In­line hockey’s golden boy

Time to bash that ball around

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By SAM DUFF

A year ago Owen de Does, 10, had never skated on roller blades.

Now he com­petes with a top Wellington in­line hockey team.

The Tawa boy was tempted into the sport when the Hockey on Wheels pro­gramme vis­ited Hamp­ton Hill School late last year.

‘‘You get to bash the ball around, which makes it fun,’’ Owen said. ‘‘It takes some skill and you get to fall over.’’

It was not long be­fore Owen and his younger brother Ja­son, 9, were reg­u­lar at­ten­dees at Tawa’s out­door rink.

Owen said he brought good puck­han­dling skills to the sport and that was why he could play well.

By July, Owen was in the Rimu­taka Rene­gades un­der-10s team based in Up­per Hutt, the reign­ing na­tional age- group cham­pi­ons.

Two months later Owen’s mother, Da­lene, took him to New Ply­mouth, where the Rene­gades com­peted at the na­tional in­line hockey champs.

Owen said he was ner­vous at the begin­ning of the com­pe­ti­tion, but had a good amount of play­ing time.

The Rene­gades went un­beaten and were scream­ing and yelling when they won their age group, Owen said.

‘‘When we won, we went to the pool with the whole team and had fun there,’’ he said.

Mrs de Does said she and hus­band Ron had never owned roller blades un­til Owen took up the sport.

‘‘He spends a lot of time prac­tis­ing and we are very proud of how well he has done,’’ she said.

‘‘He had never even been on skates be­fore and they wanted him on the team. I didn’t know any­thing about skat­ing.’’

Owen said he spent Tues­day evenings at the Tawa pitch and Fri­days in Up­per Hutt with the Rene­gades.

Next year Owen will choose be­tween re­turn­ing to the Rene­gades or play­ing in a po­ten­tial new Tawa rep side.

Owen said Li Cunxin, oth­er­wise known as Mao’s Last Dancer, a Chi­nese bal­let per­former, was one of his role mod­els.

‘‘He kept prac­tis­ing and prac­tis­ing un­til he got re­ally good at what he was do­ing,’’ he said.

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