Brady Marche of the Stephenville team makes his way with the puck towards the opposition zone while being chased by a St. John’s player during a round-robin game at the provincial bantam B hockey tournament at the Stephenville Dome back in April.
As far as wake-up calls go, there have definitely been worse.
Campbell’s Creek native Brady Marche didn’t quite buy the news his mother had for him when she burst into his bedroom early one morning about a week after mid-August tryouts for the Hockey Newfoundland Labrador High Performance Program’s U15 provincial hockey team.
“I didn’t believe her at first, knowing her,” said the 14-year-old son of Brian and Sherry.
He bounced out of his bunk and anxiously checked the website to see for himself. His mother wasn’t kidding, he’d made the team.
It was an outcome he hadn’t put much faith in, seeing as how it was his first time trying out and he didn’t feel he was previously well-known by the coaching staff.
“But, you never know,” said Marche, who came up through the ranks of the Stephenville Minor Hockey program and played as a first-year forward with the bronze-medal winning Western Kings of the provincial bantam AAA hockey league last season.
A centreman most of his hockey life, Marche began lining up at right wing for the Kings this past campaign. It was a bit of an adjustment process, but once he figured out the nuances of the position — particularly the constant stopping and starting — he began to settle in and simply play his game.
“Hitting ... love it,” he said, when asked what exactly he believes his “game” is.
“That’s what makes my game, really.”
He can also chip in on offence, especially, he said, by standing in front of the net and using his eye-hand coordination to deflect pucks out of the air.
“I’m not really scared of getting hit by the puck,” boasted the soon-to-be Grade 9 student at Stephenville High School.
It was back in the spring of the year when Marche attended the first identification camp for the U15 provincial program. From that group of what he guessed was over 80 players, the list was cut down to 46 for the Aug. 11-16 summer session. Then, following that, the coaches made the decision on who cracked the final 20-man roster.
Marche and his teammates — including Aaron Mercer of Corner Brook and Malcolm Genge of Anchor Point — will compete in the 2015 Atlantic Challenge Cup in Moncton, N.B. on Oct. 9-12.
Though scouts at that tournament will certainly be watching, the real goal will be for the kids to play well, improve and then, next summer, get back to business on making the U16 provincial team. The end goal is for players to continue through the process and earn the opportunity to suit up for Team Canada at the U17, U18 and U20 levels at national and world competitions.
In the meantime, Marche hopes to play for the bantam Kings again this upcoming season, with open tryouts slated for next Saturday and Sunday at the civic centre in Corner Brook for players born in 2001 or 2002 from the western region.
Being a returning player to the Kings and, now, a member of the U15 provincial team, doesn’t matter to Marche. He doesn’t feel he has an inside edge over anybody.
“There are no givens, really,” he said. “I just have to work hard.”