Kipper Kid realizes childhood dream, gets one-on-one with Miikka Kiprusoff

 

Brendan Peters, who has imitated the goalie’s moves in warmup for years as a tribute, over the moon to meet his idol

 
 
 
 
Brendan Peters, right, poses for a picture with Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff during a dream visit to meet his idol at the Saddledome.
 
 

Brendan Peters, right, poses for a picture with Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff during a dream visit to meet his idol at the Saddledome.

Brendan Peters finally realized a childhood dream on a sleepy Saturday morning with virtually no one in sight at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Known to Calgarians best as Mini-Miikka or Kipper Kid, Peters walked through the door of the Flames dressing room and took a hard right.

Standing there in the flesh was the real Miikka Kiprusoff.

Mini Miikka, meet Miikka.

“Truly an unbelievable experience,” the 16-year-old Peters said in the hallway, still buzzing over what had just happened. “Meeting my hero after how many years . . . It’s definitely something I’ll never forget.”

Hockey fans in these parts will likely always remember Peters as the young lad dressed head-to-toe in goalie get-up mimicking Kiprusoff’s every move during warm-up.

The shtick started at home with no one watching, and then moved to the stands at the Saddledome as a tribute to his hero during the 2005-06 season.

A celebrity in his own right, Peters hit the TSN highlight reel more times than anyone can count and even accepted the William Jennings Trophy on Kiprusoff’s behalf at the 2006 NHL awards in Vancouver.

Regardless, Peters had never met his idol . . . until Saturday.

“He may seem quiet during interviews, but when it comes down to him and me — it’s really cool,” Peters said. “He’s a really nice guy.”

After a four-year hiatus, Peters strapped on the pads and the mask for one last performance during warm-up last Wednesday before the Flames game against the Detroit Red Wings.

At some point, he received a quiet invitation to the inner sanctum for a one-on-one audience with the man himself.

“We talked about fishing,” said Peters, a Grade 11 student at Notre Dame High School. “My dad and I are also avid fishermen. So we talked about fishing and the whole design of his mask and everything behind that.”

Funnily enough, Peters is actually the one who could provide Kiprusoff with an education about his face protection.

Believe it or not, Peters can tell you where every ding came from on this mask and all the ones that came before it.

“I study all of his masks,” Peters said. “I draw all the skulls and everything. So it’s really cool.”

Kiprusoff didn’t just let Peters look at his mask. Clearly tickled by the whole experience, he invited Mini-Miikka to go one step further and slip it on.

“It’s the holy grail of hockey right there,” he said. “That was really cool to get to see his mask up close and actually try it on — that’s something I’ll never forget.”

Even with a charter flight to catch to Minnesota, Kiprusoff seemed in no hurry to rush things. When the time came to leave, the 36-year-old netminder presented Peters with a keepsake that no doubt instantly became his prized possession.

“This,” he said, clutching onto a Warrior goal stick complete with black puck marks all over the tape, “is from his last game.”

In other words, Kiprusoff gave Little Kipper the stick he waved to in the air after backstopping the Flames to a 3-1 victory Friday over the Anaheim Ducks.

With Kiprusoff expected to retire at the end of this season, that game will likely go down as his last appearance at the Saddledome.

Not that Peters is buying that just yet.

“I wouldn’t say that there’s a good chance he’s done,” Peters said. “He didn’t specify that he’s going to retire or that he’s going to come back. But whatever he chooses, I wish him the best of luck.”

On that score, the feeling is mutual.

“Thank you very much,” Kiprusoff said as Mini-Miikka took a hard left out of the locker-room. “Thank you for all your support.”

vhall@calgaryherald.com

 
 
 
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Brendan Peters, right, poses for a picture with Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff during a dream visit to meet his idol at the Saddledome.
 

Brendan Peters, right, poses for a picture with Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff during a dream visit to meet his idol at the Saddledome.

 
Brendan Peters, right, poses for a picture with Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff during a dream visit to meet his idol at the Saddledome.
Brendan Peters, dressed as his idol Miika Kiprusoff, watches the warm-up before the game against the Detroit Red Wings at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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