Friday, November 21, 2014

Jordan Sigalet Jersey Card

In a post about Andrew Raycroft last week, I mentioned the unevenness of the Boston Bruins' goaltending position since the departures of Andy Moog and Réjean Lemelin in the early 1990s, mentioning they had really good ones that did pan out, some that should have but didn't, and kids they'd burnt out before they got started. I omitted one because I knew he would be the next one up: Jordan Sigalet, whom the Bs drafted out of high school, 209th overall (in the 7th round) in 2001, and who would be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a couple of years later, when playing in the NCAA for the Bowling Green (State University) Falcons.

He played with the disease kept secret for a year and a half, but upon going public with it, he garnered widespread support from adversaries and teammates alike; other schools' teams sent signed jerseys, and he was the first goaltender to be named captain at Bowling Green.

He played with the AHL's Providence Bruins for three seasons, posting a .905 save percentage and 2.49 GAA in 81 games - 46 of them wins - earning a call-up with Boston, who had him on the ice for the last minute of a 6-3 win in 2005-06.

It may have been his only NHL appearance, but after having been told he'd have to retire altogether in the near future, it was more than a kid's dream come true, it was beating impossible odds. Josh Harding knows what that's like, now, but Sigalet had no role models to speak of when he was coming up - all he had was his NHL-caliber technique, a decent glove hand, and the strength to battle through anything that would come his way.

After his playing career ended with a stint in Austria with the Vienna Capitals, Sigalet became the goaltending coach of the WHL's Everett Silvertips for two years, then for the AHL's Abbotsford Heat, and after Clint Malarchuk's departure, now holds that position with the Calgary Flames, where he can count on the support of assistant coach Jacques Cloutier, who also held the position back with the Colorado Avalanche's Stanley Cup-winning days.

I don't know if he ever knew he'd make it back to the Big Show, but he has. And the Flames' goalies are playing remarkably well this season.

Here is card #HM-SI from Fleer's 2005-06 Hot Prospects set, from the Hot Materials sub-set, manufactured by Upper Deck, featuring a black swatch from a jersey worn in a photoshoot:
Upper Deck loves to hype their inserts with lines like ''we hope you're happy to hold this part of hockey history in your hands'' and such, but in this case, that's really as close as it gets to having been a part of Sigalet's NHL career.

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