By Chris Lewis | The Pearl | Vol. 7 No. 3 (February 14 2019)
Two Mount Pearl hockey players are bound for Alberta with the Men’s Newfoundland Canada Winter Games team this week.
Zack Dean, 16, and Liam Marshall, 14, were both born out of the province, but are proud to be representing Newfoundland and Labrador in Red Deer for the Men’s U-16 Canada Winter Games this month. More specifically, they’re proud to be representing their home of Mount Pearl on a national level - something they see as a stepping stone to a bright future in the world of professional hockey.
The two are bound for Red Deer today, where they will have a couple days to practice for the week-long tournament that will pit them against some of the best players in their age-range from across Canada. This challenge is one of the main things the two players said they’re anticipating about the trip, noting that the higher level of gameplay is something they’re both looking forward to seeing firsthand.
“It’s definitely going to be a faster game of hockeyup there compared to what we’ve played here,” said Dean, who will be playing forward for the team.
“I’m looking forward to just getting up there and getting to play some high-level hockey. It’s going to be tougher, and that’s pretty exciting,” added Marshall.
Both players have a long history with hockey. Marshall, having been born in Calgary, first stepped onto the ice in a pair of hockey skates at the age of two-years-old. Twelve years later, he says the passion for the sport has been burning brightly ever since, and as the only under-ager on the team, he hopes to use this experience as a means of bettering his on-ice skills even further.
“It feels really good. There were a few of us who were asked to try out for the team, but I’m the only one that actually made it this far. That’s a pretty good feeling, for sure,” said Marshall.
Likewise, Dean is also no stranger to a hockey rink. The 16-year-old is currently based out of Toronto, where he plays for the Toronto Nationals, meaning he’s seen plenty of travel across the country over the last few weeks as he prepares to represent his home province at the Winter Games this year.
“I love the sport. Always have, and I always will,” said Dean, adding that opportunities like this one are not only once-in-a-lifetime, but also a great means of furthering his goal of making it big in the hockey scene. “Everyone has dreams like that. But you have to take it one step at a time and see what you can do with what you’re given.”
Both players are looking forward to getting to know their teammates.
“I think, since we all haven’t been playing together as a team up until now, we need to come together in these upcoming practices to get a feel for the team a little better,” Dean explained. “That’s how we’re going to find success up there, by understanding each other as players.”