The calls came to John Slaney for more than two decades, typically right before Christmas. Canadian sports media outlets would request interviews, asking Slaney to wax nostalgic about what remains the highlight of his hockey career: his dramatic goal against the Soviet Union on Jan. 4, 1991, which earned Canada a gold medal at the world junior hockey championships.
The goal created high N.H.L. expectations for Slaney, an 18-year-old defenseman who had been the ninth overall pick by the Washington Capitals in the draft six months earlier.
But Slaney never had an N.H.L. moment to surpass his junior triumph. Now 44, he is finally enjoying his first full N.H.L. season — as an assistant coach for the Arizona Coyotes.