GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With the NHL not participating in the upcoming Olympics in Beijing, a lot of other hockey players are getting the chance of a lifetime, including some former Grand Rapids Griffins like Pat Nagle.

Nagle, a goalie, said the path to the Olympics was “wild.”

“Couple lists got published early on and your name gets thrown out a little bit, and all of a sudden, you’re like, ‘Oh, well, that’d be pretty neat,'” Nagle said. “You never know it could actually happen until probably a month ago…”

He said getting word that he was headed to Beijing was “awesome.”

“You’re excited but you don’t realize the ramifications,” he said. “I would say it started setting in once I made that first phone call to my parents.”

Nagle played for Ferris State University and then spent several years in various ECHL and AHL teams, including the Griffins. He said he was looking forward for the opportunity to represent his country on the world stage.

The U.S. is taking three goalies to the games. There has been no word yet of who will be starting.