Kodiaks trade goalie to Mustangs
Camrose Kodiaks Joseph and Eddie May know their mom is with them on the ice as she battles brain cancer in Calgary. To keep her close, Joseph has a Prairie Lily painted on the back of his goalie mask. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian
The Camrose Kodiaks made perhaps their most difficult move of the early season, trading backup goalie Joey May after it became clear he had been beaten out for the position by rookie Griffin Bowerman.
May was dealt to his hometown Calgary Mustangs for future considerations on Sept. 26.
The 19-year-old was a fixture in the dressing room and earning last year’s Police Award for community service and is someone the team rallied around in his darkest hours has his mother fought terminal brain cancer.
It was not an easy decision to make, but head coach and general manager Boris Rybalka said he had to do what was best for the team.
“It was tough, but with Joey, he looked at me and gave me a huge hug and I gave him a huge hug and I said ‘I know you’re going to great in life, not just hockey,’” said Rybalka, who added it was important to send him to a team that was close to home. “We didn’t even talk about the past, just a fresh start to get away and a new beginning.”
May joined the team as a call up in 2015-16 and was lights out in three starts, posting a 1.07 goals against average and a 0.966 save percentage, but was unable to recapture that form last year as he dealt with everything going on back home with his mother, who died this spring. He took a month off to return home to spend time with family and refocus on what was important and came back as the team was in a battle for playoff positioning.
He played in only 12 games last season posting a 3.15 G.A.A. and a 0.904 save percentage as 20-year-old starter Patrick Gora set a team record for most games played while tying the club mark for shutouts.
With Gora moving on to college this summer, this was supposed to be May’s opportunity to grab, and he prepared for it.
But Bowerman played more consistent throughout the preseason and showed well in his first start, a 6-3 win over the Sherwood Park Crusaders. It got to the point where the club needed to make a decision and simplify their goaltending situation with Landon Pavlisin looking like the starting goalie.
“(Wednesday) was the first practice with two goalies and it was a total difference, it was a relaxed atmosphere … and very upbeat … Griff had a net, Landon has a net and they worked their butts off,” said Rybalka. “It was a huge relief for everyone, the players, for Joey, and even for the staff. We made the decision and it was time to move on.”
In May’s first start with the Mustangs, he allowed all eight goals against in an 8-3 loss to the Grande Prairie Storm at the AJHL Showcase in Camrose as he faced 55 shots.