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1 0 • J UNE 4, 2008 • COMMUNI TY NEWS - WEST

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KARA BERTRAND
Every young hockey player wishes to play in the NHL one day and for
Ontario players, the OHL is the first big step. For Forest Heights resident,
15-year-old Tanner Pearson, the
dreamis inches away. At the begin-
ning of May, he was drafted by the
Barrie Colts. The draft was posted
online and players and parents across
Ontario waited anxiously to see their
name on the screen.
“The day was pretty long, just sitting
there waiting for my name to come
up,” Pearson said. “I got pretty anx-
ious and then it came up and the
phone wouldn’t stop ringing.” He said
he didn’t even see his name in the first
place and was scared by his parents’
reaction on a different computer.
Pearson’s OHL dreams were in jeop-
ardy this year after breaking his wrist
right before playoffs on his Minor
Midget AAA team, the Kitchener
J unior Rangers.
“I think the broken wrist was a con-
cern of his; would it affect his draft
year or not,” said Pearson’s mother,
Kim. “So when he got the letter that
he was on the draft list, I think he was
very happy just to be sure that he was
that far.”
Pearson started playing organized
hockey at the age of four and his first
memories of playing were fromthe
time he was six.
“I played a year up and I was in a
tournament in New Hamburg and I
was sick with pneumonia,” he said. “I
didn’t want to stay home, I wanted to play.”
“He was fighting us tooth and nail,” said Kim.
She and Pearson’s father, Tim, said he never had to be forced to play, and
always put 110 per cent into every game and practice.
“He’s been fortunate enough throughout his hockey here in Kitchener to
be called up quite often to play with the older kids, and it’s something that
continued and helped his game, also pushed hima bit harder,” she said.
Pearson wasn’t the only player fromhis teamwho was drafted. His team-
mate, Derek Schoenmakers, was drafted to the St. Michaels Majors.
“Seeing one of Tanner’s team-mates that he’s played hockey with in
Kitchener for nine years also be selected, I thought was great,” said Tim.
“We counted up this morning and
there were 16 kids that Tanner’s been
on a teamwith throughout his time
playing AAA hockey that were select-
ed in the draft.”
Both boys will join their teams for
rookie camp, fromwhich up to four
players fromtheir age group will be
chosen to play with the team next
year. Both boys were chosen in the
14th round of picks. Schoenmakers
was drafted about 5 minutes after
Pearson. The Schoenmakers’ power
went out during the draft and they had
no way of knowing the results. They
were literally in the dark until a fami-
ly friend called to tell Derek he was
picked. The two friends text messaged
back and forth when each was drafted
and, as Derek said, “it was a unique
way to find out” about his draft.
Pearson said his father has been
instrumental in his hockey journey.
“He always made me push hard to be
the best player I can be,” he said. “He
always says I’m going to the gym,
working on my shot. Sometimes I
complain but it’s all for the better.”
The Pearsons said they have been
fortunate to have made so many con-
nections and friends within the hock-
ey community and they look forward
to watching Tanner’s friends progress
in their hockey careers.
It’s clear just how proud his parents are of Tanner.
“It’s been his dream, so we’re just really excited for him,” said Kim. “It’s
the next level he’s been working towards. I think what’s gotten himthis
far is his passion for the game.”
* * *
Kara Bertrand is a journalism student from Humber College. She is writ-
ing for The Community News Kitchener this summer.
Forest Heights student
drafted by Barrie Colts
TANNER PEARSON
Tanner Pearson was drafted by the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey
League this spring. He will attend a rookie camp to find out if he will
play with the team next season. Photo by Kara Bertrand