Langley Rivermen goaltender Bo Didur has been a key cog in the team’s success since early December. The No. 1 goaltender has helped the junior A hockey club go 17-2-3-0. With five games to go in the regular season, the Rivermen are locked into the No. 3 seed in the BCHL’s Mainland Division and will play the Chilliwack Chiefs in the first round. The teams played on Saturday with the Chiefs winning 4-3 in overtime.

Bo knows goaltending

Veteran netminder targets playoffs and beyond with Langley junior A squad

Considering their job is to put their body in the way of frozen rubber discs torpedoing towards them at speeds in excess of 80 mph — or  faster — you’d expect goaltenders to be a little on the quirky side.

Bo Didur definitely fits that description.

The veteran Langley Rivermen netminder is in his fourth season in the B.C. Hockey League, and third with the Rivermen, and has another year of junior A eligibility to go.

This season, he’s made an impression on and off the ice.

Let’s start with what he’s done on the frozen playing surface.

As the BCHL season heads into the home stretch, Didur has posted a 17-17-1 record, 3.38 goals against average, two shutouts, and an .898 save percentage.

He struggled recently as the Rivermen fell 5-2 to the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings. During the loss, Didur surrendered three goals on five shots in just 12:41 of first-period action before getting the hook.

But he redeemed himself the following night, playing the full 60 minutes (while stopping 39 of 41 shots) during the Rivermen’s 11-2 blowout of the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson knew Didur would deliver a solid performance against the Silverbacks, especially after what happened against Prince George.

“We knew he’d probably play a pretty inspired game,” Henderson said. “He’s a pretty competitive kid and we knew he wasn’t happy with his performance the night before.”

Off the ice, Didur, like many of his hockey brethren, is a creature of habit.

“I like to, on game days, stick to the exact same (routine). For example, a couple of teammates and I, we always go and get breakfast at Ricky’s and we always order the exact same thing,” Didur said.

(In Didur’s case, his breakfast meal of choice is eggs benedict and hash browns).

“Then, I usually come back and take a nap,” Didur added. “I always eat chicken and pasta before I head to the rink.”

And before every home game, Didur usually arrives at the GPRC two-and-a-half hours before the opening puck drop.

Then comes the visualization aspect, when Didur sits in the exact same seat — Row 3, Seat 9, right by the penalty box — for some quality alone time.

“I just kind of went, and I stood there, and that was the seat that was calling my name and that’s the seat I’ve been sitting in ever since,” Didur said.

He’s also become quite proficient at growing facial hair, particularly along his upper lip during the month of November.

He and former Rivermen teammate Domenic Masellis  combined to form The Brostachios, and together they raised $2,081 for the Movember Foundation that brings awareness and research for men’s health issues including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

“Anything to help with the fundraiser,” Didur said. “My grandpa, he passed away from cancer when I was young. It’s a lot of fun fundraising for a good cause.”

November also happened to be a month of adversity for Didur, who missed several games dealing with a concussion.

The injury occurred Nov. 19 when Didur was steamrolled by Nanaimo’s Matt Creamer during the Rivermen’s 3-3 tie with the Clippers at the George Preston Recreation Centre.

Creamer — who was handed a five minute major and game misconduct for goaltender interference — was handed a two-game suspension by the BCHL as a result of the incident.

“I went behind the net to play the puck, and the next thing  I knew I woke up on the ice,” Didur said.

Didur showed his toughness by playing the rest of the game.

“I felt fine on the ice,” Didur said. “It set in that night when I was going to bed. I got dizzy, got a headache, and it went from there.”

The injury took him out of action until Dec. 8.

“It was definitely rough,” Didur said.

“I’ve never had that kind of injury before in my career. You feel normal sometimes and wish you could get out there but you can’t. It was frustrating.”

With the concussion in the rearview, Didur is focused on being a key cog on a Rivermen team that was on a roll since the calendar flipped over from 2016 to ’17. The Rivermen went 9-1 in January and are 12-2-1 in 2017.

Didur said camaraderie drives the team’s success.

“From day one, from training camp and starting off the year, we’ve had a really close group,” Didur said. “Everybody’s really good friends. I’ve been playing junior hockey for four years, now, and I don’t think I’ve been on a team that’s as close as ours. It shows on the ice, that chemistry, when you’ve got such a tight knit group.”

Henderson said Didur is a likable, easy-going veteran who is part of the glue that keeps the team together.

“He’s a pretty happy-go-lucky kid and a good teammate,” Henderson said. “The guys really enjoy being around him. He’s one of the more popular kids, here.”

For Didur and his teammates, the end goal is the RBC Cup national title, the Holy Grail for junior A teams across the country.

Despite the BCHL being chock full of powerhouse teams including Wenatchee, Chilliwack, Penticton, and Victoria, Didur truly believes the Rivermen have the potential to be right in the mix.

“We’ve been playing really well and we’ve been taking down some of the big teams in the league,” Didur said.

“I think that’s given us the hope and the swagger we need going into the playoffs.

“We believe we can really go far if we put our minds to it.”