Joel Ward has two goals and four points in eight games with the Capitals after joining the team as a free agent this past summer. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
With Kevin Kennedy
I started playing hockey because I wanted to follow my two older brothers. They were friends with Kevin Weekes and I would try and join the local road hockey game. They followed him into ice hockey and I just kind of tagged along to the rink. I made most of my friends playing road hockey. That’s where it all starts.
I played my house league hockey at Oriole Arena in Toronto back in the day, but probably spent more time on the outdoor rink beside Pleasentview Arena. Both rinks were close to my house and I still go back to the area once in a while for some summer hockey.
My most memorable experience was making the select team in my house league and I also remember the first time I was cut from that team. I remember one year when I was in Atom ‘AA’ playing for the Hillcrest Summits we won the city championship and that was the first time I’d ever won any big thing. I played there for two years and honestly I have a lot of great memories of playing with that team. I played with a lot of great guys back then. The whole year was fun. We had a lot of team parties and we won a lot of games. It’s one of the few years I have a clear memory of.
Growing up I loved going to a rink called Chesswood Arena. My brothers would play there on Friday nights against the Toronto Red Wings and I’d try and tag along even if they were kind of late. The rink had all the best video games and bubble hockey. They also had great chicken wings at a restaurant called “The Penalty Box.”
When I was in peewee, I played for the North York Canadians and I had a coach from the Czech Republic. He was very intense, but that was the first time I realized that I could actually do something with this game. He taught me discipline.