Two Ponoka athletes who thought their hockey career was over after Midget As have been given a chance to further their skills, and perhaps earn a place in a larger school hockey program.
Leeland Averill and Jared Davis both played for the Ponoka Wolves Midget A team last season and they both decided to try out for a triple A team recently. That decision proved to be astute for both of them: Davis and Averill are now part of the Alberta Hockey Thunder Triple A team.
Davis knew when they skated that it was the last tryout date three weeks ago for Alberta Thunder and he was unsure if he would make the cut, but it turns out the forward brought his best performance, which earned him a spot. He was pleased to see Averill make it, too.
“I pretty much knew Leeland was going to make it,” said Davis.
The two are long-time friends and both have played in Ponoka Minor Hockey together since they were young.
Averill, who is a goalie, was pleased to see they made it. “It was pretty exciting. Lots of opportunities to come.”
The first competition for Alberta Thunder will be at the Challenge Cup in Vancouver, B.C. from May 16 to 19. The tournament is a Triple AAA showcase for many young teams and gives players an opportunity to experience a higher level of competition.
The end of May brings another big challenge for Averill and Davis. Their team is heading to Toronto, Ont. to take part in the Prospect Tournament, which will be seen by scouts in different hockey programs around the country. Groups such as the WHL, AJHL and university coaches will attend.
This is another opportunity for Averill to continue playing a sport he loves.
“I just wanted to stay on the ice…This was my last year (at school) so I wasn’t ready for it to be over,” said Averill.
He looks forward to the tournaments and playing alongside Davis.
Davis received support from the Blueberry River First Nation, in British Columbia, where he is originally from. The group sponsored his trips to both tournaments.
“I’m pretty excited and nervous at the same time,” said Davis.
“It would be pretty cool to be picked up for a school or university team,” he added.