By Еvan Osentоn
You may not have heard of Scott Rideout, but hockey players all over Western Canada spit, curse and gnash their teeth at the mention of his name. Rideout, the Dino’s fifth-year goaltender, is having the best season of his Canadian Inter-unversity Sport career in this, his
final year of eligibility. But don’t suggest this to him.
"I think I’ve had a productive first half," he laughed, dismissing this reporter’s glowing assessment of his play. "I think I’ve been consistent, and I think I’m managing to contribute–whether it’s 47 or 20 shots against."
Forty-seven shots against refers to his heroic performance on Nov. 23 against the University of Alberta Golden Bears, the highlight in a season that has seen him accrue eight wins and a 2.71 goals against average. In leading the Dinos to a sixth-place ranking in the nation, Rideout’s 14 appearances make him the busiest goalie in the CIS.
The Kinesiology major is quick to heap praise on his teammates and coach for the Dinos’ success.
"Scott [Atkinson] is great," said Rideout, who played for four years under Tim Bothwell, a coach renowned for a revolving door policy with regards to goalies. "Scotty understands the mindset of the goalie, he’s a little more forgiving, he focuses a little more on the veteran players knowing that it’s our last season."
His last season and his last chance to knock off those hated Bears. In Rideout’s five years as a Dino, he has been with them for all of their 21-game losing streak to the U of A, but he contends this year the Dinos are in their best position yet to topple their northern enemies.
"Last year they had four lines, and one big one–Hewson, Knoblauch and Wade–but this year they’re more spread out," said Rideout. "They can still score, but they’re a little more ordinary this year."
Ordinary can hardly describe Rideout’s circuitous route to the University of Calgary. A native of Flin Flon, Man., Rideout played most of his hockey in B.C. before moving up to the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League–a team that featured the likes of Adam Deadmarsh–then played for the Calgary Hitmen in their inaugural year before spending two weeks with the NHL’s New York Islanders. Rideout lost his roster spot to a young upstart named Tommy Salo, but relished the experience anyhow.
"Tryouts at [the NHL] level were intense," he laughed, remembering the speed of NHL-calibre shots. "But Ziggy Palffy was holding out that year, thank goodness."
Rideout looks back on the experience of being a Dino with fondness and looks forward to ending his CIS career on a high note–by beating the U of A come playoff time. But once the championship is won, and the season over, where will he go from here? Rideout graduates in the spring, but his future plans are wide-open.
"I graduate, and then… I don’t know," he said, gazing off into the distance. "But I don’t want to rule out going pro. Let’s leave it at that."