Many of you know Sidney Crosby, one of the most well-know National Hockey League (NHL) players who hails from Nova Scotia, Canada.
But the person who – you probably – don’t know is hockey goaltender Mark Grametbauer of the Carleton Ravens. Twenty-year-old Grametbauer hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and has been playing the sport of hockey since he was about four years old.
“I would say I got introduced to hockey by my dad and my family. Like most young kids starting out I guess I was around four years old when I starting skating on lakes around the neighborhood,” Grametbauer recalled.
Although Nova Scotia is a smaller province than Ontario or Quebec, Grametbauer said the Maritime province was a very “supportive community” to grow up in, and dubbed the province as feeling “homey.”
“And really helpful, especially with coaches that I had growing up, always being there at no matter what age I played,” Grametbauer said.
Although he’s been a goaltender for his whole career, Grametbauer didn’t completely switch over to the position until his first year of peewee. And as for what led to him becoming goalie, according to his parents, is that Grametbauer would be constantly trying to “block pucks” and “catch items around the house.”
Over the course of his career so far, Grametbauer has seen himself play for nine teams in four leagues over the course of eight years.
Grametbauer’s organized hockey career took off in the 2011-2012 season, when he played for the Harbour Storm Major Bantam of the Nova Scotia Major Bantam Hockey League (NSMBHL).
“It was a great experience for me. It was a little further from my house, it was across the bridge in Cole Harbour, so it was a lot of traveling,” Grametbauer said.
“And I’m thankful to my parents for bringing me to practices and all that, so it was definitely a tough adjustment, but definitely some of the most fun that I had,” he added.
Following his final season with the Harbour Storm Major Bantam, Grametbauer joined the Cole Harbour Major Midgets of the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League (NSMMHL).
“We set the record for winning 19 straight games that year, which was quite a big milestone for us and I think everybody glued really well,” Grametbauer said about his time on the team.
Following his 2013-14 season with the Cole Harbour Major Midgets, Grametbauer was named to the NSMMHL Second All-Star Team, as well as having the NSMMHL best save percentage that year with a percentage of .933.
“So that was the season that I mentioned earlier where we had 19 straight wins, so I mean, it’s not just the goalie that wins all the games, it’s definitely the whole team that wins everything,” Grametbauer said.
Following his time in the NSMMHL, Grametbauer briefly played for the Valley Wildcats and the Truro Bearcats of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League (MJAHL), before being drafted into the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
Grametbauer was drafted 41st overall in the third round in the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft, to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.
“I mean, as soon as you wake up in the morning, and the draft is not until the afternoon, you’re quite nervous and not really sure what to expect, especially since it’s your first time going through that sort of situation,” Grametbauer said.
“But I had my family there, and everyone I needed to support me, so I think we just carried through and at that point a lot of things are out of your control, which makes everything nerve-wracking, but at the same time, there’s nothing you can do to change the outcome, so you have to be there and enjoy the moment,” he added.
Throughout his four seasons in the QMJHL, Grametbauer played for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, the Gatineau Olympiques, the Charlottetown Islanders, the Moncton Wildcats, and the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, due to being traded from team to team.
“As a player, it’s not always the easiest thing or the most fun thing to move around to a lot of teams, but my biggest thing was always seeing the positive side of it and always being able to play on a good team,” Grametbauer said.
And due to being traded around a lot, Grametbauer has had numerous billet families step in and take on a parenting role for him as he’s away from home.
“I think, influence wise, I find that they’re just another pair of parents, that they’re there to support you and to talk to if you ever need anything,” Grametbauer said.
The Olympiques have been the only QMJHL team that Grametbauer has been on for more than one full season.
“It was good. I mean, it was close to the Ottawa side, and it was also on the French side, so it was interesting. I had an amazing coach there, really welcoming teammates, and it definitely helped build my French a lot that year,” Grametbauer said.
Over the summer between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 season, Grametbauer found himself being invited to the Tampa Bay Lightning development camp.
“There, I guess it was more of opening up my mind to really seeing how good some players are, and how good some players can be, because staying in the Q, you usually see either the same faces and the same teams every year,” Grametbauer said.
“But going to a professional camp just really opens up your mind in showing you that the Q isn’t the endpoint, that there’s a lot more out there that you have to work for, and I feel like seeing that and putting in more work than I need to is a huge stepping stone,” he added.
Following this past season with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, and a few talks with Ravens head coach Shaun Van Allen and assistant coach Mark Cavallin, Grametbauer made the decision to commit to the Ravens men’s hockey team starting in the 2019-2020 season.
And a huge factor about deciding to come to Carleton, is his previous time spent in Gatineau while playing for the Olympiques.
“We looked at all the 20-year-old goaltenders in all the leagues and we kind of tried to narrow our list down, and Mark was on that list. We went and watched him play when they were in Gatineau, and we got him after the game and we talked to him, and then we kept in contact with him,” Van Allen said.
“And obviously there were a few teams after him, and we kept talking to him, and telling him what we liked about him, and what he could do for us, and he finally decided on us,” he added.
While Grametbauer is looking forward to coming in and meeting the team and getting a feel for the campus, he is also looking forward to the classic rivalry that the Ravens have with the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
“Those are usually really fun games when there’s always something a little extra to play for, a little extra bragging rights to play for, for that year, and I think that there are some really special memories that come along with that,” Grametbauer said.
“And I think being there with your team, and trying to be the best you can on that day to win those bragging rights and win that game is special, not just for the team, but for the whole school,” he added.
Like many athletes, Grametbauer has faced many challenges and adversities, such as being traded, to not making teams, but through the challenges, he tries to keep a positive attitude and see a good side in the negative.
And due to his positive attitude, Grametbauer has grown as a player and as a person to get him to the gentleman he is today.
“Being looked up to, by younger kids, and the way you have to react in the community, and then learning new things on the ice and trying to become a better player has really helped me grow as a person, and I feel like it helps everybody grow in that league,” Grametbauer said.
And because of the way he’s grown, Grametbauer has been able to learn many valuable lessons that will also help him in life outside of hockey.
“Hockey has mostly taught me about leadership, and just always being there for your teammates, that you’re able to find a family outside of your own family, and that there are always other people to take into consideration,” Grametbauer said.
“So, I think always working hard and, sticking to the plan, and trying to be there for your teammates,” he added.
Playing for the Ravens next season, Grametbauer will be able to focus, knowing he’ll be at Carleton for at least four to five years, due to the fact that no one gets traded between teams in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA).
“I’m extremely excited for that, because I will be able to build a great relationship with the team, and not have to worry so much about losing friends or moving within a trade,” Grametbauer said.
And no matter, how far away he is from home, (1437 km), Grametbauer will always keep in mind his inspiration and who helped him get him into the sport of hockey in the first place.
“I’d probably say my biggest inspiration would be both my mom and dad, you know, them immigrating to Canada on a small budget and really working for everything they had,” Grametbauer said.
“And seeing how much time and effort they would put into me, trying to get me to rinks and to practices, and always being there for me no matter what the situation was, so, I always look up to them, and always see them as my inspiration,” he added.