SportsLife 2016, Issue 2 - Page 10

Hockey Manitoba says... ‘Kids, play other sports’ By Scott Taylor, Photo credit Bruce Fedyck and Dave Darichuk/courtesy Shane Moffatt Wayne Gretzky always believed that in the summer, it was time to throw his hockey equipment in the basement and bring out his ball glove and spikes. For two of the top young teenaged hockey players in the province, Canada’s Game is great, but baseball is pretty important, too. Not surprisingly, Hockey Manitoba agrees. Brody and Joey Moffatt are two of the best young hockey players in Manitoba. Brody is 16 and is playing in his second season playing for the Central Plains Capitals in the Manitoba Triple A Midget Hockey League. This fall, he attended the training camp of the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen, although he didn’t sign. He’s still thinking about the WHL, but he’s also hoping that he might play Jr. A hockey and then earn himself an NCAA Division 1 scholarship. Joey is 14 and plays Bantam Triple A for Central Plains. This is a huge year for Joe. He’s currently one of the highest-rated Manitoba players in the Western Hockey League’s bantam draft. For an accomplished 14-year-old kid in his WHL draft year, there is always a tad too much pressure. However, pressure of not, Joey and Brody have vowed not to give up one important part of their life for hockey – baseball. For example, young Joe, a Grade 9 student at Portage Collegiate, played baseball last summer with the Portage Bantams and the Triple A team out of Pembina Hills. “Yeah, I’m a pitcher and I have a fastball, curve ball and side-arm slider,” said Joey. “I love playing ball. I wouldn’t be able to choose between hockey and baseball. I wouldn’t quit playing either one just to, maybe, be able to play the other one a little better.” Brody, a Grade 11 student at Portage Collegiate, played on U-16 Team Manitoba this summer, and is one of the top young players in the province. “I don’t think I could make a choice of one over the other,” Brody said. “I like both games too much. I want to keep playing both.” Not surprisingly, Hockey Manitoba agrees. Last month, the governing body for hockey in Manitoba sent out a release encouraging young players to play other sports. “Hockey Manitoba is pleased to release the following multisport promotional initiative aimed to enhance long-term player development for young hockey players,” the association said in a written statement. “Hockey Manitoba’s Better Athlete, Better Hockey Player initiative offers an unprecedented multi-sport promotion by hockey’s governing body in Manitoba. The initiative is intended to add further awareness from an official standpoint regarding the importance of young players to develop a strong foundational base for physical literacy and athleticism; with the primary objective of educating parents, coaches, and players about these benefits in developing better hockey players.” Joey Moffatt In other words, don’t play hockey 12 months of the year, 10 / sportslife Brody Moffatt kids. Play soccer, play baseball, heck, play roller hockey. Just take some time off from the game. Burn out is still an issue and Hockey Manitoba should be commended for en