Only longtime fans of the Owen Sound Attack and the Ontario Hockey League will remember Corey Roberts.
If I recall, Les Binkley predicted a bright future for Roberts and said the young man from Winsloe, Prince Edward Island had all the tools to make it as a pro. Binkley was born in Owen Sound and spent five years as goalie for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Roberts did not make the big leagues.
I met Corey in the fall of 1999 when he was the Attack’s backup goalie to Owen Sound native Curtis Sanford, who would go on to spend several years in the NHL.
At the time, I’d recently quit my job as a copywriter for the local radio station, CFOS. I wanted to go back to my journalism roots and that included freelance articles for The Owen Sound Sun-Times, Schizophrenia Digest (my college friend Gord Howard was the editor) and whatever sources I could find.
A CALL TO P.E.I.
I contacted the editor of The Charlottetown Guardian and asked him if he’d be interested in a feature on Roberts and his budding hockey career with the local Junior A team. He was.
What you’re reading right now…and thanks…is free. My blog. No renumeration. This post might get ten views, maybe up to fifty. I think I was paid $50 for the piece on Corey Roberts and I’m betting way more than fifty read it. Maybe hundreds.
Curtis Sanford graduated junior hockey and Roberts became the Attack starter in 2000. Played 56 games with a goals against average of 3.22 and stood on his head in a playoff series The Attack lost to the Windsor Spitfires. I attended most of the games and stood atop the aisles, on the railings, with my tennis buddy, Gary Morrison.
ONE OF THE RAILBIRDS
It was the preferred location of NHL scouts and GMs like Doug Risebrough. We chatted with Doug, who was fairly low key. During that Owen Sound-Windsor playoff series, we were within shouting distance of the father of Spitfire star defenceman and future pro Tim Gleason.
Tim’s Dad was raving about Corey Roberts and said the young netminder was keeping Owen Sound in the game.
That series turned out to be the peak of Roberts’s hockey career.
One guy from that Attack team that did make it was my fellow Scarborough native Joel Ward. Met him a few times, nice young man. He spent several years with the Caps and is playing with the San Jose Sharks.
Corey started the next season as the number one goalie but, as a 20-year-old overager. Meaning he was one of three players in that age group on a team of 16 to 19-year-olds and the “overager” spot was always given to the elite players that didn’t find work in the minor pro leagues.
GETTING AN EDUCATION
He didn’t perform as an overager should, got traded to Oshawa, and went on to University hockey at St. Mary’s in Halifax.
I’m not sure what happened to Corey Roberts after that point. I’ll always hope he made the most of his education and, who knows, like Archie Graham in Field of Dreams, Roberts may have realized he wasn’t going to make it as a pro and chose to become a doctor.
Cheers Corey, wherever you are! Thanks for helping me put $50 in my bank account. It’s $50 more than I will earn for this blog post but you and I both did it for the love of the game.