Two St. Albert hockey players have been selected to compete at the elite Brick Invitational Tournament this summer as part of Team Brick Alberta.
The team — part of a prospect development program run by hockey coaches and professionals — trains top youth players. Baron Bruinsma, 10, and Justin Castonguay, 11, are two of the 17 selected for the team, narrowed down from 120 in an early-April tryout. Selections were made by independent hockey evaluators, including professional coaches and scouts.
Participants take place in a spring training camp beginning late May to prep for the tournament, which runs from June 29 to July 4 at the Ice Palace in West Edmonton Mall. There, Team Brick will have the chance to compete with teams from across North America.
Bruinsma, a goalie, played this past winter for the Hockey Super League (HSL) 2011 Major team. When he heard he made the team, Bruinsma said he began jumping for joy.
“I was pretty excited,” Bruinsma said.
Things got a bit dicey in the tryout, however, when another player skated over Bruinsma’s finger and cut it.
“I went back on the ice and I think that was a big factor for my tryout that the coaches saw,” Bruinsma said. “After that I played to the top of my ability.”
Bruinsma’s father, Keith, said Bruinsma stayed motivated during the past two years of the pandemic by doing off-ice training.
“We didn’t let COVID-19 affect us and we did everything we could to keep working,” the young Bruinsma added.
Bruinsma said he is most excited to make new friends, learn lots of new skills, and most importantly, have fun.
Jason Nicholetts, Team Brick general manager, said in a press release that both Castonguay and Bruinsma were “superb at the tryout” and demonstrated “great leadership and passion on and off the ice.”
Castonguay, a centre, played for the new U11 St. Albert Junior Raiders Barons this past year.
It “feels great” to be part of the Brick Team, Castonguay said.
“I’m excited to be playing high-level hockey,” Castonguay said, noting that he is thankful for the coaches who selected him, as well as his former Raiders coach Peter Sinclair, and the St. Albert Sport Academy.
Like Bruinsma, Castonguay said he is most excited to learn new hockey skills and meet new people in the journey ahead.
Castonguay’s father, Charles, said he is very proud of his son.
“It’s a pretty big accomplishment,” Charles said. “He’s got his own engine going for him, he’s really motivated … we just sit back and watch.”
The tournament will take place from June 29 to July 4 at the Ice Palace in West Edmonton Mall.