September 27, 2017

Legends of Team Canada: Derek Mayer

Derek Mayer was always a great hockey player as a youth, but it was not until he left his home in Rossland, BC that he matured.

Mayer was invited to Notre Dame High School in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. It is one of the top hockey programs in the world at that age level, and was run by 1960s Olympian Terry O'Malley.

"I was getting into trouble, not so much with the law but I was getting Cs and Ds in school, staying out late and acting like a smart-ass teenager. Then I went to Notre Dame and guys like Wendel (Clark) were there, all kinds of guys you know will play in the NHL one day. Along with Terry O'Malley, that smartened me up."
Mayer got his grades in tow and earned a scholarship with the University of Denver. He starred there and was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1986.

Mayer left school in 1988 and joined the Canadian national team for a season before signing with the Red Wings. His entire time with the Red Wings was spent in the minor leagues. It is a period of time Mayer regrets. 

``If I would have stayed with the national team a little longer, I would have improved that much more that I would have had a better chance at the NHL,'' he said.
He rejoined the national team in 1992 and stuck with it through the 1994 Winter Olympics, winning a silver medal. 
Coach Tom Renney called him one of his most reliable defenders.
``You will never see real flashes of brilliance from him but by maybe not noticing him at times, that is a good thing. That means he is getting the job done," said coach Tom Renney.
His next stop was Ottawa, where he played 17 games for the Senators in 1993-94 before being released at the end of the season.
He then spent a year with Atlanta in the IHL but opted for Europe this year rather than play in the minors.
``The pace of life is great. There are less games. In Finland, I slept in my own bed every night. And the money is good, too.''
Mayer returned to the National team as a rare non-NHL add-on for the 1996 World Championships.
He then moved to Germany where he played for nearly a decade. He continued to live and coach there for many years.

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