FORT MYERS, Fla. — When Pat Nagle entered professional hockey with the Florida Everblades back in 2011, he never would have guessed where his career would take him.
Between now and then, he’s been with nine teams taking him from Idaho to Rochester with each stop preparing him for his latest assignment as a goalie for Team USA in Beijing, an honor he thought had passed him by.
Regardless of the sport coming right into the league and winning a championship in your first season may seem like an impractical goal, Nagle beat those odds immediately in Southwest Florida.
“I had a blast my first year. We were fortunate enough to win the Kelly Cup, we had a great year there so it was a lot of fun,” former Everblades and current team USA goalie Nagle said.
The next goal on his to-do list was to move up and he did that, a lot.
“I have been all over the map a couple of different systems. I was with the Detroit system for a while in Grand Rapids, this year I am in Lehigh Valley currently in the Philadelphia system,” Nagle said.
His attention was on continuing to strive for the NHL as he played for Lehigh Valley in the Flyers system. In the middle of a strong season, he never would have expected the opportunity that would become available as the NHL announced that it would not allow its players to participate in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.
“To be honest I didn’t really think too much of it. My name was probably on a long list but obviously, I’m getting older and there are a lot of young guns these days that are doing well so it was pretty special even to get a mention on the initial list,” Nagle said.
It was another impractical goal that didn’t register as realistic in the 34-year-olds mind.
“Not really to be honest, no I mean it is something that you strive for when you were younger but as time goes on you become a little bit more aware of what else is going on and a little bit more realistic of expectations,” Nagle said.
Then the call came that would change his professional career as he was selected as one of three goalies set to represent Team USA in Beijing.
“It was very special, it was almost surreal. From the standpoint of not really putting together all of what is going on or how big of a deal it was and I think it really set in once I made that first phone call to my parents and just hearing their excitement and seeing their faces it was meant the world to me,” Nagle said.
All of the stops, starting with the Everblades culminating in the biggest stage the sport has to offer.
“He has had a lot of success over the years and he has certainly stuck to it and this is kind of a nice cherry on top for him to be able to play in the Olympics,” said Everblades General Manager Craig Brush.
Beating his own odds just like he did back in 2012 and taking a little piece of Southwest Florida with him inside to Beijing.
“Yeah I mean we had a lot of fun there we had a great group. Yeah just stick to it who knew that 10, 11 years later here we are,” Nagle said.
Hoping to parlay his Kelly Cup experience for a gold medal one.
https://nbc-2.com/news/2022/02/10/former-everblades-goalie-goes-for-gold-in-beijing/ Former Everblades goalie goes for gold in Beijing