Texas goalie Adrien LeMay in warmup for Saturday's game against Milwaukee, sporting a mask inspired by Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour. (Credit: Chris Jerina/AHL In Photos)
Those in the building for warmups at Tuesday's game against Manitoba may have noticed Adrien LeMay's goalie mask, which pays homage to Dallas Stars legend Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour. However, unless you had particularly keen eyes or binoculars, you may not have noticed that Belfour's image, number and trademark eagle are accompanied by the Vezina Trophy winner's signature and some good luck wishes for the young LeMay.
Five foot ten inch goaltender Adrien LeMay, who has backed up Tyler Beskorowany over the past five games for the Texas Stars, sees a lot of commonality between himself and the Stanley Cup champion netminder. "He's small like me and didn't get drafted either."
Belfour, coming in at six foot flat, played college hockey at North Dakota, winning a national championship but going undrafted. Belfour eventually signed with the Blackhawks. LeMay, likewise was also undrafted after playing two years with the Lewiston MAINEiacs of the QMJHL. After a season with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL, LeMay earned a contract with the Texas Stars and has found a home this year with the Allen Americans in the CHL. He is currently 8-1-1 with the club, earning a 2.99 GAA and .905 SV%.
A closeup on the signed portion of LeMay's mask which reads "To Adrien, Best of Luck, Ed Belfour". (Credit: Chris Jerina/AHL In Photos)
Belfour, who played with the Dallas Stars for 5 seasons, just so happened to be enjoying an Allen Americans game this season when LeMay was in net. The Eagle was so inspired by the mask that he met LeMay in the locker room to give a few encouraging words and sign the mask. "He said I was on the right track and to keep working. It doesn't mean if you're a small goalie that you can't get [to the NHL]."
Independent goalie scout, Justin Goldman of The Goalie Guild, agrees with LeMay's self-assessment: "Like most goalies at his size, his success stems not only from his overall quickness, but also from a tremendous work ethic, winning attitude and determination both on and off the ice." Goldman also points to reaction speed and lateral movement as key strengths of LeMay's game. Continued work with Stars goaltending coach Mike Valley will improve his skills, but "size is something you can't teach". LeMay knows, however, that Ed Belfour faced the same challenges and seeks defy the odds and one day join the NHL ranks despite his smaller frame.
For LeMay, it was a thrill to meet a childhood idol, "When I was young I used to watch him play in the playoffs, and he was really good back then. He's a good role model on the ice for me, [encouraging me] to work hard." And according to the experts, that hard working attitude has the young goalie headed in the right direction.