Two place gold at international tourney
Zac Fleming and Evan Thompson returned last week from California with gold and bronze medals for their success with Team Alberta inline hockey team.
The two, who just graduated from Didsbury High School, spent 10 packed days in Anaheim playing in an AA/AAA inline hockey club tournament while also competing at an AAU international level.
“It was pretty intense,” said Fleming, 17, of the week. The two went for tryouts in St. Albert back in March and found out in May they were chosen as two of 11 Team Alberta U18 members.
“It’s like (ice) hockey, but it’s not,” explained Thompson. “It’s four-on-four and there’s not as much contact,” he said.
This was the first time Fleming joined Team Alberta for the roller sport, but the second time for Thompson. He first heard about it from a friend in Edmonton.
“It’s a lot more popular in the bigger cities … they can dedicate an arena to be open year-round for people to practise,” he said. The two said they were part of an inline hockey team in Didsbury when they were younger, but said the seasons in smaller towns are generally shorter because they only have the one arena to use once the ice is taken away in the spring.
The two said in a typical day they’d play two games. Twice, they played three. Their team placed third in the club tournament after losing their first three games to the Alpha Dogs 1-9, Revision Devil Dogs 6-7 and the Rink Rat Mission, 5-9. They went on to win the next two against Phoenix Jr. Dragons 8-2 and Tour Raw Steel Black 4-2. They lost in overtime 5-6 against the Reebok Jr. Duck Orange and won 8-4 to Baur Riot, placing them third in the tournament.
The group did better at the international tourney winning their first game, though they lost their second game 2-3 against the Canpro Hockey Club. They won the next two games against Katios Hockey Club 12-0 and Team USA Stripes 3-2. They lost their next game to team USA West 5-7 but won their semifinal game in overtime 4-3, qualifying them for the finals where they beat Team USA Stripes 3-2.
“I think I’ll try out next year,” said Fleming. The two have one more year to qualify for U-18 before they’ll have to compete at the adult level if they’re still interested.