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Carpenter has eyes set on NHL

Thursday April 12, 2012
Submitted photo

Lac Seul youth Johnathan Carpenter is studying at the prestigious Canadian International Hockey Academy.
Submitted photo

Lac Seul youth Johnathan Carpenter is studying at the prestigious Canadian International Hockey Academy.

Lac Seul may be a hockey hotbed, but it is not everyday that one of the community’s native sons makes it into a prestigious international hockey academy.

That is what Johnathan Carpenter has done. The 16-year-old who grew up in Lac Seul as an Eagles fan and later played minor hockey in Fort Frances’ double A system has nearly completed the inaugural year of the Canadian International Hockey Academy (CIHA).

It is no surprise that joining the CIHA was, in Carpenter’s words, a big step up to the next level in his hockey career. The school is, after all, totally dedicated to hockey. It brings young players from across Canada, USA and around the world to Ottawa for a boarding school experience where hockey training and academic studies go hand in hand.

Carpenter’s classes are right in the arena. His dorm room is a few minutes walk up the road. And everyone involved in the academy lives for hockey.

“The hockey is so much better (at CIHA) that it really improved how I played, how I skated and how I played the game overall,” Carpenter said.

He describes the hockey instruction at CIHA as a mix of skill development and building his “hockey sense,” making him a student of the game. With daily practices featuring top coaches, plus games as part of Ottawa’s lauded triple A hockey system, Carpenter is certainly getting his fair share of ice time.

But the academy is not only about hockey skills. All the players attend regular high school classes, and are required to get good grades. Each day involves dry land training, to build muscle towards developing as a better hockey player. And each young person involved in the school also has their eyes opened to the broader world – as their classmates and teammates now come from across North America and Europe.

For example, Carpenter now has peers from Switzerland and the Czech Republic, an experience not too many 16-year-olds from northern Ontario get to have.

“It’s not just the hockey,” Carpenter said. “Everything, the schooling and everything else, has been good.”

The CIHA’s website cites the balance between hockey development and academics. According to the school’s mission, the academy is preparing its students to become the leaders of tomorrow, both on and off the ice.

Former NHL coach Bob Hartley, CIHA’s senior hockey advisor, summed up that philosophy with a statement on the schools’ website.

“I know from experiences as coach in the NHL, AHL and QMJHL that true success comes from within - from hard work, discipline, and commitment,” Hartley said.

Carpenter’s path to the CIHA has embodied that spirit of hard work and dedication. Small for his age, Carpenter has always had to rely on his speed, skills and hockey smarts to thrive in a sport that rewards bigger players. At the academy his size challenge has become even more pronounced, as he regularly faces off against players seven to ten inches taller than he is.
But he shrugged off questions about his size, saying being small has simply made him a tougher player.

“The other guys are bigger so I have to strive to be the bigger guy out there,” Carpenter said. “With my size I’ve got to play the body. And I’ve also got my speed.”

Carpenter’s road to the academy has taken him throughout northern Ontario, from Lac Seul to Fort Frances. It took him to Toronto for summer hockey, when he joined the Team Ontario Stingrays summer league team and got scouted by the coaches from CIHA. Now hockey is enabling him to meet friends from around the world, and study in a premier hockey school.

And the young Lac Seul First Nation member knows that this is just a beginning of his hockey path. His next goal is to make the Ontario Hockey League. After that, he has his eyes set on the NHL.

“I’m going to go as far as I can,” Carpenter said. “Where ever hockey takes me.”

He wanted to thank his parents for their support, the community of Lac Seul for the donations that have helped him travel south to play hockey, and the Dreamcatcher Fund for its donations to his hockey career.

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Way to go Johnathan !

Way to go Johnathan !

Your Awesome, Johnathan, wiah

Your Awesome, Johnathan,
wiah you the best! :)

Way to go Johnathan!! wish

Way to go Johnathan!!
wish you the best! <3

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