In the midst of all the fathers making the “Dads Trip” for the Carolina Hurricanes is a familiar looking, if younger face.
It’s Ric Alves, the fraternal twin of Jorge Alves, the Canes’ equipment manager who became the talk of the NHL after his appearance in net, for 7.6 memorable seconds, as the Carolina goaltender on New Year’s Eve.
Ric Alves likes to says he’s Jorge’s younger brother by, oh, two minutes. He looks so much like Jorge that Ric jokes, “If you just take Jorge and stretch him out a few inches, you’ve got me.”
Ric Alves is as stunned as the rest of the family, and many back in their hometown of Stoughton, Mass., by the sudden acclaim his brother has received.
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“I don’t think anybody thought it would blow up the way that it has, including Jorge,” Ric Alves said Friday at PNC Arena.
Blow up? Alves was featured on a Steve Hartman segment on the CBS News. There was a feature in Sports Illustrated. The New York Times mentioned him in a goalie story. Upper Deck is putting out a Jorge Alves “Young Guns” NHL rookie card.
The Canes ordered Jorge Alves T-shirts, with No. 40 and “ALVES” on the back, and many were sold.
Ric Alves said there were plans in Stoughton for his brother to be grand marshal in the Fourth of July parade.
“Everyone in town is supportive of him,” Ric said. “It’s not a huge town. Everyone kind of knew us growing up and anyone who has ever met my brother, he makes an impact on you, you know. They really like him because he’s so genuine.”
Like Jorge, Ric Alves played youth hockey. While Jorge was in net, Ric was a defenseman.
“Growing up I was always the goalie’s brother,” Ric said. “Then I became the equipment guy’s brother. Now, I’m the goalie’s brother again.”
Ric smiled, saying, “We’ll see what’s next. Maybe next time I’ll be the movie star’s brother.”
Ric Alves, a carpenter in Stoughton, said Jorge called the afternoon of Dec. 31 to say goalie Eddie Lack was sick and that he would be dressing out that night against Tampa Bay. A former minor-league goalie, Jorge helps out in net in many Canes practices. But this would be a game.
“I said, ‘Wow that’s great,’” Ric said.
Ric Alves said he was not able to see the telecast of the game, listening to Chuck Kaiton’s radio call over the ‘Net. So he didn’t actually see Jorge putting on his mask and taking the ice late in regulation, becoming a goaltender of record in the NHL, making his debut, albeit brief.
“It was crazy when he went in,” Ric said. “The phones went nuts. I couldn’t believe it. I thought he had signed an emergency contract where he could only go in if something happened to Cam Ward. I didn’t realize it was a professional tryout contract. For him to go in, that was pretty awesome.”
Ric Alves, 37, said he’s stepping in for their father on the “Dads Trip” to Columbus and Washington, noting their father doesn’t travel very much. He also joked that it’s probably a good thing for the Canes, in that his father has always demanded that both sons receive equal treatment.
“If my Dad had been my brother’s agent, they would have had to sign me for a day, too,” Ric Alves said, laughing. “That’s the way it was growing up. He’d have said, ‘If you need a goalie, you have to take a defenseman.’”
CAROLINA HURRICANES AT COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
When: 5 p.m., Saturday
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio.