A local hockey player is taking his talents overseas in 2019.
Josh Kennedy is a Grade 10 student at Carbonear Collegiate. At 15-years-old, he’s already got over a decade of on-ice experience, dating back to his first skating lessons when he was only three, and then getting into hockey only a year later. Now, Kennedy’s been selected to represent his home country at the International Street and Ball Hockey Federation’s World Ball Hockey Championships, being held this year in the Czech Republic.
Of the 44 players chosen to represent Canada on the U-16 Junior Team Canada, Kennedy was one of four people picked from Newfoundland and Labrador. He says that this feat alone was something to be proud of, noting that it still had not completely sunk in that he would be heading to a different country in 2019, but he was still excited nonetheless.
Kennedy explained to The Compass that players were being scouted at the Junior Nationals held in Fredericton, New Brunswick. From there, it was a bit of a waiting game to see who, if anyone, would be making it to the international level. When he found out he was among those names, it was nothing short of an exciting moment.
“When we found out, we tried to keep it cool until we got in the car,” Kennedy said of his and his father’s reaction to the announcement. “That’s when we really got to talking about it. He told me how proud he was, and all that. It was a really exciting day for sure.”
Kennedy, alongside the rest of the team, are bound for the Czech Republic in June, giving them approximately six months to train and prepare for an international competition. This is also the first time Kennedy is headed outside the country for hockey.
“This is where the best players around the world are going to be, so there’s a lot of work that needs to be done before then to make sure we’re ready for that,” he said, noting that he was bound for practice in Whitbourne only a few short hours after speaking with The Compass. “It’s a lot of hard work – every day, pretty much. That’s either on the floor playing and practicing, or just training in general and making sure you’re prepared in every way you can be.”
While the excitement surrounding the trip is far from dying down just yet, Kennedy was also sure to note that it was not an experience he was taking for granted, noting how slim the chances are for players all across the country to be picked for a 44-player team.
“It’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us,” he said. “To be able to put on that Team Canada jersey and represent our country in a totally different part of the world – that’s an honour. A lot of hard work over the years, but these types of opportunities are what you do it for.”