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Community: Cam the Champion

Thursday, 10.16.2008 / 11:39 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
Carolina Hurricanes
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Community: Cam the Champion

Some of you might have seen, but yesterday Cam Ward kicked off Cam’s Champs in a new way.  After the late morning Canes practice, Cam stayed on the ice for some extra work with Paul Webb, a Special Olympics athlete from Wake County.

Doug Warf
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Cam’s Champs, which is beginning it’s third year, is a program sponsored by Cam Ward in conjunction with the Special Olympics North Carolina.  Cam donates $4 for each save that he makes during the season and challenges fans to donate as well.  There are great incentive items for those who donate and all of that information can be found on the SONC web site.

Paul is a triple threat Special Olympics athlete as he stars in soccer, speed skating and basketball.  I was able to hang out with Paul for almost an hour as we watched the Canes work through their final practice before departing for the West coast. 

As we watched, Paul told me about his legendary stick that had been passed down to him by his brother and how that stick was going to help him score against Cam.  Paul also told me about Amanda, the soccer goalie for his Wake County team, whom he said was the best goalie he had ever seen.

As Paul was putting on his skates I wondered if either of those things would change after playing Cam.

A few minutes into shooting on the 2006 Conn Smyth winner, Paul did ask to use the expensive Easton Synergy stick of Patrick Eaves.  After a few wayward shots, he went back to his wooden street hockey stick whose curved blade was worn from many great days in the driveway.  And wouldn’t you know, the street hockey stick was the one that brought the magic. 

The one thing that I am not sure the news cameras captured, that I thought was unique to Paul’s approach, was his diversionary tactics.  I had a sneak peak before taking the ice of how well he could quickly twirl the stick like an oversized baton…quickly going from in front of his body to the back.  Perhaps I should have told Cam, because it was this tactic that distracted Cam enough to allow Paul’s first goal.  Hopefully a TV camera did catch it as I think it would be a great move for Ray “The Wizard” Whitney.

After wrapping up their on-ice dual, Cam invited Paul back into the Canes locker room so that he could take his skates off in style.  Inside the locker room Patrick Eaves autographed and gave Paul that Synergy stick that had not been lucky enough earlier.  Now Paul admitted that it was an awesome stick, but it would never be used again as it would stay on his trophy shelf. 

After their time on the ice Paul finally conceded that Amanda was the best soccer goalie he knew, but that he had never seen her on the ice…though he said he wasn’t sure Cam could take her on the soccer field.