DENVER (CBS4) – Is there an expiration date on chasing a dream? Do you give it a year? Two years? Maybe five? How about more than a decade? That’s how long Garett Bembridge has been playing professional hockey. Right now he’s playing for the Denver Cutthroats, but his dream is to play in the NHL.
With his gear on, Bembridge blends in well with his young teammates, but behind the visor there’s a hockey veteran who has seen a lot of ice.
“I’ve got to travel around the world, see places that I probably would never have seen if it wasn’t for this game,” Bembridge said.
The game of hockey has really taken Bembridge around the world.
“I’ve got a special place in Boise, Idaho. I’ve got a lot of friends still there,” he said. “I’d say overseas it would be Germany, I’m a big fan of Germany.”
Boise to Germany -– and that’s just a small slice of Bembridge’s travels.
“I started with St. Johns, New Brunswick. The Calgary Flames then moved our minor league team to Lowell (Massachusetts). And then I got sent down to Las Vegas for a little bit,” Bembridge said. “And then I went overseas and came back. I was in Boise, Idaho, and then Portland, Maine, and then Augusta, Ga. as well for a few games. And then Salt Lake City.”
There’s more, including stops in Italy and even Japan. But none of the places he’s been have an NHL team. Seventeen years after first taking the ice the juniors, Bembridge is still waiting to make “The Show.”
“I was a phone call away, I guess you could say. I was signed with the Calgary Flames and they were down some bodies … I was one guy away. I was the only one left in Lowell. But I got to go to lots of training camps … got to meet some of the best players in the NHL,” Bembridge said. “Obviously you’d love to have that one game in the NHL, but that’s what happened.”
The latest stop on Bembridge’s hockey odyssey is in Denver with the Cutthroats of the Central Hockey League — a new city, a new team and more minor leagues.
“A lot of bus rides. This year is some of the longest bus rides I’ve experienced. We’ve had a couple long ones. We’ve got a long one coming up, we’ve got to bus up to Brampton, Ontario. That’s like a three-day bus,” he said. “A lot of miles on the old ‘Iron Lung,’ as we call them.”
But Bembridge isn’t done with the experience. Denver is his hockey home for now, but who knows where on the globe he’ll land next. Even if “The Show” never calls, he wouldn’t change his journey for the world.
“I would never take away the experience of the game. It’s been an honor, I’m having a great time, and I just wake up every day, come to the rink for a couple hours and go home. Not a bad gig.”
Bembridge isn’t just hanging on after his prime. He’s 32 and leads the CHL in scoring.