He’s only 10 years old, but Skyler Bruce is already an international hockey star.
The St. Boniface resident was recently recruited by the Bauer Selects, an elite team of American players based out of Chicago, to travel this summer to Prague, Czech Republic, for the Bauer Euro Invite tournament.
The Highbury School student was surprised as anyone to get the invite.
"I don’t really know how it happened," Bruce said. "Some people saw me play and called the coach to say that I looked pretty good. I was really happy and excited. I’ve always wanted to go to Europe."
Bruce played this winter for the St. Boniface Seals 9A1 team, and is part of the Junior Jets spring and summer program, which will take him to tournaments in Toronto, Los Angeles and Edmonton before joining his American team. Last summer he played for Manitoba Team Extreme, which had trips to Detroit and Toronto.
The centre started playing hockey when he was five years old, and is on the ice every day, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. He considers his shot and his stickhandling to be his best skills, and enjoys skating around would-be body checks.
For Bruce, whose favourite player is Washington Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin, making a great pass to set up a teammate is just as rewarding as scoring a goal himself.
Before heading over to Prague for the tournament, Bruce will travel with his mom, Stacy, to Chicago to get in a few practices with the Selects. The team has players from several states, including Washington, Missouri and Illinois, so building some chemistry in a short period of time will be a challenge.
The weeklong event will include teams from across Europe, but Bruce is most excited about one particular game.
"I’m looking forward to playing Russia," he said. "They always have a great team."
Aside from that, Bruce wants to put on a good show and prove that he was deserving of his invitation.
"I want to score a goal for sure," he said.