By Debbie Juniewicz
Dayton Daily News
FAIRBORN, Ohio – It all started at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
“My parents took me to the Olympics and hockey was the only event that was cheap enough for them to buy tickets for — at least tickets for a 5-year-old,” Grant Goeckner-Zoeller said. “After that, I complained and complained until they got me skating lessons.”
Hockey wasn’t exactly the sport of choice in Los Angeles where the newest Dayton Bomber was born and raised. That changed when Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Kings that year.
“The interest really increased,” the 24-year-old Bombers forward said. “Within a couple of years, there were lots of kids playing.”
Goeckner-Zoeller played club hockey in Los Angeles until he graduated from high school. He played junior hockey in Topeka, Kansas, Rochester, N.Y., and Sioux City, Iowa before enrolling in Princeton University in 2003. The philosophy major posted 34 goals and tallied 107 points in four years of collegiate play. He finished fifth all-time at Princeton with 73 assists.
He started his rookie professional season with the Augusta Lynx but was waived last week after several players returned from IR. The Bombers picked him up Nov. 21.
“There’s a little bit of extra thinking when you’re the new guy and a few adjustments but, basically, you just go out and play,” Goeckner-Zoeller said.
Goeckner-Zoeller was scoreless, posting three assists, in eight games with Augusta. The Bombers rookie forward found the net Tuesday for the first time this season in the shootout with Elmira as Dayton’s fourth shooter.
“Hopefully I can continue that,” he said. “Maybe it will get the monkey off my back.”