At 37, an age when many hockey players typically start thinking about retirement, Steve Osmond is hoping to lace up his skates once again.
The Port aux Basques goaltender was one of 15 hopefuls who came to the first open tryouts for the Mariners, held on Friday evening, Oct. 12 at the Bruce II Sports Centre. Last year Osmond served as an assistant coach with the Mariners, but he’s clear that won’t earn him any favours when it comes to making the cut.
“My coach’s hat has been removed, as I am now just a player trying to make it like everyone else,” says Osmond.
He’s also unwilling to put that particular hat back on even temporarily and speculate as to who he thinks might make the team, but he is happy to see the number of players who came to the evaluation.
“This tryout (has) seen the most players since we got back into the league. It’s good to see more local guys out to show their talents. We’ve got some good hockey players in town,” notes Osmond.
Keeping up with some of the younger skaters might take a bit of adjustment on Osmond’s part.
While the game hasn’t changed much, it has definitely gotten faster.
“I haven’t played senior hockey 15 or 16 years so it’s a big task to try and make the team after this long away from it.”
Osmond says his decision to return to the ice came down to timing and perspective.
“I just know if I wanted to play now is the time as the clock is ticking, and at 37 years old it may have already passed,” he said.
He’s not sure if he will return to coaching if he fails to make the roster, nor who might replace him. Such decisions are left to the team’s management, but Osmond has indicated he’s happy to continue serving as an assistant coach for nights he’s not scheduled to play.
“I loved coaching the team as well, but something was calling me back. Not sure what it was.”
Osmond is not alone in his desire to return to the ice.
“I think it was Mike Lawrence who said that he wishes he was 10 years younger. He would lace up the skates again, and I guess that got me thinking I didn’t want to be in my 40s (and) regretting not coming back when I was younger.”
The Mariners actually have two goaltenders on the roster already.
“With work schedules and other commitments, we do need another guy on standby and I’m just hoping it’s going to be me,” says Osmond.
The Port aux Basques Mariners will continue to hold tryouts for the next couple of weeks. Check their Facebook page for details: https://www.facebook.com/PortAuxBasquesMarinerHockeyClub/.