www.thehockeygranddad.ca for https://sportswave.ca
Story and photos by D. Laird Allan (unless otherwise noted)
In July I posted a story regarding the Australian U20 men’s hockey team on their travels through Vancouver en route to Mexico to the IIHF Div. III 2022 Hockey Championship. On their stop over they played an exhibition game against a local Major Midget team, the West Coast Warriors. One of the players on the Australian team, Rylie Langille, was the son of a family who are he friends of one of my dear friends in Perth, Australia.
To make a long story short, the young lad was signed by the Campbell River Storm of the VIJHL (Jr. B). My friend from Perth, Barb Wood is on holiday with her entourage in Union Bay on Vancouver Island at this time. They wanted to see Riley play. So, with Steve Erickson’s contact/friend, media guy of the Storm, Mark Berry, I was set me up with a pass. So on the 8th of December we hit the BC Ferry (my daughter Jen was my driver) and headed north to Campbell River. The game was set on December 9th, 7:30pm at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena against the Port Alberni Bombers. This gig was twofold, one, cover the Storm’s game, and two, have a sit down with Riley Langille and discuss his hockey journey.
The evening was living up to the Storm’s name with a terrible snow/rain/wind storm raging outside. Even with the storm there was a great noisy crowd of 652 in the building. The game was a spirited affair with PA getting on board early on the PP. CR answered back with a PP of their own and then scored again to go into the room 2-1. CR came out in the second and set the tone with a goal right of the mark at .13. They scored again and went into the room after two leading 4-1. The second was a feisty penalty filled affair with 15 minors between the two teams. The the third was relatively quiet with CR scoring their fifth goal at 18:27 to close it out.
During the game the announcer addressed the crowd regarding Riley being chosen to play for Team Australia, which drew a rousing ovation. Riley was not in the lineup, so I had time to get into a quiet space and have a talk.
How is the transition between living and playing in Campbell River than at home in Australia.
Big. In Australia we practice two/three times a week, while here we have on ice and/or off ice every day. The system here is very structured and you know what they want. The skill level is higher and everyone knows their job and what is required. The pace is quite high, especially game action. I am learning everyday.
It has been a learning experience. My billets are special and make me feel at home. I am making new friends with my teammates. I am here to learn and everything revolves around the team. I also have a great support network from back home and they are in regular communication.
It was announced yesterday that you have been chosen to be a member of Team Australia U20 team heading to the IIHF Div. III in Turkey in January, 2023.
It is always an honour for me to be chosen to play for my country again and be a part of that team. I am looking forward to the challenge and believe this stint with the Storm will help me on and off the ice. I really enjoyed and learned from the 2022 IIHF U20 Worlds, Div III in Mexico. We won bronze but was disappointed that we didn’t win gold. (In his team’s defence, they ran into a hot goalie in Mexico. It can be a cruel sport, where you play your best, may deserve to win but lose)(just look at the World Cup).
What are your future goals in hockey?
To continue on I as I have been. Stay in Campbell River and learn everything I can to get better.
Anything else you would like to add?
Just that I love the support coming from back home, especially my parents who have been with me and behind me every step of the way. Also, it is neat that mates from home are here for the game tonight.
The attached photos will help tell the story.