With his newborn son Hunter in attendance, Ash Goldie exploded for a goal and two assists Saturday to spark the Wranglers to a 4-1 victory over Idaho at the Orleans Arena.
"It was his first game, so it was nice that we got a big win," Goldie said. "I wanted to have a good night, which I did, so that was pretty cool."
Goldie, who had a goal and an assist for Las Vegas (12-6-4) in Tuesday's 4-2 victory over Stockton (10-8-3), missed the Wranglers' first 17 games as he and his wife Nicole awaited the birth of their first child in Canada.
The couple's desire for Hunter to be born at home, in Aurora, Ontario, was the reason they returned to North America after Goldie, 30, spent the past three seasons playing in Europe and Asia.
Considerations for Hunter also led Goldie -- the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game Most Valuable Player -- to sign with Las Vegas over defending league champion Alaska, where he could've played alongside his older brother Wes Goldie, the reigning league MVP.
"I just figured with a newborn baby, it's cold up there all the time, it's dark and it's hard for your family to come visit you," he said.
Wranglers captain Mike Madill also was instrumental in luring Goldie to Las Vegas.
The veterans played together last season in Japan, where they forged a close friendship as the only two imports on the Asia League's Nippon Paper Cranes.
"One of the reasons I came here was I knew (Madill) was coming here," Goldie said.
Besides dealing with the language barrier and different style of hockey, Goldie and Madill lived in the same apartment building and discovered certain Japanese delicacies together.
"We'd go out and the boys would order a big pile of cow tongue," Goldie said. "They'd eat it like it was French fries.
"Japan was a big culture shock, but if you go there with an open mind and embrace the culture, it was an amazing experience."
The bond between Madill and the Goldies was strengthened when they hopped in a van together and headed for higher ground during the March earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, claiming 15,641 lives.
While everybody associated with their team escaped harm, it was a close call as the Cranes had lost a playoff series in Sendai -- the nearest major city to the earthquake's epicenter -- four days before the tsunami.
Goldie and Madill were in Kushiro, Hokkaido, located 656 miles from Sendai, when the disaster struck.
They were having coffee downtown when the shelves and coffee cups started shaking.
"We didn't think anything of it because there were earthquakes before it, but you don't think a tsunami's coming to wipe out the whole town," Goldie said. "That's like a movie."
Madill was in his apartment when he felt the tremors and, heeding the advice of a teammate, quickly contacted Goldie and soon thereafter headed for another teammate's mountain home.
When they returned to town, the Goldies, who lived on the first floor, took refuge with Madill in his third-floor apartment.
"We were together through all of it," Madill said.
They took a flight home four days after the tsunami hit.
"It was pretty scary for a couple days, but we managed to get out," Goldie said. "We were fortunate enough to be the lucky ones."
Back on firm footing with his family in Las Vegas, Goldie is focused on regaining his form on the ice after a long layoff.
"I'm feeling a lot better," he said. "I've got my legs under me, which makes a world of difference."
The Wranglers might also want to make sure Hunter Goldie has a ticket to the rest of their games this season.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354.