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Hockey ace is shooting for the stars
Local youth represented prestigious select team at European tournament
Skyler Bruce says it would be a dream to play professional hockey.
And based on his accomplishments so far, the 10-year-old dynamo is well on the way to fulfilling the age-old dream of millions of Canadian boys.
The St. Boniface resident returned recently from the Czech Republic, where he was a member of the Bauer Selects — an elite team of American hockey players based out of Chicago — which took part in the Bauer Euro Invite tournament.
The Highbury School student, who also plays quarterback for the St. Vital Mustangs Atom Red team, was invited to play for the team this summer after impressing on the ice and often topping the leaderboards in scoring, said his father, Darryl.
Skyler currently plays centre for the St. Boniface Seals 10A1 team. He has also been involved with the Junior Jets spring and summer program and last year played for Manitoba Team Extreme, which had trips to Detroit and Toronto.
Skyler’s team made the final of the recent tournament and only the Russians proved too formidable an opponent, as they beat the Bauer Selects 2-0 in the round robin stages and then 6-0 in the final. Aside from that, the team registered six wins, beating a team from Finland in the quarter-final and a Czech side in the semifinal. Skyler scored four goals and contributed eight assists during the eight games.
"The team did very well. Russia went undefeated, but Bauer gave them the only close game all tournament," Darryl said. "Skyler had an amazing time out there. Coaches were impressed with his play and have invited him back to play for the team next year."
Sport is a family affair in the Bruce household. Proud dad Darryl played professional baseball in the U.S. in leagues such as the Frontier League and the North Central League, and Skyler’s younger brother, Conner, 8, also turns out for the Seals and the Mustangs.
"It’s pretty exciting how much fun they have playing sports, both during practice and games. Their work ethic is very good."
There’s definitely a social aspect to sports and they love being around other players and having fun with their friends," he said.
Darryl would love his son to eventually secure a scholarship to college, but for now Skyler is enjoying working on his game.
"Prague was a great experience and I had a great time. It was phenomenal. Russia was the toughest opponent and I had a good game against Germany," Skyler said, noting he went on some tours in Prague and saw some "beautiful" scenery, including churches and castles.
"It’s important for me to try and get better and be one of the best. I was in shock when I first heard I was selected to play on the team and it was a privilege to represent Canada," he added, noting his stick-handling, shooting and speed are his greatest strengths on the ice.
Skyler also offered some advice for aspiring young hockey players: "Don’t give up, try your hardest at every practice and don’t quit. It’s a great sport. It’s important for me to get better and challenge myself and my teammates."
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