Three central Newfoundland players returned from the national Under 17 Ball Hockey Championship with gold medals and a bushel of great memories.

Calling it the “highlight of my athletic career to this point,” Michael Hurdle of Grand Falls-Windsor couldn’t be happier.

The 17-year-old was a late addition to the provincial team, having impressed the coach enough with his performance during the recent provincial championships in St. John’s to earn an invite.

“I guess I played well enough that the coach asked me to play,” he told the Advertiser Monday from his Edmonton hotel room while awaiting the trip home.

Michael played goal for Newfoundland and Labrador in three earlier games plus the championship match.

He won two of those earlier games and even in the loss won the player of the game for his team after stopping what he estimates to me more than 50 shots.

All three central players were familiar with each other and many of their teammates, having been involved in the AAA ice hockey program in the past.

“It was pretty cool having the three of us from central there, and we all bonded pretty well,” said 15-year-old Maverik Skeans of Botwood.

Maverik was somewhat of an experienced veteran on this squad, having played with Team NL and placing fourth last year in St. John’s.

He plays centre with the AAA Central midget team, the same position he manned at this national playdown.

Continue Reading at Grand Falls Windsor Advertiser.