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Local hockey player heads to U15 provincial tournament

Prezton Stewart is one of two local hockey players that will play in the tournament

Prezton Stewart is getting his chance to shine at the 2019 Male U15 Provincial Tournament as he showcases his skills at the annual event.

He will be joining 159 other players who were selected for the tournament from May 9-12 in Penticton.

“It’s super exciting,” Stewart said. “It’s the best people in British Columbia and it’s cool to be part of that. I’ve come a long way from novice all the way to now, it’s pretty cool.”

This previous season Stewart was playing for the East Kootenay Zone Bantam Ice, where the left wing forward is looking to bring the skills learned to the provincial tournament.

“Just my speed and quickness,” he said. “And my positivity, we are there to have fun, but [also bringing] my competitiveness.”

With the tournament just around the corner, Stewart has been looking to prepare himself on and off the ice.

“Just getting on the ice, relaxing and working on my stuff. Just kind of thinking about it mentally, and always preparing .. for slumps and stuff like that. So you try to work through that in your mind mentally. So, mentally preparing mostly is what I’m doing,” he said.

The players are split into eight jamboree-style teams, and Stewart will be on Team BC Burgundy, he hopes to learn from the other athletes he’s surrounded by.

“Taking little parts of their game and maybe adding it to mine. Just making me an overall better player,” he said.

Earlier in the year, Stewart took part in a regional camp, that combined with in-year evaluation got him selected to attend the tournament.

“My overall quickness, speed and decision making,” he notes what made him stand out.

“I don’t know what they are looking at out there, but I’m trying to focus on my hard-work efforts and the skills are important too, but I like to battle in the corners and put my full-on effort out there —it’s what I’m trying to get noticed for.”

RELATED: Cranbrook hockey player heads to U15 provincial tournament

While at the regional camp he said he was feeling nervous when it first started.

“The first game, I kind of fumbled the puck a little bit, but once I got into it I started having fun and playing my game­— it was good,” he said.

Stewart has been playing hockey since he was seven years old and says he tries to model his play after Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“He’s overall a hard-working guy, and he can score and fly down the wing,” he said.

While he is only 14 years old, Stewart has aspirations of continuing to play hockey, including in post-secondary.

The support he has received from his family is what he says has made him the player he is today.

Stewart will be joined by two teammates at the tournament —Owen Johnson (Cranbrook) and Ethan Moore (Fernie).

“Playing against them will be fun, and just to see how they are doing. It will be good,” he added.

At the tournament, BC Hockey and the Western Hockey League (WHL) will conduct WHL combine testing on and off the ice. The goals of the testing to assist the players with skill development by utilizing the latest testing technology.

The results are compiled in a national database, giving those players a ranking and identifying areas for improvement.

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