Taranaki inline hockey players set for junior olym
Originally posted at Taranki Daily News by Jeremy Wilinson Jan 6, 2016
Three teenage inline hockey players will be travelling to Hawaii later this year after being selected to represent their country in the AAU junior olympics.
Max Ewing, Quinn Huffam and Colton Berner, all members of Ravens inline hockey club, will be strapping on their roller blades and competing in the under-14 New Zealand team this July.
But first the 13-year-olds - who have been playing hockey for a combined total of more than 20 years - each have to raise $6000 to finance their trip, which will see them spending a week playing against American club teams and then another week competing against teams from around the world.
Ewing said he started playing about six years ago because his uncle played and he thought it looked like a good time.
"I watched a few games of his which sort of got me started," he said.
"I like the speed aspect and being able to smash into people."
Huffam said he also enjoyed the contact aspects of the sport - especially in his role as the team's goalie.
"Forty-something people trial for the team and goalie is the most contested position," he said.
Huffam said he wasn't sure about the future of the sport in terms of a career because of its small following in New Zealand.
"I don't think you could do it as a job here, unless you move to ice," he said.
"The supporters are awesome but there's just not enough teams."
Colton Berner said he took up the sport because he was originally from Canada and it was easy to make the move from ice skates to roller blades.
"I just love the feeling when you score, especially during a big game," he said.
Max Ewing's mother, Sarah, said it was up to the boys and their families to raise the money themselves in order to take part in the event, which is run by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer sports organisations in the United States.
"It really puts it on them to be passionate about the sport," she said.
"They're going to have to shovel sheep poo and chop firewood for a few months to fund it I think."
Ewing said the club had held a raffle and would be running a movie night to help chip away at the figure.
Taranaki will also have representatives in teams for the Under 14 girls, Under 16 boys, Under 23 men's, and senior men's inline teams.