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WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2007
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Decatur 11-year-old goalie Drew Mashburn stops a shot by Austin Ho of the Anaheim Ducks region during a national skills competition in New York last month. In his first year in the net, Mashburn finished third in the competition.
Courtesy photo by Terri Mashburn
Decatur 11-year-old goalie Drew Mashburn stops a shot by Austin Ho of the Anaheim Ducks region during a national skills competition in New York last month. In his first year in the net, Mashburn finished third in the competition.

A challenge in
the Big Apple

Decatur goalie finishes 3rd
in national skills contest

By Michael Wetzel
mwetzel@decaturdaily.com 340-2462

"Keep your stick on the ice."

For 11-year-old Drew Mashburn, it was that advice that helped him claim third place in a national hockey contest in New York last month.

"I'm happy with third," said the Decatur youngster, who won the honor at the Sports Illustrated Kids/Ace Bailey "Got Skills" competition for Peewee House Best Goalie. "I was kind of nervous at first. Going to New York, I was expecting a big challenge. There were a lot of good players there."

Drew Mashburn, right, credits Huntsville Havoc goalie Matt Carmichael for his improvement as a goalie. Carmichael held practice sessions with Mashburn and offered coaching tips.
Courtesy photo by Terri Mashburn
Drew Mashburn, right, credits Huntsville Havoc goalie Matt Carmichael for his improvement as a goalie. Carmichael held practice sessions with Mashburn and offered coaching tips.
Mashburn said Matt Carmichael, goalie for the professional Huntsville Havoc hockey team, gave him that "stick on the ice" advice, which Mashburn cherishes. In the spring, Carmichael gave private lessons to Mashburn .

Drew had to be ready to compete at 6:30 in the morning on the first day of goalie competition at an athletic complex at an old air base in Brooklyn, according to his mother, Terri Mashburn. He took the ice about 7 a.m., and faced the national top junior shooters in rapid fire, one-on-one and shootout skills.

"The goalies had to stop a series of shots in 10 seconds in the rapid fire skill," Terri Mashburn said. "Then they had to stop shots during a 30-second, one-on-one session."

She said the goalies then had to face two penalty-style shots in the shootout division.

While he fell seven points short of advancing to the finals, Drew said he is still learning the game.

"I'm getting more comfortable in goal," said the rising sixth-grader at Leon Sheffield Magnet School. "It takes a little bit to get used to wearing all of the equipment. I hope to make it back there next year."

Drew said playing against older and larger players helped him prepare for the nationals. "It was good to get shot on by people with a lot more experience and who are bigger and faster," he said.

He practices with the men's hockey program at the Point Mallard Ice Complex as well as in a Decatur league with players his same age.

TerriMashburn, said she and her husband Hal were surprised in January when Drew won the SI Kids regional competition, which qualified him for the nationals in Brooklyn.

He represented the NHL's Nashville Predators region at the New York competition.

"We let him participate in the regionals on a whim," she said. "We had some guys tell us that Drew was a natural in goal. We were really surprised when he won it."

She said that about five years ago, Drew registered for hockey lessons offered by Charles Bernhard at the Decatur complex.

He was the only one to sign up, so he took figure skating lessons. He has been playing hockey for about four years now, she said, and just completed his first year as a goalie. In the past, he played defense and wing. In goal this season, Drew helped his team win first place in the Huntsville Amateur Hockey Association. He also credits coaches Daniel Frith, Scott Brain, Mark Cancilla, Jim Lynch, Mark Prestridge, Wes Blanding and Bernhard for their guidance.

"This year he started playing goalie and just fell in love with it," Terri Mashburn said. "I must admit, we were on the edge of our seats for the first few games because we had heard it was more dangerous with all those shots coming. But with all of the extra pads the goalie wears, I don't think it is any more dangerous, now. Those pads are real thick."

Drew said he plans to continue honing his goalie skills. He already has plans for the future: "I'd like to play pro one day, sure."

Terri Mashburn said she has learned that hockey is more than a winter sport. "There might be only one month a year we aren't doing something hockey-related," she said. "There's leagues in the fall and winter, and three-on-three competition in the spring."

She said the family decided to make a vacation out of the trip to and from New York.

Instead of flying, the Mashburns drove, and the trip included stops in Hershey, Pa., Atlantic City, N.J., and Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Nine-year-old Matthew Glines of Huntsville, also a goalie, competed in the Squirt division of the nationals.

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