Representing the province
Cape Breton sledge hockey players to play in national tournament with Team Nova Scotia
When Team Nova Scotia hits the ice for the first time ever at the Canadian sledge hockey national championships in Quebec next week, the team will have a Cape Breton feel to it.
Five local sledge hockey players from the island will represent the province on this year’s team, including Kurtis Deveaux of Glace Bay, Cory MacKinnon of Dominion, Thomas Odo of New Waterford, as well as Sam Meehan and Jennifer Pearcey, both of New Campbellton.
The five players each play with the Cape Breton Sledgehammers sledge hockey team, which was formed by Deveaux and his father, Steve, in 2009.
Deveaux, 28, was proud to be named to the provincial team.
“I think anyone who plays a sport has dreams of reaching as high a level as possible,” said Deveaux. “With this only being the second year of this tournament, I can’t say I really considered the possibility of ever competing at something of this caliber, but now that I know it exists, it’s definitely something I’m extremely excited about.”
“Getting to put on that jersey will be amazing,” he said. “I hope we can show the rest of the country how well we play this sport on the East Coast.”
The tournament will run May 12-14 in Boucherville, P.Q., featuring teams from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.
The event was first hosted last year in Leduc, Alberta., but Team Nova Scotia didn’t participate, making this year’s tournament special for those playing on the Nova Scotia team.
Odo, a forward for the team, has high hopes for the club.
“I think it’s safe to say the
goal is to go there and win it all,” said the 18-year-old. “We’re going to go out each game and play hard. I think we’re a gritty team with a lot of heart and skill.”
Team Nova Scotia will open the tournament on Friday at 2 p.m. against Team British Columbia. Later in the day, the Nova Scotians will play Team Ontario at 7 p.m. The remainder of the schedule will be determined on results from Friday’s action, however Team Nova Scotia is guaranteed four games.
Deveaux understands the team will be up against strong competition at the tournament.
“On paper we have what looks like a good team. We’ll see how we come together as a team,” said Deveaux. “Hopefully we’ll make some noise, but if we don’t that’s OK too. It will give us an idea of what we have to work on for next year.”
Regardless of the result, Odo said he’s privileged to be able to play on the provincial team with his fellow Cape Bretoners.
“I’m lucky to have had the chance to play with them for years at home,” he said. “They are all great teammates and I’m glad we get to share this experience together and are looking forward to this amazing opportunity.”
For more information on the tournament visit the website www.hockeyluge.ca or Facebook by searching Canadian Sledge Hockey Championships Quebec 2017.
Kurtis Desveaux of the Cape Breton Sledgehammers sledge hockey team watches the play during game action at the Canada Games Complex in Sydney in this file photo from April. Desveaux is one of five players from Cape Breton representing Team Nova Scotia at the Canadian Sledge Hockey Championships next week in Boucherville, Que.