Greg Carroll was getting a bit of practice on his bass in his garage in High River, Alta. Thursday.
“I’ve been a professional musician since I was 16 years old,” Carroll said, putting aside his instrument to talk about a big surprise that had just come his way.
“I got this letter in the mail, addressed to Greg Carroll in High River,” Carroll said. “And it’s a hockey card of Greg Carroll.”
That Greg Carroll was a player in the National Hockey League in the late 1970s, playing for the Detroit Red Wings, the Washington Capitals and the Hartford Whalers.
The envelope also contained a letter, which read: “Hi Greg. Could you please sign my hockey card. I’m a big Red Wings fan.”
The envelope had been sent by Kevin Oliver, an avid hockey fan in Richmond, B.C.
Since 1998, Oliver has been sending off hockey cards to be signed, getting back hundreds of them — many from some pretty big names like Jarome Iginla, Henrik Sedin and Patrick Roy.
“It’s a fantastic hobby,” Oliver said. “Definitely beats getting bills in the mailbox. When you get a couple of signed hockey cards, it brightens the week.”
Getting the Greg Carroll card in the mail was a memorable moment for the musician of the same name.
“When I pulled this card out, it was like déjà vu, like oh my God,” Carroll said. “I had this card, the same card — when I was a kid, of course — because how many Greg Carroll hockey players are there in the world, right?”
Eager to help Oliver, Carroll enlisted his 19-year-old son Lukas in an online quest to connect the player on the card with the collector in B.C.
“I just felt bad for him, because it ended up in the wrong hands and I just wanted to help him out,” Lukas Carroll said, adding that so far his search of Facebook, Instagram and other social media hasn’t turned up any sign of the NHL Greg Carroll.
Oliver says he’s grateful for the Carroll family’s help.
“I’m just amazed. I thought, you know, they might write back ‘Sorry, wrong Greg Carroll,’ Oliver said. “Their generosity, just taking the time to do it, I’m just really happy.”
While the search continues, Oliver can at least count on receiving one thing from Greg Carroll the musician: a signed poster of his band.
“Give him some swag and hopefully a signed card,” Carroll said. “And hopefully that will make his day better.”