Kelowna duo on Team B.C. for National Aboriginal Hockey Championships
Adam Beatty and Tre Mason have plenty in common.
Both are passionate about hockey. And both are immensely proud of their aboriginal heritage.
Those two elements will merge for the two local players next month at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Saskatoon.
Beatty and Mason were named recently to Team B.C. for the NAHC May 6 to 12, which showcases the top midget and bantam-aged aboriginal players from across the country.
Beatty, a forward who had 47 points last season with the Kelowna midget Rockets tier 1 team, is Metis with Cree ancestry.
He was named to Team B.C. following an evaluation camp earlier this month in Merritt.
For Beatty, representing his province while celebrating his heritage is the opportunity of a lifetime for the 16-year-old from Kelowna.
"I'm pretty pumped about it," said Beatty, a Grade 11 student at Immaculata Regional School. "I'm proud to represent my background, it's a big part of who I am. It'll also be a great experience to play for Team B.C. against all the top young aboriginal players in the country."
Kelowna midget coach Eric Blais said Beatty is just beginning to come into his own as a player.
"Adam is a very responsible two-way hockey player with great hands and a natural scoring touch," said Blais. "He sees the ice well and has high hockey intelligence. He works hard and is just beginning to understand how good he can be."
Tre Mason, 17, moved to Kelowna from Victoria three years ago and spent two seasons with the Pursuit of Excellence program.
This past season, he played defense for the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League's Kelowna Chiefs.
Mason, whose First Nations ancestry consists of Gitxsan and Heiltsuk on his dad's side, and Kwakwaka'wakaw on his mom's side, is looking forward to competing alongside his peers in Saskatoon.
"I'm very proud of my background and my heritage and I'm happy to be able to celebrate that at the (national aboriginal championship)," said Mason, who had seven points in 35 regular season games with the Chiefs. "I've played in some smaller aboriginal tournaments, but nothing quite like this. Not a lot of my family plays hockey, so it's nice to be able to play in this tournament for them, too."
With the Chiefs this season, Mason impressed his coaches with his steady improvement and willingness to learn.
"He went from a rookie with lots to learn at the beginning of the season to a key defenseman at the end who played a key role in our run in the playoffs," said Chiefs assistant coach Grant Sheridan. "He is very strong and sees the ice very well. Tre always works hard and is eager to learn.
Mason, Beatty and Team B.C. will open the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships Monday, May 7 against Manitoba.