Skat­ing with the IceCaps

Car­bon­ear youth gets ex­pe­ri­ence of a life­time

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

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.

ST. JOHN’S ICECAPS

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.

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