North Island Bantam Eagles forward Ethan Bono travelled all the way to Moscow this summer to play in a very prestigious tournament named after a Russian hockey legend.
Ethan was chosen to play in the “Tretiak Cup” for the Victoria Grizzlies Bantam team, and the tournament was held from July 31-Aug. 8.
He was the lone rep player from the Tri-Port area invited to play in the tournament (Campbell River Tyees’ player Ian Mills also made the team), with all the rest of the players coming from places like Victoria, Ottawa, and New York.
“Mike and Wendy Adamek of Victoria were instrumental in putting the team together,” said Tammy Bono, adding the team’s head coach for the tournament was Craig Didmon, and the assistant coach was Jason Reimer, who had actually grown up in Port Alice and played for the North Island Eagles as a kid.
“Our other assistant coach was Brian Melee, from Ottawa, all really great people.”
The journey began with a 10 hour flight to Germany and then another three hour flight after that, before the Bono’s officially reached their final destination in Moscow.
“It was a long haul,” laughed Tammy, who said in their downtime they toured around the city and saw some “pretty incredible sights, like the Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral.”
They also had a guided tour inside the Kremlin, went to the Russian circus, and spent some time in downtown Moscow on Arbat Street.
Ethan said he spent the majority of his time at the ice rink playing hockey, and he found the style of play in Russia to be “really fast, and the kids were a lot bigger and skilled — they tried a lot of stuff people here wouldn’t try. I definitely learned to keep my head up cause I had all the kids coming after me.”
“They actually try out at the age of five to make these Russian teams, so some of the kids have played together for up to eight years,” said Tammy, who added the Grizzlies played hard during the round robin against “all the Russian teams, and they held their own.”
The Grizzlies also got to play a team from Sweden during the consolation round before the tournament officially wrapped up.
“I really liked the style of hockey there, and having different countries to play against was cool,” said Ethan, who added his favourite thing about playing the sport in general is “just getting out there on the ice, touching the puck, shooting.”
Ethan had a good amount of ice time while playing in Moscow, and he was one of the team’s players who was always “on the power play and penalty kill.”
All told, he found it was “pretty cool just to score a goal in a different country.”
With the North Island rep hockey season on the horizon, Ethan said he’s excited to be “playing with the kids I played with in Peewee, and I’m hoping we make it one step further than we did last year.”
Bantam Eagles Coach Ryan Handley had nothing but praise for his player.
“Ethan is a tireless worker and is always looking for ways to make himself better,” said Handley.
“For an opportunity like that to present itself is a testament to his work ethic and the selfless work of his parents who work tremendously hard to give both their boys every opportunity they can.”
Handley added that “to experience something like that will forever be a part of their family,” and he feels very fortunate to have been a part of Ethan’s hockey development since Atom.
“He is a wonderful player but an even better person.”