Roller hockey ‘biggest in Canada’
To say the first year of roller hockey in Mt. Brydges is a success is quite an understatement.
“It’s been awesome so far. The numbers that we have are way higher than we expected, probably at least double,” said Tri-Township Wolves organizer Danny Laroque.
There are about 400 players rolling around.
“We actually are, I think, the biggest in Canada,” exclaimed Laroque.
The Tri-Township Arena is often full in winter, but summers often saw people inside about two hours per week. Now there are roller hockey games with teams as young as U6 all the way up to four teams of adults taking over the plastic-covered rink for a few hours, five days a week into August.
There are four team Canada veterans involved: Paul Melton, Trevor Bennett, Brad Forbes, and Laroque himself. He said sponsors and a passion for inline hockey brought by organizers has helped make this a success.
And passion for the sport travels well, to places some from hockey-mad Canada might not expect. Laroque’s friend and fellow team Canada veteran Dave Hammond teaches the game in the southwestern African country of Namibia.
And now local players are being offered a chance to travel to Namibia for a tournament next summer.
While ice hockey may be out of reach in the mostly arid nation, Namibians have become a powerhouse in international play. In fact, their junior girls team won the World’s last year, and a group of 10-year-old boys placed second to Canada in a recent tournament.
Safaris are part of the plan for the Tri-Township Wolves making the trip.
It is not the first trip for the nascent league. A team of older girls got to go to Narch Winternationals in California after being invited to play with the Pama Labeda Golden Knights, a team run by one of the NHL Vegas Golden Knight’s owners.
Scholarships and chances to play of teams Ontario and Canada are some other opportunities. Laroque gave a list of 17 players invited to play for team Ontario. More are coming in a couple weeks.
Laroque said goalies are still invited to play for free, especially in the U15 and U12 groups.
Wolves who made provinicial and national teams:
Danny Larocque -Team Canada veterans
Paul Melton - Team Canada veterans and Legends
Trevor Bennett - Team Canada veterans and Legends
Brad Forbes - Team Canada veterans and Legends
Mason Larocque - Team Ontario 2012 AAA and Team Ontario 2011 A
Onyx Doxtator - Team Ontario 2012 AAA and Team Ontario 2011 A
Owen Proctor - Team Ontario 2012 AAA
Bryce Page - Team Ontario 2012 AAA
Lukas Dieroff - Team Ontario 2012 A
Nathan Bruce - Team Ontario 2012 A
Luca Fortese - Team Ontario 2011 A
Jakob Blum - Team Ontario 2011 A
Carter Cousins - Team Ontario 2008 AAA
Jagger Smith - Team Ontario 2013 AAA
Nick Melnyk - Team Ontario 2013 AAA
Jaxon Lindsay - Team Ontario 2013 AAA
Cooper Morningstar - Team Ontario 2013 AAA
Carter Crow - Team Ontario 2013 AAA
Carson King - Team Ontario 2013 AAA
Ryder Godfried - Team Ontario 2013 AAA
Asher Cook - Team Ontario 2013 AAA
U15 girls team, U6, and U8 teams will be announced in a couple of weeks.
Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner