By Kris Smith
Whilst many Dundee Stars fans will be scratching their head, trying to work out who the third goalie on the ice at practice sessions is, we are proud to give this unsung hero the recognition he deserves.
Daryll Plantinga has been helping out with Stars training since 2002, when former head coach Roger Hunt, asked the Canadian to provide back-up cover at training.
Now Plantinga has become a regular in training camps and practice sessions and has worked with the last five Stars head coaches.
Daryll explained: “I was asked by Roger Hunt in the 2002/2003 season to help out, because they had back-up goalies who couldn’t make training all the time.
“They needed someone who could handle the shooting and stuff like that.”
Plantinga provided his services from 2002 until 2005 when the British National League folded but resumed his duties in 2010 when the Stars joined the Elite League.
“I have been doing this since 2002 but I wasn’t involved in the Scottish National League period. Then in the EIHL era, I was asked to come back and help out”, added Plantinga.
The 49-year old started out playing minor league hockey just like the rest of our professional players from Canada and has a similar hockey background to them as well.
Daryll said: “My background in hockey is, I grew up in Northern Alberta in Canada and went through the minor hockey system there.
“That was up until my midget year when I was 16 or 17, after that I played a bit of junior A and Junior B league in Northern Alberta.
“I moved on to college where I played two years as the starting goaltender for a team called the Grande Prairie Wolves in a league called the ACAC, which is the collegiate league in Alberta.
“After college I played some senior men’s hockey back in Canada before I came over to the UK in 1992.
“It was then when I hooked up with Sandy Cram, Brian Malcolm and Dave Edmonds at the Dundee Michelin and I played recreational hockey with them up until last season.”
The Edmonton, Alberta native enjoys coming to the rink every week and there is more than just keeping fit in it for him.
He added: “It gives me a sense of belonging to a team and it is nice to be involved with the professionalism of the team as well.
“Also, to hang out with guys from Canada is great, it gives me a little bit of connection with home.
“A lot of these guys are from Alberta or Western Canada, so I have a connection with them and it makes me less homesick.
“We can compare hockey experiences and it is a lot of fun to learn from the other goalies.
“I am always trying to learn from them and every year you learn a little bit from them and it helps me keep young too.
Daryll is also working as policeman and has been with Police Scotland for 22 years.
Discussing the difficulty of his work, life and training balance, he said: “It is difficult to manage it all but the fact that the Stars train in the afternoon makes it easier.
“There are times where I can’t be at training, but if I am on a late shift or a night shift, then I can be here.
“It is more difficult balancing all of it along with my family.”
Stars current head coach, Omar Pacha could do nothing but praise the goaltender for all his help.
He said: “It is great to have Daryll around, he is a great guy and helps me a lot during practice.
“I am very appreciative of the time he gives us and the commitment he shows to the club.”
Daryll has and continues to be a fantastic servant to the Stars organisation and does great work behind the scenes that most fans don’t see.
THANK YOU DARYLL