Bracebridge hockey historian Ken Veitch Sr. (left) and former Bracebridge Bears goalie Ryan Venturelli pose with the game sheet from the 1997 game where Venturelli became the only known goalie in history to score two goals in a single game. The game sheet was found after a long search that connected Veitch with a couple in the Town of Durham. (Photo by Louis Tam)
After a search that spanned nearly one-and-a-half years, official proof behind a Bracebridge goalie’s remarkable two-goal game has been found.
On Friday, Jan. 18, town hockey historian Ken Veitch Sr. officially announced that he had found the 1997 game sheet documenting the night when Bracebridge Bears goalie Ryan Venturelli wracked up two goals against the Durham Huskies. The mid-February game is believed to be the only time a goalie has ever accomplished such a feat.
Viewing the game sheet for the first time after 15 years at the Bracebridge Examiner offices, Venturelli was at a near loss for words.
“It’s a relief in a way. I’m pretty excited to finally lay my eyes on it,” he said. “I kind of gave up for awhile, and didn’t think we’d ever find anything. It’s pretty cool to see it.”
The search for official proof behind Venturelli’s feat saw Veitch gathering 11 witness statements from people who saw the game. Veitch also found a Bracebridge Examiner article by former reporter John Burke, which gave a period-by-period synopsis of the match. The official game sheet from that night, however, remained the elusive icing on the cake.
“All that time, I was searching for that game sheet,” said Veitch.
Veitch checked with the Metro Toronto Junior A hockey league, the referee’s association and the Bracebridge Bears team. The efforts turned up fruitless.
Veitch issued a call to the Muskoka community for leads on the game sheet through this newspaper, but found little to go on. He then took the step of writing letters to editors at local newspapers near the Town of Durham, asking for clues on where the game sheet could be found. Veitch wasn’t even sure if a copy still existed after 15 years.
“Most of these are destroyed after at least three or four years, because you get thousands of them every year,” he said.
Surprisingly, the effort gave him leads to hockey parents Julie and Dennis Graham.
“It speaks well to the good communication available through local newspapers,” said Veitch. “It’s a good example of how they do work; I would not have had this if it had not been for local newspapers.”
Dennis, it turned out, was the Huskies team manager when Venturelli’s goals were scored.
“As soon as they read the letter, they started going back through their records, and they found that game sheet,” said Veitch.
The game sheet’s details took Venturelli back in time. Just 18 on the night of the game, Venturelli scored both goals in the third period.
The Huskies, which were trailing 9-5, pulled their goalie with 11 minutes to go in the game. Gloving a shot that came immediately after a quick faceoff, Venturelli took a shot straight into the empty net.
With six minutes to go, a Huskies player’s failed pass to a teammate slid down the ice and into his own empty net. As the last Bears player who touched the puck, Venturelli was given credit for the second goal.
“I also had 30 saves,” Venturelli said as he pored over the game sheet. “I let in six goals though.”
Despite his efforts, Venturelli – a mortgage development manager today – has not been able to repeat the feat since.
Venturelli and Veitch now plan to submit the game sheet to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, along with all the supplementary documentation. What the museum decides to do with the evidence next is still up in the air.
“I can’t thank Ken enough for everything he’s done,” said Venturelli. “The people in Durham, it was amazing they found it, and even put the effort in to look for it.”