By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey
In case you don’t know who Adrian Mizzi is and have been living under a rock or in a cave.
Mr Mizzi is the Travelling Goalie. He has played in over 30 countries and has seen places that most of us only dream of.
I don’t know anyone that knows more people in the game of hockey then Adrian. If I starting shouting out names he says he meet him or he is friends with or he took picture with that person and it does not matter whether he or she is well known or not in the hockey world Adrian knows who they are.
We had the great pleasure of talking with the Travelling Goalie and asking him a few questions, I hope all of you enjoy this Interview.
Where did your love for hockey come from?
Good Morning George ,
When I was a kid everyone was playing street hockey and the obvious way to make friends was to play and obviously to this day I still feel the same way about the game . It brings people together , not everyone is compatible but when you are on the ice nobody thinks about that and friendships grow out of this . I’ve loved the game almost all my life.
How did your hockey travels start for you?
When my best friend was killed in a tragic construction accident I decided I needed to leave the country to start something new so I moved to Amsterdam …. you can fill in the blanks , regardless I was bored and needed to play hockey and the internet was very new to me at this time . I didn’t know where to play in Holland and I didn’t have my gear with me so I found a team in Malta and contacted them and made plans to go meet them and travel with them to Dubai to play in their international tournament . I moved back to Toronto and one year later I made the trek and I was instantly hooked as I have always loved tournaments but at the same time I caught the travel bug really hard . After that I came home and immediately started looking for other interesting countries to visit to play hockey and then I ended up in Singapore .
What attracted you to playing in ice hockey tournaments around the world?
The people ! The camaraderie ! and definitely the beer LOL ! as I mentioned earlier … the travel bug is a very real thing .
How many countries have you played in and do you have plans to travel to more countries in the future?
Currently I have played in 36 countries and planning a trip to play in Australia and New Zealand which I am pretty sure will make me the first goalie to play on every inhabited continent .
Do you have any plans to join our friend Ryan Bahl in is attempt to play a hockey game in the South Pole?
I have signed up to go play in Antarctica but will try to make my own way over someday if I don’t get the invite . It is very expensive and would take a lot of work to make happen but nothing is impossible .
Did you ever think of playing in any leagues around the world and make it a career?
Of course I have dream t of playing professionally and unfortunately when I was younger we were never told of any pro leagues outside of North America or any of the other northern countries in Europe and Asia which probably would have been an option when i was younger . I have been offered coaching positions overseas but currently I am very content with my job in the film industry in Toronto and I have no plans of ever moving away … I am very proud to be a Canadian and there is nowhere else I would rather call home .
You recently played in Egypt, can you tells about that trip and about a famous picture of you
that got a lot of attention?
Egypt was fantastic . I have always wanted to go there ever since I was a small child , seeing the pyramids was an absolute dream come true . Getting a picture in my goalie gear in front of it was one of the highlights of my life . I am pretty sure that I was not supposed to do this and I did it anyway with the help of my Egyptian friends ( Ahmed & Ayman ) . The picture got a lot of attention and for all the right reasons as I want to get ice hockey growing in Egypt . Since the picture went crazy online my friends from Anubis Ice Hockey ( https://www.facebook.com/
EgyptAnubis/ ) have had a few television interviews and there has been some more people joining to play …. the sport is growing and they need as much help as possible and that is why I am keeping my GoFundMe page going to collect more money to take more gear to them hopefully in December .
You also start a Egyptian Ice Hockey Drive, How is that going and if anyone want to help where would they go?
Thanks for asking . The hockey drive I did for Egypt was fantastic . My friend here in Toronto ( Brendan Krick ) donated his old goalie equipment so I traveled from here for the first time without my own full kit and I flew to England to meet my friends from the Birmingham Rockets ( https://www.facebook.com/
birminghamrockets/ ) and they donated loads of gear thanks to Gemma Taylor Albutt who runs the team there . From there I needed to transport the gear and that is where the GoFundMe page came in ( https://www.gofundme.com/ Egyptianicehockey ) and with the money I collected I paid the hefty baggage fees to fly the gear over …. the fundraising went better then I thought before leaving Toronto with a lot of my amazing friends pitching in enough to even pay for 2 full sized nets and I can’t forget the donations and deals that I got from my friends at my favorite hockey store on the planet Toronto Hockey Repair/Goalie Heaven ( http://www.goalieheaven.com/ ) If anyone is interested in helping out for the next trip then please make a donation and I will do my best to get another 100 kilos of gear over to Egypt !
You have played in many places around the world and I am sure you have countless stories, but can you share with us one your two stories that stand pout for you?
you do know I’m a goalie and I get hit in the head with pucks a lot right ? hahaha ! my memory is a bit shot buddy …. the first trip I received an invite for was to go play for a team from Jakarta , Indonesia . My good friend from Singapore ( Matt Wheeler ) invited me to stay with him and play for the first ever team to travel from Indonesia to play in an international tourney (Singapore) . Matt was such an amazing guy and unfortunately he is no longer with us and I will never forget him and that trip where I was treated very well . Another trip that stands out was my trip to South America with my German buddies Andi Tanzer and Timo Korner . We went to Brazil , Argentina and Chile and in Chile it was actually my idea to start a tournament there in Punta Arenas which is still going on . We played under my club team as the Ghetto Blasters and played in the first ever live televised match in Chile in front of a crowd of approximately 700 spectators .
Do you have any tips for people who may want to travel and play hockey like you have?
If you are a hockey player flying from anywhere always make sure to check if the airline carries ice hockey equipment for free and follow the guidelines and tape sticks together or buy a stick bag . If you have to pay for those sticks to come home then consider leaving them behind for people that can use them sometimes the baggage fees outweighs the cost of the twigs .
In 2009 you start a team called the Ghetto Blasters can you tells about this team and why you started it?
The Ghetto Blasters ( https://www.facebook.com/
groups/ghettoblasterhockey/ ) started when I hurt my neck and realized I have degenerative disc disorder and I almost needed surgery . The two teams I was playing for both promised to have the spot for me when I returned and both lied blatantly to my face … I was upset and sick of being treated like a rag doll so I started my own club which has been going strong now for 8 years and have been mentioned on the IIHF website for winning Copa Invernada in Chile and I am pretty sure that I have left a jersey in pretty much every country I have visited so we are quite well known in certain circles . We play twice a week in Toronto and we are always welcoming international friends to join us for our games .
You are also a huge football fan and in particular a Aston Villa fan, how did you become a fan of this team?
To make a long story short … I have family in Birmingham , England . My great aunt who is my grandmothers sister is very dear to me and I visit her as much as I can ! Her husband who is no longer with us was a Birmingham City fan and my cousin Steven is a Derby supporter and my cousin Paul is an Aston Villa supporter … lets just say Paul put in the best effort to get me into watching football as I honestly was not a big fan because I never liked the diving and embellishing that goes on during the games because as a hockey player I have grown up with the values of not flopping around and making a fool of myself . To this day I still don’t like that but have grown to enjoy the game and definitely will be a Villa supporter until I die … VTID ! UTV !
Of all your travels so far do you have any favorite places?
These questions flow so well , its like you know what I’m gonna say already ? hahaha ! My home away from home is Birmingham . My friends and family there are fantastic and I always have a place to crash and a team to skate with and most of all … someone to have a pint with 🙂
If you want to learn more about the Travelling Goalie check out his blog The Travelling Goalie