It has been said: “When one door closes, another one opens” — but maybe it would be better to not be closing doors on yourself in the first place.
That has been the some of thinking of two young men who have been honoured by being placed on the midget ‘C’ scholarship team for Fraser Valley East.
Kevin Misumi is a Grade 12 student at Hope Secondary and Tommy Hrynkiw [“her-ENG-cue”] will graduate from Agassiz Elementary-Secondary this June. The two were teammates on the midget Wildcats this year.
Right from the first game of the season, the scholarship door was ready to slam shut for any player who got a match, gross or major penalty. Through the entire season — and four tournaments — Misumi and Hrynkiw played a clean style of hockey.
They also kept up their academic performances at school, where a C+ average is required to even be considered for the scholarship team. Both are sitting at about a B+ average at present.
Team manager (and Hrynkiw’s mom) Rina Piovesan encouraged both players to apply for the team and head coach Barclay Fletcher added his endorsement. Fletcher said he has coached both players for three years.
“Kevin is just an all-round good leader,” he said. “He’s really good to be around and he has good hockey skills — and Tommy is a really pleasant, easy-going guy.”
Not surprisingly, Misumi was team captain for the Wildcats this year and Hrynkiw was assistant-captain.
Both were invited to the three tryouts sessions for the scholarship team, run by head coach Ric Hampton and assistant Jason Rhodes, a coach with Chilliwack Minor Hockey. Hampton has coached in Hope for many years but is coaching Hockey 2 in Mission this season. This is his third year as head coach of the Fraser Valley East scholarship team and this year, he asked Hope resident Jesse James to help as manager.
“We had 30 kids that we had to get down to 19,” said Hampton.
Misumi and Hrynkiw made it through and will be playing four games this week in a round-robin against three other teams: Fraser Valley North and two teams from Fraser Valley West, which draw from Greater Vancouver associations.
Of those who made the cut, one player per team will be granted a $500 scholarship from the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association. The rest will also get some royal treatment, said Hampton.
“There’s no cost for the boys to take part in the tournament and they all get free jerseys,” said the coach. “And Pacific Coast pays for post-game meals.
“These are three-hour game slots, with a warm-up, then an ice-clean, then three 20-minute stop time periods with ice cleans in between.”
Your best chance to see the Fraser Valley East Ducks would be Thursday, when they take on the Fraser Valley West Flames at the Prospera rink in Chilliwack. Game time is 6 p.m.
Both Misumi and Hrynkiw have similar aspirations for their career paths, as both are taking a introductory kinesiology course at AESS every Friday, with the instructor coming from UFV.
“I’d like to get into team training,” said Misumi. “I’ve applied to UBC for their kinesiology program.”
Hrynkiw has been accepted at UFV and Kamloops’ Thompson Rivers University but he hasn’t decided which to choose.
“I’ll be going for business and kinesiology,” he said. His goal is to work as a physiotherapist.
Whatever the outcome of the scholarship tournament, these two young men had a great finish to their minor hockey experience in Hope with a playoff championship win in their final game.
Coach Fletcher said, “Going into our second-last game of the playoffs, we could have made it so the last game wasn’t needed — but we got into penalty trouble and lost the game and our sportsmanship point.
“In our final game, we took control and dominated it.”
The banner will be presented in the coming weeks and the players that helped earn it can look up in the rafters and remember the good old days for many years to come.
Other Hope-based players on the team were Zack Fletcher, Aiden and Austin Heino, Steven Misumi, Branden Ottesen, Brad Webb, Kyle Bonson, Brendan and Cam Sullivan and Nathan Holding.
Agassiz-Harrison players include: Eric Klody, Mitchel Heaton, Trace Hicks, Terron Vanderwyk and Brandon Baboth.