In his fifteen years of pro hockey, Bryan Helmer dressed for many teams and leagues, only 134 games’ worth of which occurred in the NHL. His craziest season was certainly 1998-99 when he played for four teams (Las Vegas, Phoenix, St. Louis, and Worcester) in three leagues (the IHL, NHL, and AHL).
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Although he is a bit superstitious, he also tells a better story about a teammate who, unfortunately, remains unnamed. “I played with a goalie who had this box,” he related one time. “It had Billy Smith’s picture on the front of it. He had the box locked. No one knew what it was. He always carried it around, was always holding it before games. So one day he was out on the ice, and the guys broke into it. There was a horseshoe in it.”
Helmer’s own superstition pales by comparison but is odd nonetheless. Never a coffee drinker, he once had half a cup before a game and played well. Ever since he has kept to his regimen of half a cup before every game, even though he never takes a sip of coffee any other time during the year. “That’s the only time I ever drink it, before games,” he admits.
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