Two young Kitimat athletes, both of them hockey and baseball players, saw some payback for a lot of hard work in their sports last week.
For one of them, Michael Bell, a 15-year-old hockey prospect, who played as a second year Bantam on the Kitimat Legion Midget Rep AA team last season, it was double recognition as he was selected in the third round of the Western Hockey League’s bantam draft by the League’s newest entry, Victoria (formerly the Chilliwack Bruins).
Mike then learned, almost coincidentally, that he and another member of his Kitimat Rockies softball team, pitcher Jordan Craven, have both been named to Team B.C., to compete in the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games, scheduled for Kamloops in August, 5-10.
The games are scheduled to start August 4, but the Team BC players will leave for Kamloops on July 27.
Bell has been on the radar in both bantam and midget hockey for the last couple of years. According to his proud Dad Steve Bell, a well-known Kitimat hockey referee, his size (5ft.11in., 190 lbs) and versatility (he played both wing and defence positions last season), helped get him recognized and earned him a invited spot on BC Under 16 hockey team earlier.
“Michael was hoping to go in the upper half of the Western Hockey League bantam draft, and he was excited to learn, by text message while we were at a hockey tourney in Edmonton, that he’d been the 55th selection by the new Victoria team, which traded the selection from the Brandon Wheat Kings.
He doesn’t say much – but I know he was grinning from ear to ear,” said Steve.
Jordan Craven talked to the Sentinel after a practice session of pitching at the Kitimat ball fields on Wednesday of last week.
“It’s a big honour to be selected for Team BC - so two of us getting onto Team BC, both as pitchers from Kitimat, is great. It’s especially gratifying because we don’t get to play much fastball in this area, where softball is a bit more popular.
“We were both among about 30 players trying out in Souris, B.C in late March. The successful team member names were just announced by Softball BC.”
The two Kitimat boys are the only northern BC representatives in Team BC this season.
Jordan and Michael were both members of the Kitimat Rockies team last year when the team won runner-up silver medals in the finals of the BC Summer Games.
Previous Kitimat Rockies softball and fastball teams have won Provincials, BC Games and Western Canadian Games gold, so the Rockies players will have something to look forward to as Team BC members at the Western Canadian games in Kamloops.
Meanwhile, for Mike Bell (seen in the photo below) it will be a summer of school, training and more training. He plans to try out for the Cariboo Cougars Major Midget hockey team in Prince George this winter and hopes, if he plays in Prince George, there’s a chance the Victoria WHL team could ice him as an affiliate player when they play the Cougars this coming season.
That would also be something to look forward to.