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Meet LA Kings Goaltender Cal Petersen

Learn more about the goalie's time in Los Angeles, including which celebrity he was most surprised to see and what sport he's dying to try

by Debbie Lew @by_DeborahLew /

Injuries to LA Kings goaltenders Jonathan Quick and Jack Campbell this season have demanded that goalies further down on the depth chart step up - and Cal Petersen has done that and more.

After eight games and seven starts under his belt, Petersen has a record of 4-3, including his first ever NHL shutout, which came on November 19 against the St. Louis Blues.

Being a relatively short distance from their hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, Eric and Mary Petersen were present for their son's first NHL shutout in St. Louis. And just three days earlier, they watched their son pick up his first-ever NHL start and win, in Chicago against the Blackhawks. 

"It was really really cool and they were obviously excited and appreciative of the moment and I'm really glad that they were able to make it there," said the 24-year-old rookie, whose younger sister, Annie, was also present. 

The Petersen family spent Thanksgiving weekend in Los Angeles, so they definitely got their fix of seeing their son play in the NHL as Petersen started back-to-back games last Saturday and Sunday at STAPLES Center.

For Eric, who was a Divison III goalie in Minnesota and inspired his son to play hockey, the week likely brought everything full-circle. 

Tweet from @LAKings: All the love for Cal Petersen tonight ������#GoKingsGo

"I think my dad was a little hesitant at first, obviously just because of the pressures of the position," said Petersen about his dad giving him a chance to play goal. "But my mom made him let me try goalie and the rest is history as you can say."

Petersen began skating at the age of four, and frequented the USHL's Waterloo Black Hawks games as a kid. He started playing goalie when he fell in love with the gear and asked his parents for his first set of goalie pads, which he thought were "cool."

He says his parents are the people who inspire him most. Cal describes his mom, Mary, as faithful, kind to anyone she meets, and always treating people with love; while he calls his dad a driven, hardworking guy who does a great job leading the family. 

"If I can grow up and take the best parts of my parents, hopefully I'll be okay," said Petersen, who talks to his parents almost every day. 

Petersen admits that it wasn't until he was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the fifth round, 129th overall, in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft that he realized his dream of playing in the big league was possible.

The chance to go to development camps further boosted his confidence, and he believed that if he had a good college career that he might be able to make something happen. 

Tweet from @NDHockey: Good luck Cal!Former Irish goaltender Cal Petersen has been called up by the Los Angeles Kings!

"I was lucky to go to a good school that helped make that happen and I was confident after leaving there that if I continued to put the work in, I could have a chance to reach that level," said Petersen, who spent three years playing for Notre Dame and even served as the team captain in his last year. 

Notre Dame Stadium happens to be the site of this season's Winter Classic on New Year's Day, and Petersen wasn't shy with his opinion on the big event. 

"I'm jealous of everybody that can be in that," said Petersen with a grin. "It's going to be an awesome event, I just wish they would've maybe done it when I was there and we could have gotten a college outdoor game or something like that, but one of my buddies from Notre Dame is on Boston, so I'll definitely watch it, but I'm going to be super jealous."

Only a year away from earning his degree in Management Consulting, Petersen says that finishing school is definitely in the cards, and in addition to taking what classes he can while playing professional hockey, getting his diploma is high on the priority list for when his playing days are over. 

For the moment, Petersen's playing days are just beginning, thanks to the two-year entry level contract he signed with the Kings on July 1, 2017. 

"Everybody in the organization is first class, is super professional and you have guys that have had incredible hockey careers and now are part of the front office and I think when you have guys like that, character guys running the organization, it really helps," Petersen explains.

"When I met Billy [Ranford, goaltending coach] and Dusty [Imoo, goaltending development coach], I knew that if I put my game in their hands it would help get me to that level where I could be an everyday NHL player."

Petersen's own values have no doubt contributed just as much to his success as his coaches and mentors. Hard work, integrity and character are attributes he knows can propel a person a long distance.

"As a goalie, you're so reliant on your teammates to help you out that it pays to be a good teammate and a good guy in the locker room," shares Petersen.

"When you have guys that battle for you day in and day out, it helps you out," Petersen said. "So just trying to be one of the hardest working guys on the ice and a teammate and a friend off the ice goes a long way and can only help you."

One way Petersen has earned the trust of his teammates is as the locker room DJ for the Ontario Reign, the Kings AHL affiliate and newest tenant at the Toyota Sports Center practice facility. 

He has a wide array of musical taste and understands the complexity of practice tunes versus game-day-appropriate music. Now that he is in the Kings locker room, the Reign have been forced to make do without him on the ice and behind the proverbial turntables. 

Video: LAK@VAN: Petersen robs Eriksson with ridiculous save

When he's not on the ice or creating playlists, Petersen takes the time to enjoy the South Bay, where he loves the small town feel of Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach.

He's taken the time to tour his family around the touristy areas like Beverly Hills, but concedes that most of his free time is spent at the beach. Of all the things there are to do in Los Angeles, he is most eagerly awaiting the day he can build up the confidence to try surfing. 

"I've talked to a couple guys on the team that have done it. I think Al [Iafallo] is a pretty good surfer, so I've been quizzing him and watching some surfing videos, so once I get the confidence to go out there and try it out, I'm going to do it," said Petersen emphatically. "I'm definitely doing some homework." 

Petersen also found another way that playing in Los Angeles is different than perhaps many other NHL cities, and that's A-list celebrities who turn up to watch him play. A big fan of Will Ferrell movies, Petersen has already had a star-struck moment.

"I think it was one of the first games I backed up and I was listening to the anthem and I turned to my right and he was like, right there. I was pretty startled, it's surreal," said Petersen about Ferrell, an avid Kings fan. 

When asked about his most embarrassing moment, Petersen is quick to pick out a very recent one, which occurred before the game in St. Louis. Thinking the entire team was following him, Petersen came out for the pre-game warmup seemingly by himself.

It was an awkward moment or so before his teammates finally joined him, and it was enough for the rookie to label the miscue as 'most embarrassing.' 

The quote that Petersen lives his life by is one from Charles R. Swindoll: "Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it." If we're taking into consideration the result of that game in St. Louis, Petersen's reaction was only positive.

"Maybe that needs to be a new tradition," he states. 

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