A Hay River teenager has begun to live his hockey dream.

Trey Beck recently signed to play Junior A hockey with a team in Alberta.

Trey Beck, a 16-year-old hockey player from Hay River, has signed a contract to play with the Hinton Wildcats, a Junior A hockey team in Alberta. Photo courtesy of Trey Beck

“I’ve been dreaming about it since I was a little kid,” said the 16-year-old. “It finally came true.”

On Aug. 30, Beck signed a one-year contract to play for the Hinton Wildcats.

In late August, he attended a tryout camp hosted by the Wildcats, but without any expectation that he would make the team.

“It caught me off guard,” he said. “It was a big surprise, but it’s very exciting.”

In fact, he was at the camp mainly to get some ice time to prepare for a tryout with a Junior B team elsewhere in Alberta.

“So I came here, and the second day the coach asked me to go talk to him and he asked me if I would like to play for the Wildcats and sign with their team,” he said.

It wasn’t a difficult decision for Beck to head south to play hockey.

“To be honest, I didn’t really think much when I got the offer,” he said. “I was so excited and my parents were right there supporting me to say, ‘You can go.’ I, at first, kind of thought, ‘Oh, what about my life in Hay River?’ But then again I just know that it’s going to be back when I’m done playing hockey. So it was kind of easy to make that decision when I had it come up to me.”

That decision means relocating to Hinton and attending Grade 11 there, and living with billet parents.

As for hockey, the Hinton Wildcats play in two leagues – the Western Provinces Hockey Association and the Western States Hockey League, which has most of its teams in the U.S.

Beck is looking forward to playing for the Wildcats and where it might lead in hockey.

“Honestly, in hockey I just want to see how far I can make it,” he said. “If it takes me to the show or just gets me to meet new friends, anything. Just make an experience while it lasts. That’s a big thing for me.”

As for what he showed at the tryout camp to make the Hinton Wildcats, Beck points to his work ethic.

“I don’t think I have the best skill out there. I’m probably not the fastest guy,” he said. “I think I worked really hard and they seen it in me …  I’m willing to work, so they’re willing to work with me, too.”

Beck, who is 5’11” and about 170 pounds, plays centre.

The teenager noted it was difficult to keep up his hockey skills because he couldn’t skate that much over the past two years as the Rec Centre was being rebuilt in Hay River.

“Our midget team, we played on the back rink (in 553) quite a few times and we did a lot of stuff like that,” he noted. “We had a couple of coaches that took us into Harry Camsell School and played ball hockey with us. That definitely helped us keep our endurance.”

Plus, he also played in a few out-of-town tournaments.

Beck was selected as an alternate for the NWT’s midget hockey team for the Arctic Winter Games earlier this year.

However, he competed in dog mushing, winning gold and silver medals.

In Hinton, he will concentrate on hockey.

“I’m thinking more about hockey than school almost,” he said with a laugh. “It’s kind of bad.”

And he hopes his hockey skills will improve with a season in Junior A, where he will be competing against players almost all aged from 16 to 20 years. He will be one of the youngest players in the league.

Beck thanks his coaches in Hay River and support from others in the community for helping him move ahead with his hockey career.

“I have quite good support in my hometown,” he said.

His father, Trevor Beck, said he and his wife, Andrea, were shocked when their son was offered a Junior A contract, and they also had to deal with him suddenly relocating to Hinton, where they dropped him off on Sept. 3.

“He picked up his whole life,” said Trevor Beck. “We were so worried about how he was going to be moving away from us, and we were busted up.”

However, he said his son was calm about the whole sudden change, and told his parents it was his dream and why he worked so hard at hockey.

“So I was just blown away at his maturity,” said Trevor Beck, who is president of the Hay River Metis Government Council.

Trevor Beck said his son deserves the opportunity to play Junior A hockey because of how hard he works to improve as a player, and he and his wife are extremely proud of him.

“Trey doesn’t turn off hockey in April like most kids,” said his father. “He trains and he trains because he wants to.”

In addition, he noted his son comes from a family of hockey players. Two of Trey Beck’s uncles also played junior hockey.

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