Ball hockey boys ready to roll


Matthew Thomey, coach of the host boys’ ball hockey team, would like to have a bit more than 10 weeks to get his squad ready for the 2012 New­found­land and Summer Games. But they will be ready, he says.

The boys’ ball hockey com­pe­ti­tion runs Aug. 18-21.

“I don’t think it will be a great detri­ment to the team,” he said. “No one is go­ing to roll over us.”

When the Har­bour Grace-Car- bon­ear rep­re­sen­ta­tives held its first prac­tice as a team last week at the S.W. Moores Memo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace, it was one of the first times Thomey had the op­por­tu­nity to gauge the com­plete skill level of his squad.

“It’s re­ally the first chance for me to get up here and get a look at what I’m work­ing with,” he said. “It’s good to see them on the big surface be­cause the gym is a bit smaller.”

Even with­out hav­ing much of an op­por­tu­nity to get his team out for some runs on the host rink, Thomey and his staff, which in­cludes coach Daniel Sparkes and man­ager Nick Saun­ders, be­lieve they have a strong group of ath­letes.

Thomey specif­i­cally noted the run­ning prow­ess of his team.

“I was re­ally im­pressed with the speed that they showed,” he said.

Watch­ing the team prac­tice, the speed of the ath­letes was ev­i­dent, and is sure to be a strength go­ing for­ward.

Speed is a big part of any hockey, and this group has it in spades.

There are a cou­ple of older play- ers on the team, Grade 10 stu­dents at Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate, who were able to sneak in un­der the age limit of 15.

“We’ve got some players with hard shots, and we have hard work­ers. So, we’re con­fi­dent that we can com­pete,” said Thomey.

First team se­lected

The team was the first se­lected by the host re­gion.

“As a host re­gion, we have a very small pool of ath­letes to pick from, and it is good to know that ball hockey has a full team,” said David

to be Kennedy, who is direc­tor of sports and of­fi­cials for the Games.

Each of Thomey, Sparkes and Saun­ders have pre­vi­ous Games ex­pe­ri­ence, and it is some­thing they are look­ing to pass on to the team.

Thomey and Sparkes were part of the Con­cep­tion Bay North ball hockey team that cap­tured gold at the 2000 summer games in Mount Pearl, while Saun­ders brought home the bronze medal at the 1988 games, also in Mount Pearl.

The three each brought their medals in an ef­fort to pro­vide in­spi­ra­tion to their young charges.

Saun­ders has fond mem­o­ries of the “whole ex­pe­ri­ence” with the ath­lete’s vil­lage, get­ting to know dif­fer­ent peo­ple and mak­ing new friends.

“We’re telling them to get the most out of it, and to have fun,” said Saun­ders.

Thomey said his team had the lux­ury of pre­par­ing for an en­tire year be­fore the start of the Games, but the skills he learned dur­ing that time still res­onate with the ath­letes he will be guid­ing into the Games this summer.

“We’re cer­tainly go­ing to try and in­cor­po­rate a lot of what we learned into the team,” he said.

Home-field ad­van­tage

Thomey be­lieves one sure ad­van­tage in the cor­ner of the host team will be hav­ing ac­cess to the sta­dium where the Games are be­ing con­tested.

Most teams will be do­ing the ma­jor­ity of its prac­tic­ing in gym­na­si­ums 10 or 20 feet shorter than the sta­dium in Har­bour Grace.

“Once you get go­ing in a gym, you go 10 yards and you have to slow down again be­cause you’ll hit the wall,” said the coach. “We don’t have to worry about that up here.”

Thomey sees his team be­ing able to take ad­van­tage of the ex­tra space, use its speed and push the pace.

“They’re re­ally quick, blue-line to blue-line, and the fact that we have this at our dis­posal is go­ing to be a big ad­van­tage to us,” he said.

Thomey said his goal over the next cou­ple of months will be to make sure the team is work­ing hard at prac­tice and out­side of prac­tice.

“We’ve got a lot of games in two or three days and we have to make sure they’re pre­pared for that,” he said.

A list of players:

nmercer@cb­n­com­ • Bran­don Lynch — Har­bour Grace, age 15, par­ents are Dave and Wanda Lynch; • Zack Har­num — Car­bon­ear, age 14, par­ents are Vic­to­ria Har­num and Wayne Dun­phy; • Brian Tet­ford — Car­bon­ear, age 15, par­ents are Davis and Glo­ria Tet­ford; • Steven Hud­son — Vic­to­ria, age 15, par­ents are Karl Hud­son and Char­maine Case; • Ben­jamin Foote — Car­bon­ear, age 14, Keith and Faye Foote; • Kaiden Clarke — Car­bon­ear, age 14, par­ents are Lisa and Trevor Clarke; • Michael Han­cock — Car­bon­ear, age 14, par­ents are He­len and Blaine Han­cock; • Mitchell Ped­dle — Har­bour Grace, age 15, Terry and Lor­raine Ped­dle; • Con­nor Par­sons — Har­bour Grace, age 14, Niki and Greg Par­sons; • Ed­ward Don­nelly — Har­bour Grace, age 14, par­ent is Betty Mur­rin; • Justin Clarke — Perry’s Cove, age 13, par­ent is Kelly Clarke; • Ryan Slade — Salmon Cove, age 13, par­ent is Frank Slade; • Mark Ryan — Car­bon­ear, age 14, par­ents are Carolyn and Gerry Ryan; • Matthew Legge — Heart’s Con­tent, age 15, par­ents are Glen and Wanda Legge; • Kyle Jones — Har­bour Grace, age 14, par­ents are Ju­nior and Max­ine Jones.

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/the Com­pass

The host boys ball hockey team were the first host team fi­nal­ized and held its first prac­tice last week. Mem­bers of the team are: Front (l-r) — Con­nor Par­sons, Kaiden Clarke, Zack Har­num, Mark Ryan, and Justin Clarke; mid­dle — Matthew Legge, Kyle Jones, Ed­die Don­nelly, Mitchell Ped­dle, Ben­jamin Foote, Ryan Slade, Bran­don Lynch and Steven Hud­son; back — man­ager Nick Saun­ders, head coach Matthew Thomey and as­sis­tant coach Daniel Sparkes. The goal­tender (front) is Michael Han­cock. Miss­ing from photo is Brian Tet­ford.

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