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IN DEPTH: The Right Shot

Deriving from a family of left-handed shooters, Matt Benning was encouraged to shoot right at an early age to fill a National Hockey League demand

by Paul Gazzola /



The first memory of hockey for me was four boys in a typical Canadian family growing up with a rink in the back of the yard. We'd go out there and everybody kind of gathered at our place and everybody would just play hockey. That's what we knew. We called it pond hockey, river hockey, whatever -- that's where we learned the game. 

Then we'd play at the community centre and eventually as we grew older, we'd go to the outdoor rinks after school and play with the older guys. You'd have to skate really fast or pass the puck really quick to play with them.

Back then, when we were kids, there was a special at Mohawk: If you got a tank of gas, you could go to the garbage can and pick out a hockey stick. 

So, my dad got a tank of gas and my older brother Jim went to grab a stick 

He grabbed a left. 

The next time dad fuelled up, the special was still on: get a tank of gas, get a stick. 

My brother Mark went and grabbed a stick. Of course, he grabbed a left because older brother Jim grabbed a left. 

So, we're playing with two sticks and then it was my turn next. 

I grabbed a left. 

At the end of the day, all four of the Benning boys shot left and it made it easy for dad to buy sticks. He'd buy them by the dozen and the kids would use them. We kind of adopted that. 

But now, the next generation is on the other side -- they all shoot right.


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