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Jr. Sharks’ Pee Wee AAAs amped for upcoming Quebec trip

 

quebec_logoCurtis Brown had only heard about the experiences previous San Jose Jr. Sharks teams had playing in the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament.

As prestigious an event there is at the Pee Wee level, and it’s been going on nearly 60 years, Brown will get the chance to now tell of his experiences as he’ll take his Jr. Sharks Pee Wee AAA team to the Canadian province in February to partake in competition against teams from around the globe.

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“Historically, our hockey director here, Robert Savoie, has taken the program’s second-year Pee Wee teams to Quebec,” said Brown. “He is from there and has a great connection with that part of the world. I think as great as the hockey is for this tournament is that it’s a better culture event, not only for the people of Quebec, but for the people who visit. It is very special and until you go, you don’t understand what the whole experience is about.”

The Quebec event runs at several rinks in Quebec City and the surrounding areas from Feb. 8-19.

“Being the director of the Jr. Sharks for several years, I only got to hear about the event,” Brown said. “Not really getting the opportunity as a youngster growing up in Western Canada, it’s a pretty big commitment for these teams to get to Quebec as Pee Wees, from parents and schedules and finances and everything, it’s a big deal. The more that you heard the stories and hear the stories, it was just incredible to have, especially in our case, kids from California experience winter. That was a huge difference for them. And then on top of that, the outdoor skating and the many, many outdoor rinks where you can go at their leisure. There’s no fee to participate and you can set up your own games.

“There’s more rinks there than people, it seems. For people that love the game of hockey, it’s paradise. I grew up in that type of environment and to now see these kids get that opportunity, I think that’s so incredible. We’re very thankful to have this opportunity again this season and to get to immerse our kids in that culture.”

Brown said that not knowing what teams his team will play in Quebec means his expectations will change a bit from normal games played on the West Coast.

“We expect to learn more about the Canadian culture, Quebec as a whole – I think it will be a great learning experience for these kids,” said Brown. “The expectations that I have is that we’ll conduct ourselves with class, play the game the right way, treat others the way we want to be treated and we’ll see how the games go. If you go there with the mindset that it’s all about the wins and losses, I really think you have the possibility of missing out on an amazing life experience.”

The 2016-17 Jr. Sharks’ Pee Wee AAA team is made up of forwards Mitchell Birdsall, Myles Bivolcic, Edan Cho, Tyler Dysart, Benjamin Kim, Jacob Lize and Arthur Margot; defensemen Jonathan de Grandpre, Parker McDowell, Kyle Miller and Nicholas Savard; Garrett Brown, Nicolas Grabner, Aleksandar Klipa and Jack Odden, all of whom play both forward and defense; and goaltenders Nikolas Charles and Alexander Savard. Brown is joined on the bench by assistant coaches Ken Birdsall and Dragan Klipa. Team managers are Nancy Boaman and Danielle Jenkins.

“My favorite part about this group is that it’s really about the team,” Brown said. “We don’t have any egos that are looking to be treated special. I think all these kids are special in their own way and the way I believe is that they all have a role on the team and the expectation is that everybody does the best that they can.”

— Matt Mackinder