Ego ditched as Stayzer learns to be humble
Sep 17 2010 by Steve Brown, The Journal
BLAIR Stayzer was an NHL draft entry at 19 and played in the AHL at 21. It is not exactly the Stanley Cup, but to a new, young Newcastle Vipers, the Canadian brings top-level experience.
He also modestly admits he will “check his pride at the door”. Soon to turn 30 and with 11 professional seasons behind him, Stayzer had been contemplating retirement.
He had turned down enticing offers to move to the Elite League in the past, when circumstances were not conducive. Now they are, and the Vipers’ ambitious new coach Danny Stewart – who led Coventry Blaze to last year’s title – persuaded the versatile left-hander to forego the ‘pipe and slippers’ and make the “massive move” to become his first close-season signing.
At 6ft 3in and with a reputation for being able to look after himself and his team-mates, his is also a statement signing. But there will be no ego from Stayzer. As “huge” as hockey is back home and wheresoever the level of interest lies here, he knows well the contrast, and means to act accordingly.
Hence the humble talk. Yet the man from Niagara Falls also understands he is here for a reason, here to set an example, and to help lead what he already knows to be a “highly skilled” side.
“We’re a very young team but it’s going to be a lot different from training and exhibition games when Saturday rolls around and everyone’s got their full line-ups,” said Stayzer, who has joined from Fort Wayne Comets.
“It’ll be a learning process, we’ve got a lot of young guys so I think it’ll be eye-opening for a few players. The owners are great guys, they’re very passionate about hockey and they’ve done a good job with recruitment. I think it’s too early to tell what this team is capable of but we’re a very young team, but a highly skilled one, which is really good to see.”