Who is my favourite NHL hockey player?
You’re probably wanting to know, why Roberto Luongo? It’s not a typical answer, the usual picks are; Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Alex Ovechkin, Tyler Seguin, etc. (All really great players).
Why Luongo is my favourite player:
- He may not be statistically the best goaltender in the league. But he’s incredibly entertaining to watch, he engages everybody watching. He even has his own cheer: LUUUUUUU. He is probably one of the best goalie at making glove hand saves by far!
- He has won 2 Olympic gold medals for Canada in 2010 and 2014. To me, the hardest trophy to win is the Olympic gold medal over the Stanley Cup. Not just any NHL player can play in the Olympics, you have to be chosen by your country to represent them. And you’re playing against the best players in the NHL
- He may have not won a Stanley Cup and may not get to win one before he retires. But he is one the biggest reason to Vancouver Canucks being able to not just win a President Trophy but to beat Chicago Blackhawks (the team that was given the Canucks the hardest time in the playoffs) and take the team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011. Didn’t win, but it’s the amount of effort and heart he put into that playoff run, especially Game 7 in the finals against Boston Bruins.
- He’ll be automatically entered in the Hockey Hall of Fame after he retires (without winning a Cup). Most goalies (and players) that are in the Hockey Hall of Fame currently have at least won a Stanley Cup once.
- He got traded off the Canucks to the Florida Panthers 3 years ago. At that time, the Panthers were a struggling team in the Eastern Conference. In matter of 2 seasons, Luongo (who was the biggest contributor) helped elevate the team, and took the Panthers to the playoffs, for the first time in over 5-10 years.
- He’s a great role model for life in general. The way he handles hockey fans and commentators always criticizing him for goals he lets in, for bad games he may have, and just for not being perfect. (It is because he was the highest paid goalie in the league, people had higher expectations out of him compared to other goalies.) Which I think, that is ridiculous, he’s still a human being like every other goalie not a robot. He never stopped trying and striving. And over the years I watched him develop, evolve and better his game/style of play. He makes fun of himself, makes jokes. Especially on Twitter @strombone. It is a great way to handle hate and haters.
- He always had great relationships with his back up goalies. He never looks at his back up goalies as competition but as a friend and someone to mentor. Majority of the starter goalies see their back up as competition, and prefers to not get close with them. At the end of the day, the back up goalie is there to fill in for the nights off and games when starter cannot play in. Then eventually of course, back up is going to become the new starter once the starter goalie hits that age where they are just not physically able to play as many games anymore.
- He has never disappointed a fan, including me! He interacts with fans on social media but also in real life. Even if he is busy or doesn’t have a lot of time to stop and interact with fans, he will still make that small bit of time because he knows it means everything to us, the fans. I’ve met a lot of NHL players, mostly because I used to work at Rogers Arena. Many are very friendly but there are those that think they are too good to even talk to you, acknowledge you and if they are not in the mood, won’t sign your jersey or take a picture with you (which only takes like 30 secs).
- He stuck with the Vancouver Canucks for 8 years, until they decided to trade him. He put up with so much from Vancouver fans. Vancouver is very passionate about hockey and are the harshest on the goaltenders. They blamed him for every game the team lost, but never credited him for when the team did win. They credited only the players that scored. Hockey, is a team sport, the loss is not to blame on one player only. Through it all, he made light of the situation, made jokes, and shrugged them off.
- He may have not won a Stanley Cup, but he has other accomplishments; winning the Jennings award 2011, 2 Olympic gold medals, 2 President Trophies, being the highest paid goalie (until Henrik Lundqvist’s contract), and attended 8 NHL All Star games. He is ranked in top 5 goalies with the most career wins. Has been nominated for the Vezina many times, but lost them to Martin Brodeur.
I look up to Roberto Luongo, his attitude towards the situation he got put under is very admirable. He is a great role model to any young goalies out there. He’s also the person that taught me how to handle haters and bullying. How to handle people scrutinizing me for not being perfect or for making mistakes. His drive to keep on trying even when everybody was telling him “you’ll never win a Stanley Cup”, didn’t listen and stay the same. He always strives to be better and minimize his flaws. He never gave up, and still hasn’t.