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For the love of the game

Hayden Berry and his team, The Hammerheads

Hockey is more than being on the ice. It’s about teamwork, learning how to win and lose gracefully

By Hayden Berry

Have you ever been in love with a sport? You know that feeling of happiness you get when you’re doing well? Do you miss that sport as soon you finish a game, so much that even though you’re tired you’re ready to play again?

That is exactly the way I felt after the game where I scored four goals! We were down by two goals when suddenly I scored! Just when I thought we were getting ahead, the Vipers came back with another goal.

I got a pass and I was on a breakaway and took a shot and it bounced off the goalie’s pad and went in the net! I couldn’t believe it!

By the third period it was 6-5 for the Vipers. My friend was in the right corner and he passed it to me and I put it in the net with my backhand. I was so happy, not only was the game tied, but also it was my first hat trick ever.

A couple of seconds later I came up and deked a few of the Vipers, I was on another breakaway. I looked for an opening and saw that the top right corner of the net was open. I took the shot and I scored! There were only two minutes left in the game and we were up 7-6. They pulled their goalie, but didn’t score. We won the game. I got four goals. It was awesome!

My interest in hockey started when I was seven-years-old. I was in skating lessons and really enjoyed it. This made me think that maybe hockey would be fun so I decided to try it.

The first time I ever played hockey was at novice tryouts at the Centennial Arena in Fairview. I made development. That means my skills were still developing. I was now on my first hockey team, but there was a problem. We didn’t have a coach.

Finally, a parent of one of my teammates volunteered to be our coach, but that didn’t really help us. We didn’t even win one game. In fact, we only scored once in the whole season. On top of it all, our team was nameless. Some would say that after you lose 10 to 20 games in a row you get used to losing. This didn’t stop me; I still loved hockey and wanted to continue.

Now my team is called the Hammerheads and our home rink is Centennial Arena in Fairview. We are a good team with 16 out of 16 great players and five awesome coaches. We have played more than 30 regular games and a couple tournaments. We are ages 9, 10 and 11 and in Grade 4 and 5 at more than five different schools. Some of my teammates have been on my team for three years.

Andrew has been on the team for three years. Andrew said if he could pick another name for the Hammerheads it would be Icebreakers, our name from our second year in novice. Andrew says the TASA Lightning was the hardest team we ever played.

“They creamed us last year,” he says.

The best game Andrew ever played was in January when we beat Cole Harbour to win the bronze medal at Middleton Mustangs Tournament.

My head coach Tom Murray, Andrew’s dad, is the best coach I’ve ever had. He was my coach for the first time in my second year playing hockey and he really helped improve my skills. Tom started coaching when Andrew got involved in hockey at age five. Andrew is 10, so he has been coaching for five years.

“There are so many great things about being involved with a team dynamic,” Tom says. “You get to meet new people. You form a bond with your teammates. The game itself is a lot of fun. You have a lot of new experiences and you learn things.”

Tom gives us a speech before every game. It really helps us because he tells us what to do when we break out of our zone, what to do when we break into the offensive zone, when to pass, when to shoot, and more. He teaches us lots about hockey, but he also teaches us a lot about real life, too.

“A lot of life skills I’ve learned are attributed to hockey: teamwork, leadership,” Tom says. “There are so many good things about the game at this age they will learn that will help them in the future.”

We aren’t a competitive team, but Tom coaches us as if we are. He grew up going away for tournaments and he wants us to have that experience because it helps us learn how to win and lose gracefully and to be good teammates with a strong team bond. Tom says there are so many great things about coaching the Hammerheads. First and foremost, he loves hockey. He went through the whole minor hockey system, like we are doing now. He has always stayed involved.

My goal for this season is to get 33 goals. My goal for every game is to get as many points as possible. Right now, I’m trying to work on getting better at dekeing the goalie. The greatest thing about being on the Hammerheads is that everybody is nice and easy to make friends with. The greatest thing about our coaches is that they’re all encouraging.

“The coaches believe if you put in a lot of effort, good hard work, you will get rewarded,” Tom says. “It may not always be in winning the game, but as long as you’re using your own skillset, helping your teammates, that’s rewarding in itself.” 



 

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