He’s been described by many as calm, patient, a well grounded guy, and one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. This past June at the NHL Awards, Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens won the Ted Lindsay (most outstanding player), Jennings (fewest goals allowed), Vezina (league/General Managers award), and Hart Trophies (MVP), and became the first goaltender in NHL history to win all four individual awards in the same season.
Price was extremely grateful when accepting his awards and told First Nations Drum, “Obviously I was thrilled on receiving the awards, and [it was] a lot of fun to go to the awards with my friends and family,”
In Price’s NHL acceptance speeches to some of the most decorated hockey players in the world, he also addressed and shared his words with the youth about his hard work ethic and desire to be the best. “I would like to share a moment to encourage First Nations youth,” said Price, who was raised in the Aboriginal community of Anahim Lake, BC. “People would say it’s very improbable that I’d make it to this point in my life. I made it here because I wasn’t discouraged. I worked hard to get here, took advantage of every opportunity that I had, and I would really like to encourage First Nation youth to be leaders in their communities. Be proud of your heritage, and don’t be discouraged from the improbable.”
In the interview with First Nations Drum, Price added, “Just play hockey if you want to be a hockey player, but you don’t have to play hockey to be successful. You can be a teacher, a lawyer, doctor, even a chief of your First Nation, as long as you’re successful in what you do.” His final advice to youth was to accomplish those goals you set out for yourself. “If you want to make a name for yourself, you have to go out and earn it.”
Price also puts his words into action, as he’s involved in Breakfast Club of Canada and Air Canada Foundation, which feeds children in communities throughout Canada, including10,000 meals a year in his home community of Anahim Lake alone. “I got involved because this is an important initiative for the children, especially in rural communities who can’t afford to have a proper breakfast; they bring the food to these communities to help with the kids’ nutrition. Children can’t learn if they are hungry, and it affects their learning ability to even focus in school.”
Price who turns 28 years old on August 16th began his meteoric rise in hockey by playing his junior career with the Tri-City Americans in the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2002 at the age of 15. Price was drafted fifth overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2005 while still with the Tri-City Americans, where he won the Del Wilson Trophy as top goaltender in the WHL. In 2007, he joined the Montreal Canadiens farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League (AHL), and proceeded to lead the Bulldogs to win the Calder Cup Championship and the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the tournament MVP. In the same year, Price was was called up by the Montreal Canadiens and played back-up goalie. Later in his first season (2007-08) with Montreal, Price became the starting goaltender.
Price has represented Canada at various international tournaments, including winning gold medals at the 2007 World Junior Hockey Championships and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, where he received the Sochi Olympic top goaltending award from the International Ice Hockey Federation directorate. He said winning the Olympic gold medal has been one of the highlights of his flourishing career so far. “The Olympics and winning the Gold Medal was a huge highlight. Not only that, but the whole Olympic experience and taking in other events and the Olympic Village.” Price said. “Winning the Cup is a top priority, and reaching that goal is my main priority in hockey.”
Price was born in Vancouver, British Columbia to Lynda and Jerry Price. “I grew up both on and off the reserve of Ulkatcho First Nation. I remember we lived in this real old house, a log cabin with a tin roof, and later moved into a nicer place. But I always go home when I get chance; it’s always like a huge happy family reunion to head back to the rez.”
As a young boy, his father would drive the 10-hour round trip two or three days a week for hockey practice or house league games. Carey’s father would eventually buy a little piper cherokee bush plane to fly him to practice. The plane didn’t go very fast, but it got him to the rink a lot faster. Carey’s mother is the former Chief of the Ulkatcho First Nation. His father was also a goaltender; he was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1978 and played four seasons in various professional hockey leagues. He has a sister Kayla, and his second cousin is Shane Doan who plays with the Arizona Coyotes.
The hockey players he idolized growing up included Patrick Roy of the Montreal Canadiens. “I pretty much liked every goalie in the NHL. I also admired players like Pavel Bure, Steve Yzermen, Wayne Gretzky, players of that calibre.” When asked if his father pushed him to play goaltender, Price said, “Nope. He never pushed me to play hockey. I just got interested on my own, and I just stuck to playing goalie since I was a kid.”
Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens finished first place in the Eastern Conference regular season with 110 points but lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round. Following the NHL Awards ceremony and the hockey season, the general impression from president Geoff Molson, general manager Marc Bergevin, and head coach Michel Therrien, as well as the whole Canadiens organization: they’re extremely happy and proud of Carey and everything he accomplished last season. Well deserved.