By Mark Simon
Special to NHL.com
November 8, 2002
When Shane Bendera was two years old, he tagged along to watch his four-year-old brother play for the St. Albert Crusaders in a Mighty Mite hockey game. Bendera’s father, an assistant coach on the team, had other plans though. He put his toddler in net. Most Canadian kids start playing at an early age, but not when they’re that young.
There aren’t many things that stand out from those games 18 years ago, but Shane Bendera does remember a couple important notes about that Crusaders team.
“I was awful because I could barely stand up,” Bendera laughed, adding “but we won the championship.”
That’s been part of a trend in Bendera’s brief hockey career, one that starts in the professional ranks with the Dayton Bombers. Bendera, a sixth-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, yielded only four goals in his first four appearances. Through seven games the resident of Edmonton was 3-2-1 and led the ECHL with a 1.29 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage on a Bombers team that has struggled to score goals. He’s following in the footsteps of Karl Goehring, a goalie similar in style, who led the Bombers into the Kelly Cup Finals last season, then moved up to the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch this fall.