Kyle Pet­ten has a shot

Young puck­ster im­presses through skill, hard work

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

“Watch for the shot!” Those four words are some­thing Co­ley’s Point’s Kyle Pet­ten is go­ing to have to get used to hear­ing as his hockey ca­reer pro­gresses.

The 13-year-old mem­ber of the Tri Pen Ice ban­tam AAA team brings a bomb of a shot to ev­ery game he plays and teams are look­ing out for it.

It is the shot Kyle has be­come fa­mous for and some­thing he de­vel­oped over years of wrist­ing pucks in his par­ents’ base­ment.

Like Sid­ney Crosby and his leg­endary washer, the young ath­lete has been hon­ing his shot for years.

“That is some­thing he has al­ways done, and it isn’t strange to see him do it now,” said Ja­son, Kyle’s fa­ther.

Kyle’s favourite shot to per­form is the snap shot. He prefers it be­cause it is quick and pow­er­ful.

“It can catch goal­tenders guard,” he said.

It does not re­ally mat­ter which one he chooses. Whether it is the wris­ter or a slap shot, it is go­ing at the op­pos­ing goal­tender hard.

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Watch­ing him play

Watch­ing Kyle shoot is like watch­ing a young Phil Kes­sel. The Toronto Maple Leafs sniper is known for his quick re­lease while on the move. “It’s some­thing I work on,” he said. It is some­thing that has al­lowed Kyle to put up an im­pres­sive 22 points (13 goals and nine as­sists) in just 12 games of ac­tion in the provin­cial AAA ban­tam league.

That is good for an av­er­age of just un­der two points a game — 1.8 to be ex­act — and he has missed three games due to in­jury.

“(Kyle) works re­ally hard at the game,” said Ja­son.

Kyle is the son of Ja­son and Carolyn Pet­ten of Co­ley’s Point.

A cen­tre­man by trade, the young phe­nom is a plea­sure to watch. Reg­u­larly fac­ing dou­ble cov­er­age, Kyle ex­plodes when he finds a glim­mer of open ice.

With strides that pro­duce a mix­ture of speed and power, he is able to bury de­fend­ers with quick­ness or just phys­i­cally over match them.

“(Kyle) has an over­drive level that not ev­ery­one has,” said coach Nel­son Ben­nett.

When Kyle gets in the of­fen­sive zone, he is just as skilled at a toe-drag as he is at shoot­ing a puck like a rocket at the goal.

A lot gets made of his of­fen­sive game, but Kyle is just as adept in his own end.

While he would like to get bet­ter in the face-off dot, he has a nose for pick­ing up the high man on the back check, block­ing shots or help­ing his de­fence­men out in the cor­ners.

“(Kyle) will chase you to the can­teen,” said Ben­nett of his back-check­ing abil­i­ties.

A new chal­lenge

The provin­cial league has been a wel­come chal­lenge for Kyle. It rep­re­sents the first time in two sea­sons where he has had a reg­u­lar game to pre­pare for. “I re­ally like the league,” he said. Be­fore this sea­son, Kyle and his team­mates were re­signed to a weekly com­bi­na­tion of prac­tices and in­ter-squad games. When they’d go to tour­na­ments on the main­land, it was not common for them to play games against teams with 30-40 games played ver­sus their 16 con­tests.

“It al­lows me to work on my game,” said Kyle

Can’t teach de­sire

The shot and his speed are great as­sets, but Ben­nett men­tions Kyle’s de­sire as some­thing that sets him a part.

“(Kyle) wants to get bet­ter and be bet­ter,” he said.

Whether it is at the rink or in the gym, Kyle is striv­ing to im­prove ev­ery facet of his game. It is this de­sire that man­i­fests on the ice in the third pe­riod when the game is on the line and when his team needs a de­fen­sive stop.

It is also some­thing a player is born with. As the old say­ing goes, ‘you can’t teach de­sire.’ “It’s spe­cial,” said Ben­nett. At the re­cent At­lantic Chal­lenge Cup in Mont­con, N.B., Kyle was named the Hard Hat Award win­ner for this prov­ince’s un­der-14 en­try. It is an award given to the player deemed the best over­all contributor by team­mates. It ex­em­pli­fies hard work, lead­er­ship and team­work.

It is an award Kyle is proud to have re­ceived and rep­re­sents an at­ti­tude he takes to the ice ev­ery game.

“I like to lead by ex­am­ple,” he said.

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

Kyle Pet­ten is the lead­ing scorer for the Tri Pen Ice ban­tam AAA team.

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