Skating with the IceCaps
Carbonear youth gets experience of a lifetime
Tristan Jenkins’ first couple of strides at Mile One Centre were a bit shaky, at best.
The seven-year-old Carbonear resident held a St. John’s IceCaps flag that was a bit too tall and a red-blue-white home jersey that was a bit too big, but he quickly found his groove.
His strides got smoother and his balance improved as he got midway around the rink, passing the penaly boxes across from where Tristan had started.
As Ozzy Osbourne’s jock rock classic “Crazy Train” blared over the loud speakers and the IceCaps’ pre-game light show blazed across the fresh sheet of ice and bounced off his white helmet, Tristan was the Scotia Skater for the Apr. 15 American Hockey League matchup between the St. John’s IceCaps and the Hartford Wolfpack.
By the end of his excited lap around the ice, the pre-novice member of the CeeBees Minor Hockey Association in Harbour Grace got to take his post at the end of the IceCaps’ bench and greet each player prior to the start of the game.
Holding his fist out, Tristan got bumps and taps on the helmet from some 20 pro hockey players and listened as the Canadian anthem was sang.
“It felt good,” he told The Compass last week. “I was pretty excited.”
The opportunity came for Tristan when his mother, Sabrina, entered his name for the opportunity to skate via social media.
A couple of weeks prior to the game, her phone rang. It was the IceCaps on the other end.
They wanted Tristan to carry the flag on the last home weekend of the season.
“When we told him he was hopping around the kitchen and saying, ‘I’ve waited for this my entire life,’” said Sabrina.
Prior to stepping on the ice at Mile One Centre, Tristan pulled the IceCaps jersey over his head and tied his skates just right.
A member of the teams ice crew remarked that the jersey was a little too big.
“Tristan told him, ‘It wouldn’t be too big when I’m an IceCap,’” said Sabrina.
Keeping it quiet
Keeping information of this magnitude under your cap can be a daunting task.
Especially for a young hockey player aching to tell his friends at school and the rink he’ll be sharing the ice with professional players.
Yet, that’s what Tristan had to do for a week after he received the news.
When the weeklong information embargo was lifted, Tristan made sure the news got around.
There were plenty of friends to tell at Carbonear Academy and the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace.
“(Tristan) went to hockey practice and all of his friends there,” said Sabrina.
“He asked is coach how he could not fall.”
When we told him he was hopping around the kitchen and saying, ‘I’ve waited for this my entire life.’ Sabrina Jenkins
Hearing the anthem
Tristan is a big fan of the national anthem and how it’s used during sporting events.
He’s just started learning ‘O, Canada’ in school and spends plenty of time on YouTube watching clips.
So, to say it was a big deal for him to hear it from ice level might be a bit of an understatement. As for the experience itself? “(Tristan) hasn’t stopped talking about it,” said Sabrina.
Carbonear’s Tristan Jenkins (right) holds the flag of the St. John’s IceCaps while he stands next to team captain Gabriel Dumont prior to the team’s game against the Hartford Wolfpack on April 15.