Family vacations are often when memories are made.
For the Fowler family from Sherwood Park, Alberta, that certainly was the case after their recent trip to Southern California. The 10-year-old member of the clan, Cam, got to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios and even meet his favorite NHL player ... who just so happens to be named Cam Fowler.
That’s right. Little Cam had the chance to hang out with big Cam, the Anaheim Ducks defenseman.
“I guess I was a little caught off guard at first” the Ducks blueliner says of first hearing that he would meet his namesake. “It’s not every day you meet someone who has the exact same name as you.”
The pair first encountered each other after a practice in Anaheim. Little Cam was in a crowd of kids in the locker room. Big Cam scanned the group, trying to figure out which one was the guest of honor.
“The idea kind of backfired on me, because I was going to see if I could figure it out, but he was wearing my jersey and he was the only one,” Fowler jokes. “So, I kind of figured that was him. It was more just to break the ice a little bit. When kids meet a player they look up to, I know they can be a little shy and nervous at the start, so I just wanted to throw out a little joke and make him feel comfortable.”
Big Cam recalled a similar experience when he found himself face to face with his favorite hockey player. Growing up in the Detroit area, his idol was Nicklas Lidstrom, and when Fowler about 12 years old he actually got to meet the great Red Wings defenseman.
“I try not to forget about that [experience],” Fowler says. “I’m obviously no Nick Lidstrom—but sometimes you run into kids that look up to you, so I was trying to take the time to talk to them a bit. I just realized how much it meant to me when I was younger, so I tried to do the same ... That’s one of the things I thought of when [little Cam] said he wanted to come meet me, because it was around the same age that I got to meet Lidstrom. I remember how cool it was for me and such an experience for me to do that.”
Fowler said he still has two signed sticks from Lidstrom that he keeps in his California home. After visiting the Honda Center, Little Cam will be bringing back some swag too.
According to the 10-year-old, he received a signed Cam Fowler jersey, a stick and some “media stuff.”
“I was nervous meeting him,” Little Cam says. “He’s cool and seemed pretty nice.”
Little Cam remembers when he first realized there was another Cam Fowler out there in the world. The 10-year-old opened a pack of hockey cards and saw an NHL defenseman with his name. Little Cam’s father, Chris, says when Big Cam was drafted in 2010, Chris received lots of messages. “Cam’s draft year is a long way off though,” he jokes.
The kid Cam also got some advice from the NHLer in the form of tips on playing one-on-one defense. Big Cam noted that when he was younger his coaches would point out his bad habit of not keeping his stick on the ice.
“I told him if there was one thing to remember it was that, because you will be able to deflect passes and block shots,” Big Cam says. “He’s young, he’ll figure that out eventually.”
The meeting between the Cams happened thanks to Edmonton Oilers play-by-by announcer Jack Michaels. Michaels’s son plays on the Hawks Tier 6 Atom minor league hockey team. Chris Fowler is an assistant coach and Michaels was able to connect the Fowler family with the Ducks.
“It was a tremendous experience and it was fantastic for the Ducks to take an interest and let a young guy like Cam meet a pro,” Chris says. “Every kid that plays hockey, even if it isn’t his dream of playing pro hockey, it’s always a dream to meet a pro.”
Despite being fans of the local Oilers, Chris says the family will now be rooting for the Ducks as they head into the playoff push.
Big Cam says he hopes to keep in contact with the Fowlers and maybe see them in Edmonton.
“I just want them to know how nice it was meeting them and it was a pleasure for me,” he says. “And that they are always welcome back, but I know they know that.”