Just a few of the countries Andrew Stagg has seen in his travels as a member of the
Canadian Sports Massage Therapist Association.
Stagg, who has been working at Veitch’s Physiotherapy for two years since moving from the east coast, is a registered massage therapist who specializes in sports massage for athletes in a number of disciplines.
It’s his professional life that put a stop to him playing hockey after he finished up his junior hockey career with the Avalon Capitals of the St. John’s Junior Hockey League.
The 29-year-old native of Grand Falls-Windsor was drafted by Bell Island and ready to play some senior hockey on the east coast when he got a chance to join the St. John’s IceCaps medical team as a sports message therapist.
Putting his professional life before the game, Stagg opted to put his competitive hockey days on the backburner so he could spend four years with the IceCaps organization.
He has worked with Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador as a sports message therapist that accompanied a number of different teams to tournaments in Moncton and Montreal for a number of years.
He has been fortunate enough to cover Canadian ball hockey teams at a number of world-class tournaments and was a member of the medical team in the same role at two World Universiade Games.
When the IceCaps left the capital city, Stagg was free to look for work elsewhere so he decided to check out Corner Brook. He figured the weather would be nicer on the west coast and he would be closer to Gros Morne and other attractions that fit his desire to be in a place where he could enjoy the outdoors, hiking and kayaking, with his dog, Ranger, along for the journey.
A change of scenery also allowed him to resume playing competitive hockey.
Stagg, a forward who plays a defensive role with a physical brand of hockey, is in his second season with the Corner Brook Royals of the West Coast Senior Hockey League.
He’s happy to be on the ice instead of behind the scenes.
“It’s something that I feel like I was missing and it’s been a really cool opportunity to get back into the game,” Stagg said.
Stagg is enjoying being a Royal. He finds it strange that he’s now one of the older guys in the room because he was always one of the youngest, but he has been impressed with the calibre of some of the young guns sprinkled around the league, including a handful of his teammates who are blessed with speed.
He also likes the fact everybody is there for the right reason.
“They are there because they enjoy being around the boys and like playing the game,” he said. “Everybody wants to be there and that’s really cool to see.”
He believes the concept of community-based teams is a fantastic idea and he hopes the day comes that Hockey Newfoundland has a province-wide league with three different leagues giving local players a chance to play the game.
He likes how league organizers have been able to work together on a common goal of having four competitive teams and believes it’s a pretty good product considering guys are playing for the love of the game and not a paycheque.
“They wanted parity in the league and I think they got it,” he said.
Stagg is No. 22 with the big beard.
Expect him to crash and bang when coach Colbourne throws him over the boards.
The Royals resume play Friday night when they clash with the rival Deer Lake Red Wings 8 p.m. at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex.