The new Eclipse Downhole Solutions Estevan U18 AAA Bears hockey team will have a lot of goals scored in its history, but the distinction of having the first regular season goal for the organization belongs to an Arcola hockey product.
Forward Carson Birnie, who is in his first year at the U18 level, notched that historic goal Sunday in Regina in the Bears 9-1 loss to the Regina Pat Canadians in the Bears first-ever regular season contest.
Birnie stole the puck from a Regina defender in the offensive zone and then quickly fired a shot past the Regina goalie. The goal came with 2:09 to play in the first period, and made the score 2-1 at that point.
“I was coming into the zone, and their defenceman was coming out just behind the net, and he was breaking up the ice. And I saw the winger was just not too far up the half wall. So I took the centre ice so that the defenceman had to go closer to the half-wall, and took away the middle,” said Birnie.
“So he went to go pass it over to the winger, and I picked it off, came in and got the short side on the goalie.”
Not only was it the Bears first goal, but it was his first goal at the U18 level. He still has the puck.
“Obviously it was the Bears first goal in history, so it’s always awesome to get that, and they can’t take that away from me,” said Birnie.
Adding to the significance is that he was an affiliated player for the Pat Canadians last year, and played a game for them. Birnie played U15 hockey in Regina last year, after playing his developmental hockey in the southeast region.
“It was a bit of a family rivalry (Sunday),” said Birnie. “I have a cousin on that team from last year. It was quite the rivalry, and lots of words were going back and forth between the two of us.”
The experience so far with the Bears has been great. All of the players get along really well, which makes it easier to come to practice every day and to go on road trips.
“The coaching is great. I have no problems with any of the coaches. Really good feedback, and you know you’re getting the right advice when you get off the ice. If you do something wrong, you know they’ll help you out, and you’ll go out and do it right the next shift.”
Birnie said he is pumped to see what the Bears will do in the coming years, and he said he can always tell people he had the first goal for the team.
The Bears will visit the Swift Current Legionnaires on Nov. 6, and then host Swift Current Nov. 8 in their first-ever home game at Affinity Place in Estevan.
Carson Birnie, pictured here committing to play for the Estevan Bears, scored the first goal in the new U18 AAA hockey team’s history