Two young hockey brothers from Parksville, Haiden Robinson, 8, and Dakine Robinson, 7, have spent many hours travelling from Vancouver Island to the Mainland and back since September to March of this year.
It can be a tiring prospect but it’s all part of developing their hockey skills.
They have been attending a High Performance League that featured the top 48 players in the 2011 age group and the top 24 players in the 2012 age group in British Columbia that compete against each other weekly. They got the opportunity to play for the Vancouver Vipers and the Langley Rivermen and won medals with them from Pacific Spring Showcase and the Pacific Elite Prospects tournaments in Vancouver.
In December, the HPL program held tryouts for the 2011 age group to attend one of two tournaments in either Toronto or Chicago. Haiden was selected to join the team that will be attending the Brick Series in Chicago from June 6-9 with the HPL team that comprised of kids from all over British Columbia and Washington State.
The Brick Series event is a buildup tournament to one of Haiden and Dakine’s current goals, which is to play for Team BC at the Brick Tournament in Edmonton that will have the top 9/10-year-olds in North America and Europe.
Parents Sheldon and Joy Robinson do not mind the onerous ferry trips as they know the program the boys are in will help them grow in hockey.
“We understood that without challenge there is no growth and that the balance between both was needed if the kids wanted to continue to grow and have fun with hockey,” said Sheldon. “We decided to enter both boys in HPL because it became very apparent at a young age that as much as we loved Parksville and the community, they were excelling at hockey and were not going to be challenged regularly on Vancouver Island and particularly in Parksville.
“This is not to say there is not other great hockey players on the Island and Parksville but the difference is that with HPL you end up with 12 of them on your team that you get to develop and play with weekly instead of facing off against one or two of these top-level kids every couple of months at tournaments.”
Robinson said the development of youth athletes in any sport, “is a marathon and not a sprint.”
“That is a large focus for HPL as it was created as a development outlet for the kids that excel and need more than minor hockey could offer them,” said Robinson.
Dakine, who is at an age when most children are limited to playing half-ice hockey, has rapidly excelled in his inaugural year as he already advanced to full-ice hockey games.
He will join the Western Canada Sting that will compete in the North American Hockey Classic in the Super Elite Level in Winnipeg, June 13-16.
The classic is known as one of the premier youth AAA hockey tournaments in North America.
The Tournament is located in Winnipeg and provides both male and female hockey players a chance to compete against the best players in Canada and the United States.