Long-time Kitchener Rangers fans will remember Mike Torchia patrolling the crease 30 years ago where he won multiple goalie honours, leading the Rangers to the Memorial Cup Finals where they ended up falling short.
Nowadays, his legacy with the team may be a distant memory, however his son Nathan is looking to create one of his own with the Rangers.
After Kitchener’s starting goalie Jacob Ingham went down with an injury recently, Torchia was given a shot to play at the OHL level.
Torchia has been dominating the Ontario Junior Hockey League this year with the Georgetown Raiders putting up video game like numbers with his sub two GAA and .942 save percentage; but what’s more impressive is that he’s doing all that as an undersized goaltender.
The Waterloo native is listed at just 5’10 which is a rarity in today’s game where goalies are normally at least six feet tall.
“Being a smaller goalie, I have to make sure I’m in proper position,” says Torchia. “It is a lot tougher compared to a goalie who has more a of height advantage me.”
Whatever his disadvantages, Torchia continues to impress. To get his shot at the OHL level with his hometown team makes it that much more special, he said.
“I would’ve been grateful to get a chance to play anywhere but being that it is Kitchener makes it that much more special to me because I grew up a huge Rangers fan obviously with my dad being a part of them for so many years.”
Torchia didn’t get where he is today because his father was a great goaltender or because he got lucky; he worked as hard, if not harder than anyone, said Raiders President Alex Bezerra in an interview.
“Nathan competes in every practice and game as if it was his last. Over the past five seasons, I have noticed improvements in Nathan’s speed, agility and ability to read the play which have led to his rise to the top of the OJHL and this phenomenal opportunity with the Kitchener Rangers.”
The possibilities for Torchia are endless, but what he has done in the face of adversity is what he is most proud of to date.
“I’ve been challenged with a lot of road blocks and have been told that I’m not good enough many times,” said the 19-year-old. “Being able to overcome those obstacles and believe in myself has made me a far better person.”