Two 15-year-old minor hockey players from Sylvan Lake will play for Hockey Alberta’s 2015 ATB Alberta Cup at the Canmore Recreation Centre April 29 to May 3.
Kale Seelen and Joshua McNeil gave it their all at tryouts last month and proved their on-ice playing capabilities. They were two of 160 players to stand out and be chosen out of over 700 players that attended the tryouts.
Both players are on the same team and are both playing forward positions for the developmental program that focuses on giving children the opportunity to play hockey with other players at a similar talent and ability level.
“I feel like I put all my effort out on the ice and I played the puck well,” Seelen said. “I made some nice plays. I stayed confident with the puck and I wasn’t going to give it away.”
McNeil feels he stood out because of his skating.
“I used my speed and blew past people,” he said.
He added he was surprised to be chosen out of so many players that tried out, but is thrilled to have been chosen to play on the team as he knows not many people get the chance to go the Alberta Cup.
“There were a lot of players there and a lot of good talents,” McNeil said. “I feel very privileged to go the the Alberta Cup in Canmore.”
Seelen said he was shooting pucks in his garage when he received the call from the director of operations Ian Tisdale asking him if he would be interested in playing for the team.
Without hesitation he accepted.
Seelen said that he is fulfilling his young ambitions of being a hockey player, and that being chosen to play for the Alberta Cup is a real confidence boost.
“I worked as hard as I could during the summer training for this year, and now making (the) Alberta Cup made everything even better,” Seelen said. “I’m very proud of myself and excited to be on the team.”
Both players have been playing hockey for the past 11 years, and both players say their overall goal is to win the tournament. But in addition to winning the game, both players want to learn.
“Of course (I want to) win the tournament with the team,” Seelen said. “(But I also want to) make new friends, have a few laughs along the way and learn some new things. I think it will be fun.”
“I think it’s going to be a good experience living without my parents and learning to live on my own for a bit,” he said. “I will be with friends, so I will have a little bit of help, but it will be a bit different without my parents.”
Both players know they will be entering a hockey atmosphere where players have to give it their all. In addition, they will have many fans watching their every move and cheering for them. But both players say that playing for the Alberta Cup is a great experience and good hockey.
“You have to put it all out there and throw your heart out on the ice, because there’s everyone watching you,” Seelen said. “As a young hockey player I would love to make it far and go to the Western Hockey League and get scouted. It’s been a dream of mine ever since I was super young to go the NHL. It’s going to be a great experience.”
McNeil is relishing the prospect of playing at such a high level.
“It’s a great event, and it’s probably some of the best hockey you will see at this age,” he said. “There are so many good players — it’s a higher level than anything I’ve ever seen or played at before, so it’s definitely a new experience.”