Kelby Martin and Tyler Moser won’t be attending their prom, but they’re pretty sure competing on the Canadian U18 Junior Ball Hockey team in Prague is a good tradeoff.
The Elmira teens were selected to be part of the squad last year when they were scouted while playing for their Kitchener team. They’ll be competing in the World Ball Hockey Federation Junior World Championships.
“Prom would be fun but I think this is an opportunity of a lifetime. It’s definitely worth it,” Martin said.
They were both invited to attend the prospect camp after scouts watched them compete in provincials last year.
“It was a 75-minute practice in the morning and then two games in the afternoon that were three 15-minute periods long. It was probably one of the hottest days of the summertime,” Martin said.
They leave for the Czech Republic this Friday and will be gone for 10 days.
They’ve been playing together since they were five years old and are usually are on the same line with Martin playing right wing and Moser playing left wing.
To prepare for the competition they’ve had a couple practices in different places with the team including two exhibition games in Oshawa and one in Midland.Also, “A lot of running, lots of jogging around town,” Moser notes.
They two also play together for the Elmira Junior Sugar Kings. They joined the Kitchener ball hockey team after a couple friends joined it so that they could play together for fun.
Finding out they’d be heading to Prague was pretty surreal.
“It was unreal. I didn’t believe it at first,” Martin said.
Moser added, “It was amazing. I got told right before a hockey game and then I went out and scored two goals that game, so I was pretty pumped.”
And they’re happy to shine a little spotlight on Elmira, since they’re two of only 18 players on the team.
“It brings attention to the town, which is awesome. Everyone was pumped. There was a lot of yelling and screaming,” Moser said.
Moser’s looking forward to seeing the city when they’re not busy competing, since Prague is often called one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And Martin’s excited to hang out more with the team.
“Our team’s looking pretty good. Canada’s known for our speed. We’re supposed to be able to beat everybody with our speed,” Martin said.
They’ve got quite the reputation to uphold, since the Canadian U18 Junior Ball Hockey team has brought home two gold medals and one silver since the championship was created in 2008. It runs every other year. The Canadian U16 Junior Ball Hockey team has earned two gold, one silver, and one bronze over the same time period.
“We’re not leaving until we come home with a gold medal around our necks,” Martin said.
You can follow the team online at www.isbhf.com.