Chelsea goalie to mind Canada’s ball hockey net
Chelsea resident and ball hockey goalie extraordinaire Nicholas Lamb is having a good year.
On the heels of two recent major tournament wins, he’s heading to Laval this summer to play between the posts for Team Canada at the International Street and Ball Hockey Federation World Ball Hockey Championships.
“I felt elated,” Lamb, 36, told the Low Down about hearing the news that he was chosen to be one of three goalies on the team.
“My friends and family are very happy for me, especially my teammates. They thought it was a long time coming,” he added.
He played for the Brampton Midnight Express at the Canadian Ball Hockey Association National Championships in Calgary in fall 2021. Lamb’s team won the tournament and he was awarded “most valuable goalie.”
“The Team Canada scouts were there,” he said.
Lamb said he got the call about making the team a few months after that tournament.
In late March, his local team, the Ottawa Carleton Ball Hockey Association Godfathers, won the North American Ball Hockey Championships in Philadelphia.
“We’ve played in that tournament for 10 years and came in second three times,” Lamb said.
Each Team Canada goalie will play a game in the June championships before they’re named either the starting or alternate goalies.
“They’ll go with the hot hand for the rest of the tournament,” Lamb explained.
At the tournament, he will face shots that not only travel faster than an NHL-level slapshot, but sometimes also have a screwball effect.
“As a goalie, you have to be in the right spot and be square with the ball,” Lamb explained.
Elite ball hockey players can shoot a ball over 120 miles per hour, he said, whereas most NHL shooters don’t break the 110 miles-per-hour barrier.
Since ball hockey is played on a sport court surface called “dek”, which is more grippy than concrete, wood, or – obviously – ice, he can’t slide around on his pads as easily to quickly cover the other side of the net. Lamb does have “sliders” on his pads, which decreases the friction a bit, but he still can’t really slide side to side.
Lamb said he grew up playing goalie for both ice and roller hockey teams.
When he started attending Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, he began playing intramural ball hockey. When he moved to Ottawa in 2009, he continued playing ball hockey, but moved up from the casual to competitive leagues by 2011.
“It’s basically the best players of the Ottawa-Gatineau region,” Lamb said.
Since then, he’s been the starting goalie for The Godfathers.
He’s the only local who made Team Canada, but a few of his fellow Godfathers made Team Lebanon, which will also play in the world championships.
“I’ll be representing the Ottawa-Gatineau ball hockey community on Team Canada,” Lamb said.
The tournament runs from June 19 to 27 in the Laval Rockets arena.