It was to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins almost half a lifetime ago.

“My second year of Pee Wee” he said.

That was the year he didn’t play hockey because his parents couldn’t afford the costs involved.

Thursday The Nuge signed a seven-year extension to his entry-level contract which will pay him $42 million.

“Obviously things have changed a lot.”

When you were a kid who couldn’t afford to play Pee Wee now a 20-year-old who could still play as an over-aged junior “it’s extremely surreal for my family” said the Burnaby B.C. product.

“As a kid it was pretty tough” he said of missing his second year of Pee Wee.

“I still skated a bit but it was tough not playing organized hockey. But I think it worked out for the best.”

He was asked if he’d thought of anything he wants to spend some of his big bucks on.

“Nothing has really jumped out at me yet.”

He says he can’t see Hall Eberle or himself letting their careers get derailed because they’re suddenly very rich.

“I don’t think any of us are really worried about it too much. Once you get out on the ice you kind of forget about that stuff.”

Actually The Nuge has known this day was coming for a whole year. Along with just about everybody else in Edmonton.