If there is a non-hockey player whose superstitions belong with the skaters of the ice lanes it is baseball star Justin Morneau. A native of British Columbia and the son of two athletic parents, Morneau was a goalie for as long as he was a first baseman in his years leading up to a career in Major League Baseball. He went so far as to earn a spot as the third goalie for the Portland Winter Hawks before finally giving up hockey to focus on baseball, a wise decision given that he went on to become the first Canadian to be named the American League’s most valuable player, in 2006.
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As a kid, regardless of whether it was baseball or hockey, Morneau worshipped the number 33 because his hero was Montreal Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy. Yes, Morneau wears that number today with the Minnesota Twins, but years ago he went to even greater extremes. When his dad would drive him to hockey games, Justin wouldn’t get out of the car until the car clock read, for instance, 6:33.
Morneau’s love of the number 33 is strictly a Roy honour and has nothing to do with Larry Walker, another Canadian who started out playing hockey and who wore number 33 during his career. Walker was simply a “3 freak,” as it were, and controlled his life around that lucky number. But that’s another story.