Three Grizzlys peewee AA hockey players skated their way onto team rosters to play in the Alberta Winter Games after recent tryouts.
Owen Callow, Rhett Miller and Kaden Phillips, all age 12, were selected for teams after a regional selection camp held in Olds near the end of November.
Callow and Phillips will both play for the Zone 1 team, while Miller will be on the Zone 2 squad. The Alberta Winter Games will be held Feb. 16-19 in Fort McMurray.
Miller and Callow are from Olds. Phillips lives in Sundre but plays in Olds.
Grizzlys peewee AA coach Mike Marshall said it’s a “big deal for sure” that the players made the cut. He said about 180 hockey players tried out during the southern Alberta regional camp, all looking for a coveted spot on just two teams.
“There’s lots of kids who tried out from Olds as well,” he said.
Marshall said it’s not surprising that this trio made the cut.
“It’s a big honour for them, and not a surprise. They’re all leaders on our team,” he said. He’s coached all three in past years as well, and said all have worked hard to do well.
Phillips is the Grizzlys’ team captain, while Miller and Callow are both assistant captains.
“They’ve always had that little bit in them; not just good hockey players but also good teammates,” Marshall said.
Miller, a forward, is excited to make the squad. This is his first time trying out for a provincial team.
“I was nervous,” he said of the tryout process. He’s played hockey since he was three and has stuck with the game because it’s fun.
Miller said the tryouts included playing some games, as well as doing some skills work.
Grizzlys teammate Callow thought the tryout was fun, and is looking forward to meeting other kids during the games.
“I’m pretty excited actually,” said the Grizzlys forward. “I think it will be a good experience.”
Callow’s had the opportunity to travel to different cities, provinces and even the U.S. for hockey before.
Like his teammates, Phillips has played hockey from an early age.
“I really liked the tryouts,” he said. He wasn’t sure he’d make the team, and is excited to have been successful.
“I wasn’t really sure, I just kind of went into it,” he said.
Phillips explained that while the teams heading to the Winter Games won’t get much of a chance to practise beforehand, there is an app they will be getting which will enable them to talk on a conference call.
“I’m really excited about it,” he said of the opportunity.