Inline hockey’s golden boy
Time to bash that ball around
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.