Florida Panther’s Invitee, Goaltender Michael Houser Overcomes Birth Defect


Goaltender Michael Houser: Image Property of The Rat Trick

There are times when individuals must overcome adversity from many angles.  Whether it be monetary, medical, or physical, the odds can be severely against someone when they are stricken with any of these issues.  The work and dedication that athletes must endure is nothing like the issues and problems that many of us face in our daily lives.  Not only must they deal with their issue, but they consistently hear how “they won’t make it”.  This article is one of those stories about courage, determination, and the will to succeed,  that we hope has a happy ending.

Michael Houser is a 19 year old goaltending prospect that’s been invited to development camp with the Florida Panthers.  However he’s not just your regular 19 year old player looking for a shot at the big time.  But don’t let his condition sway you either.  If he makes it to the NHL it’s his performance that should be the deciding factor.  Houser led the London Knights of the OHL to the Memorial Cup Finals this past season with an outstanding record of 46-15-1 in 62 regular season games with six shutouts.  In 19 playoff games, Houser’s record was 16-3-0 with one shutout and a shiny .925 save percentage.  Houser also won the Red Tilson Trophy for the most outstanding player of the year in the OHL, and  was named the goaltender of the year, in addition to being a first team All-Star.  A stellar resume for a young netminder who has had to overcome a deformity that many of us would not have been able to.

Houser who many felt would never be able to play hockey at a high level has overcome all odds and has made a name for himself with his perserverance despite his unusual birth defect.  Houser basically was forced to play goal since he was born with bilateral club feet.  The condition required 16 separate surgeries during the first three years of his life.  Despite the odds that would appear to be against him, Houser with the help of trainer Jeremy Hoy, has devleoped into an outstanding prospect who is just looking for a chance to show that he belongs.

Despite his foot deformity, Houser worked at his skating since he was a toddler and found himself to be attached to the position of goaltending which has seemed to work out quite well for him.  Here’s a video about Michael that will give you some additional insight about him.

Houser knows that the odds for making it in the NHL most likely are against him, but it doesn’t appear to have stopped him from working hard on his dream.  If you go to the scrimmage today, make sure you play close attention to # 31.  In a quote from TribLive, Houser has a special message for anyone who thinks that this deformity might prevent him from making it:

“The game isn’t played on land,” he said. “You don’t have to be able to run to be a good goalie. It was the hand I was dealt. I’m dealing with it as best I can.”

We wish Michael all the best and hope that he will be able to make his dream of playing in the NHL become a reality.

Thanks for reading.  We welcome your comments and opinions.

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