Two St. Clements boys’ hockey skills are now being recognized at the provincial level, each recently having been drafted into the Ontario Hockey League.
Brayden Hislop, 15, was drafted by the Owen Sound Attack, while Jaxson Murray, 15, was picked by the Sarnia Sting.
Hislop, a defenceman who shoots left, was taken in the ninth round (166th). Murray, who plays the left wing and shoots right, was taken in the 14th round (269th).
Perhaps not coincidentally, the two are cousins who’ve been playing the sport together since they were just four years old, their athletic journey having now spanned more than a decade. They both started at Learn to Skate in the St. Clements arena from 2007 to 2008. Their passion for hockey grew from there.
“We got into hockey through our family,” said Murray. “We grew up in the game, and then started to play as we got older.”
Following their Learn to Skate lessons, the two played the initiation program at Twin Centre Hockey minor hockey from 2008-2010, a program they spoke highly about. From 2010 to 2012, they played novice.
“They started here in Twin Centre in St. Clements, and they have an excellent initiation program, for ages four, five and six,” said Shelley Hislop, Brayden’s mother. “They have a great development program, and then they moved to Waterloo for Triple-A.”
Both played on the Waterloo Wolves Triple-A hockey team from 2012 to 2019, with each league entered increasing in difficulty.
The pair did not get to this point by accident, as it took relentless training and a real dedication to the sport to succeed. The duo practiced five days a week for several hours to hone their craft and attributed their success to working continuously to achieve their goals.
“It’ll be higher-pace,” said Brayden, on his expectations for the upcoming league. “The game keeps on getting better as you go into higher leagues. It’s going to be challenging for sure.”
In addition to a brand-new hockey league, this will be the first time in some 12 years that they will be playing for separate hockey teams.
“It’ll be a change; I’ve played with him ever since I started playing hockey,” said Brayden. “We were always together; car rides to the games, change room after the games. Even on the ice we’d connect and score some goals together.”
While they may not get the chance to play as much hockey together if all goes well, they will get the opportunity to practice together over the summer months.
“The training camps for their teams that draft them are in August,” said Shelley. “They’ll be working out and getting ready for that all summer. And then see what next year brings.”
The pair has no plans of slowing down in the future, and will continue “as far as [they] can go” in the sport.