LABRADOR CITY, N.L. — For many young athletes, it’s a thrill to visit another province to take part in a competition, but for 15-year-old Brody Chatman of Labrador City, the most recent tournament was held in the Czech Republic.
“I’ve played hockey in the (United) States, but this is the first time I’ve travelled to Europe,” he told The Aurora.
An amazing accomplishment as Chatman has been playing competitive ball hockey for just three years.
But Chatman wasn’t the only face from Labrador West playing for the Canadian team in the Czech Republic.
Nick Sexton and Mark Hillier, also from Labrador City were part of the team which had just over 20 members; about half were from this province, including a coach.
Chatman said at times he, Sexton and Hillier were on the same line for Canada, which was an awesome thing.
Chatman is the only one of the three players who was in Labrador City after the tournament.
“We played five games, going against Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the USA and Canada West which had its own team,” he said. “The teams were well matched, we won three of the five games, and one of our losses was in overtime.”
For his part Chatman had a goal and two assists in the tournament.
“I’m happy with that,” he told The Aurora. “Even though we only got together as a team for several practices before the actual tournament started, but we really bonded and we played well as a team.”
He also pointed out that some of the teams like Great Britain play year round, where many of the Canadians (like himself, Sexton and Hillier) spend a big part of the year playing hockey.
The tournament was also a time to make friends and hang out with other team members. Language sometimes could be a bit of a barrier, according to Chatman, but they did become friends with the team from Great Britain.
There was also some time for sightseeing.
“It’s a beautiful country, and lots of history, with many old and amazing structures,” he said, and Czech food was on the list as well.
Overall Chatman says for him and the team it was an amazing experience.
“For me personally I think I’ve returned as a better person, I’ve learned skills, taken on responsibility, made new lifelong friends,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chatman, Sexton and Hillier will travel to the provincial ball hockey tournament in St. John’s starting the weekend of July 13 as part of Team Labrador.
For Chatman it’s also a chance to be picked for the provincial team that will go to the nationals in Fredericton later in July.
He said the experience in the Czech Republic has prepared them for the upcoming weekend and the nationals.
After the summer Chatman returns to the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Rockland, Ontario for another year.
“It’s been quite an experience to go to the World Tournament and I owe big thanks to my family, my friends, team members, coaches, supporters and sponsors,” he said.
Final question from The Aurora: “Would you do it again?”
“In a heartbeat,” he said.