Thanks to a Never-Give-Up Attitude, the ‘Emergency Backup Goalie’ Lives His pro Hockey Dream

“I grew up just outside Boston, so my heroes were the Bruins and their goalie #35 Andy Moog. I would mimic him. I wanted to play just like him. We couldn’t afford hockey camps so I made do with endless hours of street hockey as well as occasionally playing on a frozen pond I could walk to from my house.”

“Growing up, my family lived ‘Fearless’ hockey-wise. My dad and cousins were way into it. When my cousin took me and my brother to a public rink for the first time, we dove into the game pretty hard: I fell and cracked my tail bone. Barely noticed. Didn’t care. That night, my brother fell and dislocated his shoulder. None of this stopped us from playing the game we love.”

“From childhood on I dreamed of playing for the NHL, and I fed my love of hockey by playing in college at NCSU. I signed up as often as I could to attend minor league free agent camps. Basically you pay a fee to get seen and evaluated; many years they’re not even looking for a player, but it IS a chance and I just kept at it. I was on the road a lot, away from my family. One year I dressed for six different teams, traveling far, taking every opportunity with no guarantee. But I never felt used or abused – it’s the game I love! And my wife was very supportive.”

“My parents taught me: be positive, be friends with everyone, and be willing to work hard.”


“At a certain point, with a family of my own, I knew I had to find a real job. Of course that would HAVE to be around hockey. Here’s how I ended up becoming Equipment Manager for the Carolina Hurricanes. When I was at NCSU, we’d practice on the same rink as the Canes. One morning, some of the Canes players asked if I wanted to stick around and practice with them as goalie. What?! Yes! So they got to know me, and I befriended an equipment manager who taught me about the job. I also worked at a local pro shop, where I learned how to sharpen skates. You see, my parents taught me: be positive, be friends with everyone, and be willing to work hard. I took it to heart, and I try and pass these lessons to my kids too.”

“By living this attitude, now every day I get to be right next to the ice I love. And I DID get to realize my dream of playing for the pros, if only for a few moments. Recently, just hours before game time, the Canes’ backup goalie got sick. With no time to bring a player up from the minors, the team signed me as an emergency backup goalie. I sat for most of the game, but at the end they called me onto the ice! I played the final seven-and-a-half seconds of the game — and enjoyed every split second of it, playing for the NHL!! I felt very appreciated by my team for this. It just really reinforces my belief that hard work and never giving up on a dream can pay off.”

Jorge in the locker room

For the equipment manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, carrying uniform bags, hauling equipment, and sharpening skates are all in a day’s work.

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