It’s not often that you get a chance to follow in the footsteps of your idols.
But two 10-year-old Okanagan hockey players are doing just that.
Asher Netherton, a Kelowna minor hockey goaltender, and Ollie Reid, a Vernon minor hockey centre, have been selected to play for the B.C. Junior Canucks at the 2019 Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament next month.
The Brick Tournament has run for the past 30 years as a showcase for elite youth talent in the hockey world. Several notable NHL names have skated in the tournament such as John Tavares, Johnny Gaudreau, Jonathan Toews, Alex Pietrangelo, Tyler Seguin, Steven Stamkos and others.
“It’s a world-renowned event for some of the top nine and ten-year-olds across North America,” said Jon Calvano, director of the B.C. Junior Canucks.
“Obviously, we went through a pretty rigorous process of identifying players and having them participate in other events to see how they performed at that level. (The Brick Tournament) is an opportunity for kids to measure themselves against the top 200 kids in their age group across North America. To see where their weaknesses or shortcomings are and to continue to develop and grow as a player when they get back.”
Asher’s brother Rhys is also a goalie, playing with a prep hockey team in Winnipeg.
“Asher learned a lot from his brother growing up. The Netherton boys are well known in the Okanagan for goaltending,” said Jason Netherton, father of the goaltending duo.
“These kids are amazing. They’re all a couple of years ahead of the rest of the kids in their age group.”
Both Netherton and Reid have had the chance to play in several high level provincial and national tournaments, but this one is set to be the biggest yet.
“It’s allowed him to develop his game at a different pace than other kids,” said Ryan Reid of his son Ollie.
“At home, he can kind of do what he wants whenever he wants with the puck, and that’s really not the game at the elite level. He’s had to learn the defensive side of the game, he’s had to learn how to be physical, he’s had to learn the finer details of the game of hockey. If he never got the opportunity to play at this level, that part of his game wouldn’t develop.”
In the most recent NHL draft, 27 participants of the 2011 Brick Tournament were drafted, including the first overall pick, Jack Hughes.