about him. You know what you’re going to get. Every game he’s trying to make and impact. He’s a physical player, a pretty good skater and he plays the game the right way. He always plays the same style so you can count on him. I felt that last night he was one of our better forwards.”
The trick for Hathaway is to maintain.
Hartley thinks he can.
“Hopefully it doesn’t wear off,” Hartley said. “This is what consistent people try to do. The one night magic doesn’t earn you a big ticket at the NHL level. That’s not the case with Garnet. He’s a pretty self driven young athlete, he’s a great young man, he has high expectations of himself and we liked what we saw, but at the same time, he’s been doing it at the American Hockey League level, so it’s not a change. He’s on a mission.”
Hathaway doesn’t disagree.
“A lot of adrenaline in that game, but I know that I can play day in and day out and that’s what I’m going to keep doing,” he said. “It’s a challenge, but I know I can do it, so I prepare like this and I’ve been working for this my whole life. I know I can do it.”
He passed the first test.
The next exam comes Tuesday night.
On familiar ground.
On (almost) home ice.
With family and friends.
“My dad has always been a huge supporter for me,” Hathaway said. “Driving me around New England to play hockey growing up, this is a special day for both of us and my family. Luckily he made it to the game (Monday). Two of my sisters and my brother did. It was great to see him after the game. That’s when he said, ‘you made it, keep going, don’t stop, and keep working.’
“He said how proud he is of me and I thanked him for everything. It was pretty special.”