Diamond feeling polished
CeeBees’ keeper gunning for fourth Herder title
It’s not an easy job to be a goalie. More than any other position in hockey, the goaltender’s every move is scrutinized to the utmost degree, and when they’re at fault for a questionable goal, mouths begin to chatter.
The slow start to the season for the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars had a number of senior hockey fans speculating whether goalie Freddy Diamond was the one to get the job done for the team. This despite his three Herder wins for the team and last season’s playoff MVP in the Avalon East playoffs.
“ The pressure is whatever you make it to be,” says Diamond, now in his seventh season with the CeeBees. “ If you’re thinking the fans are on you and your teammates are on you, it trickles into your game. But when you’re relaxed, calm and cool, there’s no such thing as pressure.”
Diamond didn’t let the critics phase him, and his play during this year’s final went a long way towards silencing those who questioned his ability to lead the team back to its seventh-straight Herder final.
After letting in seven goals through the first two games, Diamond played brilliantly. He only allowed six goals in the final four games on 138 shots, sporting a spectacular .956 save percentage and a 1.50 goals-against-average. • Age – 27 • Position – goaltender • Height – six feet, one inch • Weight – 195 pounds • Favourite hockey team – Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars
• Favourite hockey player – Sidney Crosby
• Favourite hockey moment – playing in the national under-17 tournament in 1999 in Sydney, N. S. with Matthew French
• Favourite teammate French
– Following Game 6, Diamond was named the playoff MVP for the second straight year.
“Game 3, I think we were down 2-0 in Harbour Grace. If we go down 3-0, it’s pretty much in the books. But we battled back. We were shorthanded for six minutes, and we killed off those six minutes and came back. That was the turning point in the series.”
With a hurting defence missing its top-two players in Brandon Roach and Mike Dyke, the CeeBees needed Diamond to play well, and he did.
“ I couldn’t be happier with the way our defence is playing,” he says. “ Injuries are part of the game, and I’m sure when (coach) Ian Moores was putting together this team, he knew we could have injuries, and he brought in quality guys who could help fill the void.”
Now he’s facing a new opponent in the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts, and Diamond says Herder preparations never really change for him from year-to-year.
“ It’s what keeps you coming back,” says the Bonavista native. “ The Herder is the be-all-end-all of hockey. It’s the best it’s going to get in our lives. The excitement never dies when it comes to the Herder trophy.”
Diamond’s first trip to the Herder final in 2005 ended in disappointment, as the Ceebees fell to the Deer Lake Red Wings in seven games. But Diamond’s team had the last laugh, defeating the Red Wing the next year en route to three straight Herder wins.
First lacing into a pair of skates at the age of two, Diamond found his
• Favourite place in Newfoundland – Bonavista
• Hockey mentors – parents Bob and Lynn Diamond
• Favourite musical artist – Iron Maiden • Favourite movie – Pearl Harbour • Favourite television series – The Sopranos
• Favourite sport other than ice hockey – ball hockey • Favourite food – French toast • Favourite reading material – action novels way into goalie pads when he was seven years old, and he’s kept them on ever since. He grew up idolizing Patrick Roy, and later learned to appreciate the skills of fellow butterfly specialist Martin Brodeur.
“I try to be aggressive, but I try to be calm at the same time,” Diamond says of his approach to playing goal. “ You don’t want to be making the first move. You sort of want to have your angles (covered) and try not to do anything stupid, really.”
His play for the CeeBees has kept him surrounded by talented players every season, and he says the cur- rent crop of CeeBees came together nicely as the year progressed.
“Starting off the season, it was a bit slow. I think everyone had these expectations and really didn’t know how to dig down deep inside themselves and bring their A-game.”
Through hard work and some team meetings, Diamond says the CeeBees have pulled through. All that’s left now is the task of defeating a talented opponent from central Newfoundland, the Cataracts, one game at a time.