By Cleve Dheensaw
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007
VICTORIA, British Columbia – Place hockey sticks in the hands of any Canadian brothers and you have the predictable outcome of an instant sibling rivalry. Ash Goldie (pictured) remembers the familial fury of the knee-hockey games against older brother Wes, played with mini sticks in the crawl space of the family’s London, Ontario, home.
“We had some wars down there,” chuckled Ash.
The Goldie civil war is over as Ash agreed to terms, joining his brother on the roster of the Victoria Salmon Kings for the 2007-08 ECHL season.
“And then we would go outside and take thousands of shots in our driveway at the garage door trying to improve our shooting,” recalled Ash.
Well, that makeshift shooting gallery worked. By signing the brothers yesterday, the Salmon Kings have in one day added 80 goals and 148 points to their lineup. Wes led the Salmon Kings last season with 41 goals and 74 points and Ash paced the Long Beach Ice Dogs with 39 goals and 74 points. The Ice Dogs, the longest-standing pro sports franchise in Long Beach history, folded and the Ice Dogs players became free agents.
The scramble to land Ash Goldie was hot and heavy in the minor-pro ranks but the sibling connection to Wes, plus the chance to skate in the Vancouver Canucks prospects camp and the Manitoba Moose AHL camp, turned the decision in Victoria’s favour.
“We haven’t played on the same team since I was six years old and Wes was eight and this is always something I’ve wanted to do,” said Ash, 26, in a telephone interview from his off-season home in Aurora, Ontario.
“We were close until Wes had to go away to play in the [major-junior] Ontario Hockey League at age 16 [Owen Sound Platers], and then we could only hook up when he came back for the summers. Then I went away to play NCAA. It’s going to be fun and exciting to be together again. My parents and grand-parents really wanted this to happen. “
From the Goldie civil wars in the confined crawl space, Ash went to the famous Cold War game in the wide open space of Spartan Stadium in his first U.S. collegiate contest in 2001 for the then NCAA top-ranked Michigan State Spartans against Salmon Kings forward Milan Gajic and the No. 4 University of Michigan Wolverines before 74,554 fans in East Lansing.
“I was 133 pounds when I got drafted [out of bantam] for the OHL, so I figured college hockey was the best way for me to go and I wanted to get an education,” said the five-foot-nine and 170-pound Ash, who has a degree in human resources from Michigan State.
“And what a way to start in the Cold War. That was the highlight of my career so far.”
Until now. Until Goldie-to-Goldie and end-to-end to hopefully light up Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on dark winter nights.
“I’d like to at least try to be on the same line as Wes, but that’s a coach’s decision, and who knows how we’ll click together and how it will work out,” said Ash.
“As an older brother, Wes would give me pointers on how to improve my shot. He’s such a natural scorer. I was more of a set-up guy who would get more assists until I broke out as a goal scorer the last couple of seasons. I thought I put in a good year for Long Beach and deserve a shot at the higher level [AHL] or to at least get looked at. The Salmon Kings’ affiliation with Manitoba and Vancouver gives me that chance. I had a lot offers but that affiliation, along with Wes being in Victoria, made this the best fit.”
Wes Goldie, who has an uncanny and knifing offensive knack around the net, said he enjoyed his first season in Victoria and always knew he would re-sign.
“This upcoming season I get the added bonus of playing alongside Ash . . . I’ll finally get to cheer out loud for him instead of quietly hoping he does well,” said Wes. “I hope I can help him put up more good numbers, so he gets the chance for the call-ups [to the Moose].”
Victoria head coach Mark Morrison said it’s much too early to say if he will pair the brothers on the same line.
“I’m not planning on it, but if they work really well together, we’ll obviously have to see about doing it,” said Morrison. “One thing is for sure, with 80 goals locked up, we have the best 1-2 punch in the league.”