I do believe in superstitions, especially in sport, heck I even had a few of my own when I was younger, but the Canadian World Junior starting goalie, Carter Hart, has taken this idea to an entirely new level. I had the privilege to attend the blowout quarter final game of Canada vs. Switzerland on Tuesday, January 2nd and this is where my concerns for this young goalie stemmed.
The first period ended with Canada up 3-0 over the Swiss but the most entertaining and weirdest story from the first period happened at the start of intermission. As the players exited the ice and the fans clapped them off, the back up goalie for Switzerland was taking a couple extra minutes to get some stretching in. The problem with this is that Carter Hart has made it pretty clear that one of his main superstitions is making sure he is the last player off the ice between intermissions. So we had ourselves a good old fashion Old Western standoff. As we watched the the two goalies mentally battle it out the Zamboni doors opened and the flood began. Neither goalie flinched, holding their ground, waiting for the other to make the first move. You could tell the Swiss goalie was only doing this to try and get in Hart’s head an throw him off. After a couple more minutes passed by the arena staff had the nerve to ask Hart to leave the ice before the SWISS BACKUP! So Hart did what he was asked…at least that’s what we thought. Just seconds after the Swiss player left the ice Hart returned for one quick on and off to keep his superstition in tact.
Okay, yea, so he won that battle, but the war is still far from over. Canada still has to face the Czechs and possibly the winner of the USA/Sweden Semi-Final to ultimately achieve the gold medal. We really can’t afford to have Hart distracted with silly ‘shenanigans’ like this. I know I shouldn’t be the one talking because this guy has had phenomenal numbers in junior this season and has been very solid for Team Canada throughout this tournament. It just concerns me that his focus will shift from making sure he stops pucks to these superstitions and that won’t turn out well for anyone. Mind games can become very dangerous and let’s be honest, how long does he really expect this to go on? Do you think they will allow behaviour like this on the pro level? I’m sure the Philadelphia Flyers organization won’t be impressed with this as a constant news story and once competitors catch on to it, they will use it to their advantage to try to mess with Hart. Maybe some superstitions aren’t meant to last and maybe he should consider dropping this one before it becomes a distraction to not only himself but his teammates. But I guess if he keeps winning games and playing lights out there is not much for anyone to say.
*Side note: I also read he has been eating the same meal for breakfast over the last 4 years. I still haven’t decided if I can trust this guy or not. Very problematic.