HOPEALL, NL — One lifelong hockey player from Hopeall is preparing for the next step in his career on the ice.
Reilly Mayne is a 15-year-old hockey player with the TriPen Osprey major midgets, with an eleven-year history with a hockey stick in his hands, starting from the age of four. Now, Mayne is looking forward to travelling to Blainville, Quebec after being selected as a part of the Hockey NL Under-16 male team set to compete in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Excellence Challenge from April 26th-29th.
The six-team challenge acts as a means of QMJHL scouts to view the prowess of players at the event leading into the league’s 2018 draft, set for June 2nd in Shawinigan, Quebec. On top of this, the excellence challenge serves as a gateway into Hockey Canada’s Under-17 program, with Hockey Canada scouts on site. The U17 program invites 108 players to a July summer camp in Calgary, from which 66 players will be selected to form three Canadian teams for the 2018 World Under-17 Challenge.
These are all things that excite Mayne, and act as a major stepping stone in his dream of playing the sport professionally.
“I’ve always been playing, ever since I was maybe four or so,” he said. “Of course, eventually I’d like to see myself in the NHL, but I like to take things one step at a time, and this is one big step for me. Even the opportunity to play at the tournament in Quebec is exciting.”
Mayne is the only player from his region to be selected for Team NL, and since his selection, he’s been working hard to make sure he’s able to perform to the best of his ability during his time in Quebec. That means plenty of training both on and off the ice, with a major focus on the aspects of his game that he feels he needs to improve.
“I had a lot of support from family, teammates, and coaches,” Mayne said of the opportunity. “I had a good rookie season, and got the chance to play as an alternate for the Trinity-Placentia Junior Flyers. It’s a pretty special feeling to play at that level in front of your hometown crowd.”
Selected players have a busy week preparing for the tournament. They’ll have about three days of preparation starting on Sunday, April 22nd before heading into the round robin games. On Wednesday, April 25th, the young athletes will be tested in various aspects pertaining to their skills on and off the ice, and their conditioning. After that, the main event starts, taking place over the course of the following three days.
“It’s all really exciting. It’s been a goal of mine to be selected like this for a while now, and to see it all playing out is a great feeling.”