Langford resident Cory Hatcher will soon be gearing up in Italy.
The Belmont grad was the only player from the Island selected to wear Team Canada’s colours in Europe for the inline hockey World Championships. Starting June 9, national 18-under teams from around the globe will go head to head.
“It feels awesome. It’s very cool to be representing not only my country, but the Island as well,” Hatcher said.
It’ll be his first time playing for Canada in an age-group competition at this level and he admits the nervousness is starting to come. But he remains excited about the upcoming experience. “I’m definitely looking forward to the fast pace and intensity.”
He’s not taking this great opportunity lightly. Leading up to the takeoff for Italy, Hatcher is trying to hit the weights six times a week, run up Mt. Finlayson three times a week and is still able to squeeze in a couple nights a week of skating and shooting practice in the Eagle Ridge arena thanks to the support of Gerry St. Cyr, City Centre Park facility operator. “He’s been my mentor for the last few weeks,” Hatcher said.
St. Cyr is no stranger to the world of inline hockey, having played for and coached Team Canada. The senior men’s team won the IIHF Division 1 World Championship in 2008, under St. Cyr’s lead as head coach. Now St. Cyr is trying to share some of that experience with Hatcher to help prepare him.
“It’s different than what we play here,” St. Cyr said. “You can’t make mistakes over there like you can here.”
While the game might be faster, he noted Hatcher has had a good year and is working hard.
“He’s got a passion for it and he puts in a lot of time,” St. Cyr said. “We wish him all the best. It’s good to see good kids getting a shot.”
A handful of weeks is all Hatcher has to prepare for the big event. Making Team Canada has been a whirlwind adventure. He was over in Vancouver a few weeks ago for a two-day B.C. selection camp that saw roughly 30 athletes scrimmage on the first day before running through drills and more scrimmaging on the second. “It was really fast, really high-paced,” he noted.
The same coaches that ran the B.C. selections also ran similar camps across the country to select their team. That should be an advantage, Hatcher thought, as it is often different coaches that run different regional selections. “The same coaches saw everyone,” he said. Once the final team was announced, Hatcher said, they “had five days to find sponsors and four weeks later, we’re leaving.”
Hatcher’s parents will be joining him on the trip. “They have a hard time saying no to Italy,” he joked. “We’re leaving a few days early to explore.”
As for his teammates, Hatcher said he’s played against a number of them before but only knows one personally. “There’s some really good players … I expect us to go over there and do well.” He added, “I know we’ve done well in the past.”
Hatcher doesn’t just have his sights set on doing well at the international tournament, although, he did admit a gold medal would look pretty nice on his resume. He hopes to use the championship as an opportunity “to prove I can play in the men’s league … That’s my main goal.”
It’s an objective he won’t be able to achieve without the help of the community, he said, adding that he’s been overwhelmed by the amount of support he’s received since making the team. Hatcher thanked such sponsors as City Centre Park, Maxxam Insurance Services Inc., Cutting Edge Lending, Benson Excavating Ltd. and a number of others for really coming through for him.
“Those four logos will be on my jersey in Italy.” He said it will be like carrying a piece of his hometown with him.
Hatcher is still looking for sponsors, if you’re interested email him at email@example.com.