Beamsville’s Ryan Christie capped a 17-year pro hockey career with an Allan Cup championship on Sunday in Dundas.
Christie wore the ‘C’ for Dundas Real McCoys as they edged Newfoundland’s Clarenville Caribous 3-2 in OT.
It was the culmination of a two-year commitment Christie made to himself, his family and the team when they were awarded the tournament.
“One way or another, this was going to be my last season of competitive hockey,” said Christie, while greeting visitors to his hometown Tim Hortonson Tuesday afternoon. Tim Hortons is the major sponsor of the Allan Cup.
“This win has been two years in the planning. Our team this year was the best bunch of guys I ever played with and we beat what was essentially an all-star team.”
Christie noted the Clarenville squad, due to their league rules, were able to pick up nine players from other teams in their league just for the tournament run.
For Christie, what made it very special for him was to have his family at the final game.
“It was great to have my wife (Julie)and kids (Jaxon and Gavin) there as well as my mom and dad (Sherry and Bob),” said Christie.
“I know my grandmother (Muriel Christie) was watching on TV at Albright Manor, too,” he said.
With three lines which could score, deep defence corps and a hot goaltender, Christie knew going into the tournament the Real McCoys had a good chance, but acknowledged anything could happen in a single-knockout format.
Christie and the team even got a shout-out from one of Canada’s most noted hockey figures after their 4-0 pummelling of Kenora in the semi-finals.
Hockey Night In Canada host Ron MacLean noted Christie’s two goal performance on Saturday night’s telecast, while reviewing the night’s highlights with Don Cherry.
Christie met MacLean when the latter and Cherry co-hosted a golf tournament for Christie’s close friend Dan Snyder who was killed in a 2003 car crash.
“We were raising money for a new rink in Elmira (Snyder’s hometown). We ran a tournament for five years,” noted Christie, who was the 112th player selected by Dallas Stars in the 1996 draft.
“Ron and Don hosted the after party. One year I spoke with Ron at the event. The next year I was walking through the hall and we walked right up to me and called me by name. I was very surprised. With as many people as he must meet…I was impressed.”
At the top of the list of career highlights is his first game with Dallas.
“They had just won the Stanley Cup the year before and won the President’s Cup the year I was there. It was amazing being in the dressing room with so many hall of famers,” said Christie, who estimated six men from that team would earn the distinction.
Now Christie has hung up his blades in favour of a carton of milk as he helps his dad at Christie’s Dairy.
The Allan Cup is awarded to Canada’s men amateur hockey champion.