While most hockey players are winding down their seasons in April, Wyatt Stinton’s season is just heating up.
The Channing hockey player took part in the Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Tournament on April 2. 192 young players from 10 countries played in the invite-only tournament.
Stinton earned his way into the tournament after an impressive showing in last year’s Brick Invitational Tournament at West Edmonton Mall. Playing with Team Manitoba, Stinton scored 11 points in six games, finishing top five in tournament scoring and catching the eyes of scouts.
The tournament included a full draft, opening ceremony, both on-ice and off-ice fitness combines and five games against some of the world’s best players in Stinton’s age group.
“It was a very professional event, very well run. They were on top of everything,” said Carrie Stinton, Wyatt’s mother.
“It was very exciting. We’re very blessed. He worked very hard and had lots of good feedback from scouts.”
The 10-year-old hockey phenom played on a team without a single familiar face – none of the players had ever met before the tournament.
Some of the players did not speak English.
“Many of us spoke different languages, so it was kind of hard to know what was going to happen,” said Wyatt.
By the time the tournament ended, things had changed. While the language barrier still existed for some players, the group communicated through their knowledge of the game.
“It went really well. I made lots of friends. The first game, compared to the last game, was very different,” said Wyatt.
“The first game, nobody talked. It was a silent room. By the last game, everybody was talking, everybody was being friends with everybody.”
Much like at the Brick Tournament, Stinton caught the eyes of scouts. After finishing up the tournament, Stinton received two invitations to join teams in another elite tournament in Italy next season.
“He’s been invited to play with a Toronto team and a Canada West team. He’s been named to two different teams,” said Carrie.
Meanwhile, Stinton will stay on the ice. The young player will play in a pair of tournaments in Calgary and Minneapolis with the Saskatchewan Junior Huskies Prospects peewee team. Unlike last season, Stinton will get to play with his best friend, Creighton’s Ryder Mucha. Since Stinton lives in Manitoba and Mucha lives in Saskatchewan, the two joined different representative teams last season and played against each other often.
In between tournaments, Stinton has played for the Flin Flon Peewee AA Bombers. During the week, the team plays in Flin Flon and Creighton’s bantam house league, meaning 10-year-old Wyatt plays against players as much as five years older than him.
“Some of the kids he’s playing here are in high school,” said Carrie.
“That’s where spring hockey is nice, because he’s only playing with kids his own age.”
Compared to last season, Wyatt said his game has improved greatly, including his skating. He aspires to play like one of the names he saw during a recent trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame – Mario Lemieux.
“He went in the corners lots, worked hard every single shift, he played a lot and played good every single game.”
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