Ben­nett well-ad­justed in Que­bec

Zachary Ben­nett turn­ing heads in Que­bec

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Bay Roberts’ Zachary Ben­nett is hav­ing suc­cess at Bishop’s Col­lege School in Sher­brooke, Que. He is hold­ing good grades in school and was bumped to the var­sity squad hockey team af­ter just one month with the school’s prep team.

There are times when Bay Roberts’ Zachary Ben­nett does not have event a spare mo­ment to think about home while at­tend­ing Bishop’s Col­lege School.

He’s up at 7 a.m. ev­ery morn­ing when he gets ready and heads to class at the pres­ti­gious school in Sher­brooke, Que. From the mo­ment he gets to the school, Ben­nett is in con­stant mo­tion.

He takes classes un­til the af­ter­noon fol­lowed by hockey prac­tice, and then he hits the gym. If that wasn’t enough, Ben­nett has to study at night.

For the times when he feels a bit home­sick, he leans back in the dark chair lo­cated in his dorm room and gazes at the bul- letin board on the wall above his desk. There he finds pic­tures from home.

There he sees his cousins, his friends and his par­ents look­ing back at him.

“It’s nice to have,” said Ben­nett. “It gives you that feel­ing of home. It makes it a lot eas­ier.”

If that wasn’t enough, he rooms with fel­low New­found­lan­der Liam Leonard of Clarenville. Co­in­ci­den­tally, Ben­nett and Leonard played to­gether at the provin­cial AAA ban­tam level with the Tri Pen Ice.

“It’s great to see a friend here,” he said. “There’s a com­fort­ing feel­ing there. The first week was the tough­est. You just count down the days un­til you’re home.”

Ben­nett ar­rived at Bishop’s Col­lege School in early Septem­ber with aims of turn­ing his abil­ity on the ice into a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion. By all ac­counts, the young man is do­ing just that.

Through three months, Ben­nett is keep­ing good grades, has put him­self on the ef­fort list, which is a form of hall pass that al­lows you to study wher­ever you like, and is work­ing to­wards the bronze Duke of Edin- burgh award by do­ing school tours with prospec­tive fam­i­lies.

“I really enjoy it be­cause it’s nice to meet all of the new peo­ple and po­ten­tial stu­dents that could be one of your friends next year,” said Ben­nett. “When you’re work­ing at school, it’s OK. School is tougher here. French is a strug­gle, but I’m get­ting the hang of it.”

Prep to var­sity

Ar­riv­ing on cam­pus, Ben­nett pro­filed as a de­fence­man with the school’s prep team. With his big shot, abil­ity to han­dle the puck and make the first pass out of his zone, he moved up the depth chart and was named an as­sis­tant cap­tain on the prep team.

“I didn’t ex­pect to get a let­ter,” he said. “Es­pe­cially not in my first year when oth­ers had been here four years. It was awesome. I was ex­cited to play prep.”

Speak­ing of big shots, the six­foot, 190 pound young­ster snapped three sticks — two of which were his own — dur­ing his first week­end with the team.

“It’s kind of my call­ing card,” Ben­nett said with a laugh. He snapped 14 last sea­son with the Ice. “That’s my trade­mark.”

How­ever, stay­ing with the prep team full time wasn’t in the cards. A month af­ter skat­ing with the prep squad, Ben­nett was bumped to the var­sity or un­der-18 team.

“It’s a lot of hockey,” he said. “I didn’t ex­pect to be bumped up so quick.”

“We’re ob­vi­ously ex­cited to have Zack,” said Bishop’s coach Mike Couch. “He’s been a stand­out at the u-16 level. He plays to the level of com­pe­ti­tion.

“It’s a feather in his cap. He brings good lead­er­ship.”

A full tool­box

Couch sees Ben­nett as hav­ing a com­plete arse­nal of skills on the ice.

“He is an elite-level tal­ent,” said the coach. “His tool­box is full with all kinds of stuff. He has the heavy shot, his puck skills. At a young age, ev­ery­one wants to be flashy and some­times kids have to understand that less is more … I think chal­leng­ing Zack with the older group has really sim­pli­fied his game and has made him a bet­ter de­fence­man and more re­li­able and more de­pend­able be­cause it’s sim­pler.”

What might be most im­pres­sive is Ben­nett’s abil­ity to han­dle him­self in all sit­u­a­tions.

“(Zack) has a level of ma­tu­rity. It’s just the way he han­dles him­self on and off the ice. He han­dles him­self very well.”

Be­ing at Bishop’s is not just about the hockey and the top­notch school­ing for Ben­nett. He looks at the ad­ven­tures he’s been af­forded just by be­ing a part of the team.

There have been tours of pro­fes­sional and col­lege rinks while on tour­na­ment trips with the team.

“It’s the ad­ven­tures you get to take that are pretty cool,” he said.

Ben­nett was driven be­fore get­ting to Bishop’s and con­tin­ues to be since his ar­rival there. The tours of the big rinks have only fur­ther mo­ti­vated him to reach his full po­ten­tial.

“I told the boys, ‘ Imag­ine play­ing here when this place is full of fans?’ You look around and say, ‘I want this.’

“I want ev­ery piece of it.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS

Bay Roberts’ Zachary Ben­nett is al­ready play­ing with the var­sity team at Bishop’s Col­lege School in Sher­brooke, Que.

Zachary Ben­nett is shown in ac­tion with Bishop’s Col­lege School ear­lier this year.

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