Hall dazzles with Taylor-made move

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:50 PM ET

BRANDON — Most players leave the bag of tricks in the dressing room.

They might bring out the pond-hockey dangles in practice to get a laugh out of their teammates.

But certainly not on junior hockey’s biggest stage.

Taylor Hall, of course, is not your average player.

The Windsor Spitfires superstar did try out an eye-popping between-the-legs move at practice earlier in the week.

It didn’t go over well with coach Bob Boughner.

Undeterred, Hall brought it out again in the Memorial Cup opener, scoring a highlight-reel goal as the Spitfires pounded the host Brandon Wheat Kings 9-3.

“It’s kinda funny,” Hall said.

“I did that the other day in practice on a three-on-two, and Boogie gave me some trouble for it.

“So when I scored the goal, I turned around and gave him a wink.

“It’s all in fun.”

Hall figured he would probably escape the coach’s doghouse after scoring the goal that made the highlights across the country.

“I think he might be a fan of the move,” Hall said.

“But if I do it later in the tournament and mess up, he’s going to give me some crap.

“So I don’t know if I’ll be trying that anymore.”

Hall, who was nearly bent in half by world junior teammate Travis Hamonic moments before scoring the beauty, said sometimes exotic moves become second nature.

“When you’re practicing, you try that kind of stuff and you perfect it,” Hall said. “And once you get to the game, it’s no big deal. I really thought I could pull that off.”

Hall spent the first 13 years of his life stickhandling around rinks in Calgary.

He still visits the Stampede City and the lifelong Flames fan said he was disappointed when the NHL team missed the post-season.

“I go back there every summer,” he said. “I still know a lot of people from playing hockey there. I love Calgary and I love being out west.

“I’ve always loved the Flames, but this year I came to realize I wouldn’t be able to be a part of their team.

“But they’ve always been my team, and I was pretty upset when they didn’t make the playoffs this year.”

Ironically, there’s a very good chance Hall will end up playing for the enemy in the provincial capital.

Which, he said, suits him just fine.

“I never grew up hating the Oilers,” Hall said. “I’m sure if I was drafted by Edmonton, I’m sure I would change my teams pretty fast.

“I’ve always been a Flames fan. They had a great team this year. I don’t know why they didn’t do better.

“But Edmonton would be a great place for me to play and I’m still trying to show them that I’m their guy.”

A few more performances like the one he put on Friday night should do it.

Hall had a pair of first-period goals as the defending champion Spitfires routed the host Wheaties.

June’s NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles is just around the corner, but Hall said it’s not something he can afford to be concerned with at the moment.

“Pretty soon, I’ll find out where my hockey career lies,” he said. “But I can’t worry about that right now. In all honesty, I’m just here to play hockey.

“I’ve never been to L.A.

I hear it’s a pretty good spot though. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Nonetheless, the Memorial Cup is Hall’s last opportunity to prove to Oilers scouts that he deserves to be the first-overall pick.

He was named MVP of last year’s tournament but believes he’s capable of even more.

“I’m excited to see what I can bring to the table,” Hall said. “I want to contribute as much as I can and show the scouts that I can be that guy.”

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca


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