I really enjoy doing the weekly post called "Focus on a Thrasher." I've learned a lot about my team's players and had the chance to use some pictures. I have a very specific order in which I chose my players. I am super anal and OCD about following the sequence I came up with. I think I might have a contest at the end of the summer to see if anyone can figure out the order(it's kind of easy). I'm breaking the sequence (kind of) for Garnet Exelby this week. It's technically not breaking the sequence as it is a special edition of Focus on a Thrasher. At least that's what I tell myself so I can sleep at night.
This week we lost two Thrashers in a trade. I've already done the Focus on a Thrasher for Collin Stuart. Garnet was scheduled to be in a few weeks, but since he is no longer a Thrasher I thought I would do a special focus on him this week.
While Garnet was known in Atlanta for his tough play, hits and blocked shots, what made him the most fans was his off ice personality. He had tons of fans, but only one #1 fan, Gretchen, or "Gretchelby" as she calls herself. When the news came out that Ex had been traded, my first thought was "What is Gretch gonna do??" I wasn't the only one, Gretchen's Facebook was filled with people asking if she was okay. Gretchen has numerous jerseys, paraphernalia, and her car is covered in Exelby stickers. Exelby even gives her used equipment sometimes. Her latest treasure is a used helmet that he signed to her "to the best fan ever." When I first saw her I thought "that chick is kind of nuts." When I got to know her I found out she is one of the nicest most genuine people you will ever meet.
Another thing that Gretchen is known for is bringing signs to the games for Ex. She brings one to almost every single game, all for Ex.
So I'd like to dedicate this special edition of "Focus on a Thrasher" to my buddy Gretchen. With his personality, it's a given that Ex will have fans in Toronto, but he will NEVER have another Gretchelby.
Garnet Exelby was born on August 16, 1981 in Ste. Anne, Manitoba, but raised in Craik, Saskatchewan.
Ex began his career with the WHL's Saskatoon Blades in the 1998-99 Season.
After being drafted by the Thrashers in 1999, Exelby continued playing for the Saskatoon Blades for another 2 1/2 seasons.
Ex split the 2000-01 season. He played 43 games for the Saskatoon Blades and finished up the season by playing 22 games with the Regina Pats.
Ex spent most of the 2002-03 season with the Chicago Wolves but did get his first taste of NHL action when he was called up to the Atlanta Thrashers. Ex made his NHL debut on March 11 against the New Jersey Devils.
For the 2005-06 season Ex tied his career high with nine assists and 10 points in 75 games. He scored his second NHL goal against the Washington Capitals on April 17. Ex was third among the team's defensemen with 75 penalty minutes and he led the Thrashers with 125 hits. Ex played his 100th career game against Pittsburgh.
So there is the numbers on Ex. But, as previously mentioned, Ex's fans love him for his off-ice antics and personality as well so let's look at some of that.
Ever wonder what Ex and other players do on those long road trips out west? They try and kill each other of course. Well they try and kill each other in online games such as SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo, a tactical warfare game. Bryan Little, Eric Perrin, Colin Stuart and Boris Valabik teaam up against Colby Armstrong, Garnet Exelby, Rich Peverley and Todd White.
Get thee behind me, Satan!
The third time is a charm!
We will miss Ex for his tough play and bone crunching hits on the ice. What I will miss most though is his sense of humor, generosity in the community and never being afraid to make a joke at his own expense. Good luck with the leafs, Ex!