PORTLAND -- Taylor Peters apparently doesn t need the water to be frozen to perform brilliant, heroic actions.
On New Year s Day, the Winter Hawks forward had just finished dinner with the family that houses him during the hockey season. Then, a relaxing day of watching football turned on a dime.
The screams came from the opposite bank of the Willamette, and Peters wasn t sure what to think.
It s New Year s Day, people are out having a good time, so I didn t know, he said.
But it didn t take long for him to figure out, this wasn t your average New Years reveler.
We jumped in the kayaks, took off in their direction and I heard the man calling and got there first, he said, recalling the dramatic river rescue that would ensue.
I m not an experienced kayaker, he admitted, but I m good enough, I was able to get across in two or three minutes.
And not a minute too soon. A distressed kayaker had capsized and might have drowned if not for Taylor and a family member with whom he lives.
I think it s instinctual, he said. You hear someone in trouble and it s either, 'I m going to help this person, or someone else will help them. We decided to be proactive about it.
Peters pulled the man into his kayak and brought him to a dock where Coast Guard members were standing by. Taylor never got the last name of the man he saved and he s not expecting to be feted for his heroics.
He was very thankful, Peters said, He was overjoyed that he was ok. That s all I really needed to hear. But Peter s week was only just beginning.
From the river to the rink, he did it all, performing an on-ice rescue as well. On Tuesday, he lifted the Hawks to a win over Moose Jaw with a goal in overtime.
Yeah, it s been a good year so far, he joked.
A year, which never would ve had a chance to start, for a man Peters barely knows.